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The End of the Packers Third Quarter Lull

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The End of the Packers Third Quarter Lull

Following a crushing loss to the Giants, the Packers season seemed to hang in the balance last Sunday. Would the Packers come out and crush their opponent and get their season back on track? Or would the Packers continue with another rocky showing that, despite their record, makes fans feel like this team is on the brink of falling apart?

The Packers ended up beating the Vikings, but it was neither a blowout win nor a disaster of a game. While it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, the way the Packers overcame adversity in the game should reassure their fans; the Packers are back.

In the Packers first loss of the season, week 1 versus the 49ers, the Packers started a pattern that would stick with them through most of the season. No points in the third quarter, a lull, a perceived lack of energy to get back into the game. Call it what you want, but it was there.

The Packers went into halftime against the Niners down 9, but with receiving the second half kickoff, there should have been little to worry about. Instead the Packers started the half with a quick three and out. San Francisco used their opportunity to score on their next drive and hold the ball for nearly seven minutes.

Finding themselves now down 16, what did the Packers do? Drove under 30 yards and then punted. The Packers finally started to come back with 11 minutes left in the game, when Randall Cobb returned a punt for a touchdown. The Packers didn’t score a touchdown on offense until there were only 6 minutes left in the game, and they were down 30-22.

In the Packers third loss of the season against the Colts, the Packers started out strong, but let the game slip away. Once again the Packers got the ball first to start the second half and once again the Packers went three and out. The Colts used that opportunity to start their comeback, scoring a touchdown on their next drive.

Also, again, the Packers failed to score any points in the third quarter; the Colts scored 16. After the Colts first touchdown, the Packers went three and out. The Colts then scored a field goal. The Packers answered on the following drive by missing a field goal. When the Colts scored another touchdown in the third, the Packers got the ball back and promptly went three and out.

The Packers failed to stop the Colts, but they also failed to answer. If at any point the Packers had responded to a Colts score with one of their own, the game could have ended very differently. But the Packers didn’t. They watched the Colts, like the Niners, continue to put them in a “do or die” position and they didn’t “do”.

And then there’s the Giants game. Again, no points in the third quarter. Again, the Packers answered most of the Giants scoring drives with no points. The game started to get away from the Packers, and the team had no answer.

It’s a frustrating pattern to watch. The Packers failing to dominate, failing to put a team away and, at times, failing to rebound when the game starts to go haywire.

All teams and players make mistakes and go through slumps. The bad teams let those times ruin games and seasons. The good teams make sure those times have little to do with final outcomes.

Against the Vikings on Sunday, the Packers went into halftime losing 14 – 10. The Vikings scored twice in the second quarter, and after both scores the Packers went three and out. Then the Packers opened the half by Mason Crosby kicking the ball out of bounds and Adrian Peterson gaining 52 yards in the first two plays from scrimmage.

It had all the markings of previously very difficult situations for the Packers. But instead, this time the team stepped up. Morgan Burnett intercepted the ball in the end zone, the Packers offense drove down the field and Mason Crosby kicked a field goal through the uprights.

The Packers scored 10 points in the third quarter on Sunday; the Vikings didn’t score at all in the second half. The Vikings had 6 drives in the second half that averaged only 4.6 plays per drive and 30 yards per drive.

The Vikings had the momentum. They had the lead. But they didn’t get the win.

Perhaps it is as simple as Morgan Burnett changed the game, or perhaps for the first real time this season the Packers found themselves in a “do or die” position and this time, they did.

It wasn’t the cleanest game. The Packers lack of sure tackling, rash of holding penalties and even more injuries were once again present. But it was a turning point game. With their backs against the wall, the Packers entire team fought back. Making defensive plays, converting third downs to culminate in an 11 minute scoring drive, the Packers put the Vikings away.

The Packers will remember fighting through this game. The Packers will use this game as a building block for the rest of the season and hopefully, won’t look back.

Jayme Joers is a writer at CheeseheadTV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at PackersTalk.com. She also contributes to Pocketdoppler.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or via email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ebongreen's picture

Jayme, I hope you're right - but my counter-thesis would be that the Packers took advantage of Vikings self-destruction opportunities that perhaps the Colts, Niners and Giants didn't offer. It's one thing to play against teams quarterbacked by Andrew Luck, Eli Manning or even Alex Smith; it's another thing to play against a team that would have been better served having its quarterback serve as a glorified water boy for its fabulous halfback.

Nerdmann's picture

I've gotten kicked off of TWO forums for talking about the "MM Lull." I did not mean to troll by doing so, but people just did NOT want to hear it.

lol

Glad to see that the term is catching on, because I do believe it is something that genuinely happens to this team.

I believe it happens as a result of lack of what Holmgren used to call "tempo" on offense. That, and MM's tendency to completely ignore time of possession.

I also believe that at times, Aaron is more concerned with his personal statistics than he is with the wellbeing of the team. MM too. That REALLY needs to change.

I WILL say this: The 9ers game was a genuine loss. I do not fear that team, but on THAT day, they beat us. I should go back and rewatch that game.

The Colts and the Giants, well both teams coming fresh of bye weeks, at THEIR houses. Huge advantage. Is that an excuse? No. But it's a huge advantage in the NFL.

As for the Seahawks, well. We all know what happened there.

Now combine those factors with the injuries this team has sustained. Remember all the injuries we had in 2008? Well, this year we're WINNING those games.

Evan's picture

"I also believe that at times, Aaron is more concerned with his personal statistics than he is with the well being of the team"

At least so far in his career, the well-being of the team and his personal stats have gone hand in hand.

MarkinMadison's picture

You had me until this: "I also believe that at times, Aaron is more concerned with his personal statistics than he is with the wellbeing of the team. MM too." Maybe they swing for the fences when they should be playing small ball, but I'd never accuse them of putting stats over the win.

Rocky70's picture

"Aaron is more concerned with his personal statistics than he is with the wellbeing of the team."

As ridiculous a statement as I've read all season. How do you draw this conclusion? Use the old "Vulcan Mind-Meld" through your 13" Sony TV ?????

This is one of those ---- if you say it, then "prove it" situations.

NoWayJose's picture

It's not a ridiculous statement. It might not be true or provable, but it's not ridiculous.

Bob McGinn hasn't been shy about saying the same. He suggested that Rodgers might not have thrown the halftime Hail Mary against NYG to avoid giving up a "cheap pick."

I actually don't know and really don't think its a major problem either way (as Evan says, Rodgers stats and team wins are closely correlated). But it's not ridiculous to talk about it.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

When the dude would rather chuck it deep than take two steps for an easy first down, that's the mark of a stat whore.

Same with with a wide open dump off or check down for an easy first down. Aaron has a tendency to just chuck it deep instead.

Aaron will ignore guys open underneath in order to wait for plays to develop deep.

This is one reason he's holding the ball for 8 seconds as the line collapses around him.

Dude admits he's obsessed with using stuff like the Favre Fiasco to "motivate" him. Well, that's what his motivation is.
Mike McCarthy is guilty of it too. Dude never wants to run the ball, except begrudgingly.

All they care about is surpassing 4's records and stats. Winning is secondary. Probably will be even moreso if (and if this continues, that's a big IF) they win another Superbowl, which in itself would surpass Favray.

Rocky70's picture

"All they care about is surpassing 4?s records and stats. Winning is secondary."

What part did you play in the movie, "Dumb & Dumber"?
Your analysis is hysterical, at best.

murphy's picture

Surest sign of a stat whore is putting the team on your back.

Pack Morris's picture

Good read. Thanks, Jayme.

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