Packers not looking so Super : Packers Insider

Packers not looking so Super

October 22, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Oct 22, 2010 ~By Mike Tanier,

~For 45 minutes each week, the Packers are one of the best teams in the NFL. Unfortunately, for the Packers football games are 60 minutes long.  

The Packers have been tied or led in the fourth quarters of all six of their games this year. But opponents have outscored them 52-24 in the fourth quarter and overtime, handing the Packers three losses by field goals, two of them in overtime. When the Packers aren’t losing tight games in the final period, they are letting the Eagles and Lions get back into the game, turning what should have been blowouts into nail-biters. No lead is safe for the Packers, especially with Brett Favre and Randy Moss in town on Sunday night.

Many people think injuries are the Packers’ main problem, but they’re no more banged-up than other teams. They have bigger issues. Here’s a breakdown of the the Packers’ issues and the ways the Vikings can exploit those late-game mistakes:

No rushing consistency
Green Bay’s running game looks good enough on paper: 101.8 yards per game, 16th in the NFL. But 113 of the 611 rushing yards are from Aaron Rodgers scrambles and sneaks, and 71 more of them came on one Brandon Jackson run. Trim the fat, and the Packers average just 71.2 yards per game and 3.8 yards per rush.The Packers’ rushing woes have been especially pronounced in the fourth quarter, when their backs have rushed 32 times for 102 yards (3.4 yards per carry) with just four first downs and a fumble. With Ryan Grant injured, plodders Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn have tried to carry the load, but neither has been effective at chewing up the clock. The Packers’ best fourth quarter runner — by a landslide — has been Rodgers, with seven carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns on scrambles and sneaks. Ideally, you don’t want your quarterback to be your leading fourth-quarter rusher.

The Vikings can capitalize because
Minnesota’s run defense is better than the numbers: 102.2 yards per game, 3.8 yards per rush, and two touchdowns are darn good figures after facing hard-running opponents like the Jets and Dolphins. The Pat Williams-Kevin Williams-E.J. Henderson interior defense is playing as well as ever. Once the Vikings stymie the Packers running game, they’ll be able to exploit problem number two.

Expect a heavy dose of #28 Sunday night.

Strange play calls
Aaron Rodgers has dropped back to pass 23 times in the fourth quarter with the Packers leading. The running backs only have 21 carries in the same circumstances. Balance is all well and good, but you’re not supposed to be balanced while winning in the fourth quarter. You’re supposed to be eating the clock.

It gets worse — the Packers ran 15 plays from the shotgun while leading in the fourth quarter, turning in 12 passes, one handoff, one Rodgers draw, and one Rodgers scramble. The Packers use a shotgun-heavy offense, but c’mon coach, we’re trying to put the Redskins away, here. Let’s get Rodgers under center, where he’s in better position to hand off.

Full story HERE

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