by Troy A. Sparks
GREEN BAY – Not only is the ego of the Green Bay Packers bruised, but so is the injury list, which is increasing every game.
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations before the season began, it’s a reality that the Packers have a big hill to climb.
The trainer’s room is busy with players who can’t help the team get out of the deep hole that was dug about two weeks ago because they’re hurt.
When the Packers lost Jermichael Finley, Nick Barnett and Morgan Burnett, to name a few, with season-ending injuries, it’s tough to imagine making the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs. They may get Al Harris and Atari Bigby back in time for the game against Minnesota.
If the Packers would’ve executed on a couple of possessions in the latter part of the games against Chicago and Washington, we’re talking about an undefeated green and gold team that entered the Oct. 17 game at home against the Miami Dolphins at 5-0 instead of 3-2.
In the game of football, nothing can be done about injuries because they could happen in every game. However, the show must go on.
Against the Dolphins, the Packers had their hands full. It was nothing to fear after being down 7-3 in the first quarter. One long pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to receiver Greg Jennings changed all that and gave them a 10-7 lead.
This was the same Jennings who whined about not getting the ball enough on offense. Jennings caught six of seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, so he should be dancing on the ceiling and climbing the walls.
So what if he’s not getting the ball enough? There are a lot of people who would love to have Jennings’ money and not complain about their jobs.
The Packers had nothing to complain about in the first half except keeping their defense off the field. It was hard when the Dolphins had 39 offensive plays in the half to 25 for the Packers. Miami kept the ball three minutes longer than Green Bay and tied the game at 10-10.
Playing from behind late in the fourth quarter, with the ball on the 1-yard line and down 20-13, Green Bay needed a touchdown to tie the game. Rodgers tucked in behind the line into the end zone to force overtime with the score at 20-all.
“(Miami) called time out right before that,” Rodgers said about the game-tying play. “We were in the same formation and the line said, ‘Hey, if they line up with nobody over center again, let’s just sneak it.’ So we talked about it real quick . . . I just kind of told (offensive line) that I was gonna act like I was changing (the play) and then just went up there and quick-snapped it and got it in there.”
The Dolphins won the toss, and on their second possession of overtime, Dan Carpenter hit a 44-yard field goal for a 23-20 win.
For the Packers, it seems that three is the magic number. They lost three games by three points each and their record is now 3-3. “It’s hard to lose, period,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s hard to lose home games, to lose overtime games.”
Not converting on third downs has been a problem for the Packers in recent games. Against Miami, they were 3-for-13.
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