By Troy Sparks--MCJ Sports Editor
GREEN BAY – Two weeks since their last game, which included the bye week, allowed the Packer players to recover physically. Resting the body was necessary but reprogramming the mind might take a little longer, especially when holding a lead at Cincinnati only to lose it in the fourth quarter. Back to work and entering the game against Detroit at Lambeau Field, Oct. 6, Green Bay was 1-2 overall and looking up from the bottom at Chicago and the Lions. George H.W. Bush was finishing his only four-year term as president of the United States when the Packers began their 21-game regular season winning streak in Wisconsin against the Lions (Dec. 6, 1992). For a team that thrives on showcasing a high potent offense, Green Bay didn’t show it. A total of three field goals (two by Mason Crosby and one by David Akers) made the halftime score (6-3) look like a baseball score.The Packers had the ball longer than the Lions in the half (17:05 to 12:55). Did the 78,200 who made the treacherous, pub-crawling drive in snail-moving traffic along Highway 41 come to see the output by the two teams produce only nine points on the field? Green Bay needed to win in the worst way possible. Win pretty or win ugly, it didn’t matter, as long they got the W. Lose the game and Packer Nation would call for head coach Mike McCarthy to get fired or hand over the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Tom Clements. McCarthy likes to call the plays on offense. Starting out at 1-3 is unacceptable in Titletown and it was time to seal the leaks on the offensive end of the ball. A long touchdown by receiver James Jones and three more three-pointers by Crosby gave the Pack enough of a margin to win the game and survive another week. Crosby joined Ryan Longwell and Chris Jacke as the only kickers to make five field goals in a game. It was a good thing that Crosby was perfect on all his FGs because he will be needed down the stretch on days when Green Bay can’t get TDs. “We gave up 83 yards,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said on Jones’ score. “I don’t go through and assign blame or anything else. We broke down and gave up an 83-yarder. “I think that is bad enough. I am not in the business of scapegoating anybody or putting up stuff like that. “It is up to us as coaches and players to correct. It is on our defense. It is on our team. It is not on any one person or anything else. I’ll let all the experts explain what happened on the play.” Green Bay had two opportunities to score TDs inside the Lions’ 20-yard line and came away with six points. “Our red zone production is definitely not where we want to be,” McCarthy said. “Anytime (Crosby) kicks five field goals, that’s an obvious statistic. “You look at some of those plays and (Detroit) played us aggressively down there. We had some opportunities.” Five field goals in a 22-9 Green Bay win on a sunny and fair weather Sunday isn’t bad when it’s against the Lions. With no more breaks in the schedule left, the Packers took the victory in stride even when the game got a little goofy at times with how the seven-man crew officiated the game on the field and the replay guy in the booth. “It was a little bit of a distraughted game,” McCarthy said. “The officials went through an adjustment there. The game was kind of up and down as far as different breaks in the game. It was a little bit like a sparring match, going back and forth. I thought our players did an excellent job of handling the situations that came up.” After Crosby’s first field goal opened the scoring at 3-0, Green Bay punter Tim Mastay put the ball on the tee to kick off. The ball fell off the tee twice, so free safety M.D. Jennings, who lined up at the end of the kickoff team, left his position to hold the ball. Referee Jerome Boger called him for an illegal formation because Jennings kneeled next to the ball to hold it until Mastay kicked it. Anyone on the kickoff team can hold the ball when it doesn’t stay on the tee when the wind knocks it off you would think. Did Mr. Boger assume that the weather in Green Bay would be calm with no wind? What was he thinking? That’s the way northern Wisconsin weather rolls in the fall. Jones should’ve had a second TD on a pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers with 3 minutes 59 seconds remaining in the game, but Carl Madsen, the replay official, ruled that he was out of bounds and didn’t keep the second foot in bounds. Jones’ left foot touched the out-of-bounds line. The ball was clearly across the goal line. The Packers settled for their last field goal of the game. With 12 games to go, the Packers are where they are after the first quarter of the regular season at 2-2. “The health of this football team is going to be very important come in November, December for us to make the kind of run we want,” Rodgers said. The Packers will make some noise in the coming weeks if their high-powered offense clicks on all cylinders. “We are a spread offense,” Rodgers said. “We’re a three-receiver offense. (Tight end) Jermicheal (Finley) adds a fourth receiver option there and we’re going to make teams declare what they’re going to do. And if they’re going to play a lot of high safeties and stay in a two-high or roll down late, we’re going to make you tackle a 230-pound back (Eddie Lacy).” Lacy had 99 tough yards in the Detroit game. If what Rodgers say is true, he’s giving advance notice to Baltimore, Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Pittsburgh to get out the way or get rolled over.
November 18, 2015 //
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September 16, 2015 //