Game Changing Play of the Week: Blocked Punt Puts Game Out of Reach for Anemic Packer Offense

I must say, it's difficult to come up with a Game Changing Play of the Week when one could argue that the game never changed from start to finish. The Packers looked as though they'd never left the plane, and never once threatened the Chargers offensively. Despite giving up a ton of yards in the early going, the defense still managed to keep the team in the game by forcing field goals.

That is, until our game changing play of the week: the blocked punt. 

The play

On a day where almost nothing went right, the blocked punt was the rancid icing on the roadkill cake.

The Packers simply failed to block a guy, who had a free run to J.K. Scott and connected with the block. Simple as that. 

There have been all sorts of special teams disasters this year, to the point where it's hard to think special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga lasts past his first year on the job. 

At this point of the game, there was still a hope (albeit a fool's hope, the way the offense looked) that the Packers would be able to get it together and make something happen on offense to get them back into the game. The team was down less than two touchdowns and had a quarter and a half of football to go.

The blocked punt instantly took whatever little wind the Packers had in their sails out of it. I know for me, this was the exact point where I lost hope that the Packers would be able to mount a comeback, and I'm not a particularly pessimistic fan, myself. 

There's really not much else to say. It was a completely awful performance, particularly by the offense. While it doesn't shock me that the Packers lost to the Chargers, who are a better team than their record would indicate, it does shock me that they looked like... that. It was the worst performance I've seen from the offensive line in quite a long team, and it felt as though the offensive game planning was completely nonexistant, especially compared to the outstanding game plans put together by Matt LaFleur over the last month without Davante Adams in the lineup.

The good news is the Packers are still 7-2 and in complete control of their division. Plus, a loss out of conference doesn't matter all that much. The bad news is the team lost out on a great opportunity to gain some ground on the rest of the division, as well as a chance to keep pace with the Saints and 49ers in the race for a first-round bye. 

Next week's game before the bye against Carolina suddenly becomes that much more critical.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (15)

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PackfanNY's picture

November 04, 2019 at 08:13 pm

Sadly, the game changing play of the game was the coin toss. Although we won the toss we deferred. Just one of those days where even that didn’t work out.

On to next week! Go Pack.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2019 at 10:43 pm

Yep. At the time I questioned that decision. Ominous feeling though.

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4thand1's picture

November 04, 2019 at 08:37 pm

Lets not over react too much. We've seen this sort of thing happen to teams in the past and the Packers. It's hard to imagine though an entire team playing like shit, but it happened. The Pack looked turrible and ran the table. They also barely made the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. After mediocre play it was r-e-l-a-x time. This was by far and away the worst game of the year and I'm willing to bet it's the last stinker. We may not be a SB caliber team yet, but we're not far from it. I've seen it posted by TGR I believe, we are 2 players away, one on each side of the ball. Maybe we already have them, time for them to step up.

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dblbogey's picture

November 05, 2019 at 12:13 am

I'd say we are 2 high quality players away from a Super Bowl on each side of the ball. DT,ILB - TE. WR. Only hope I see is Kenny Clark playing much better and one of the young tight ends to step up. We have no answer at ILB. Wonder if Oren Burks is that bad?

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Guam's picture

November 05, 2019 at 07:56 am

I'm starting to wonder of we aren't two DT away from a good defensive line. Lowery has had one good game this year and I'm not sure the other DT's other than Clark can even say that. Adams, Lancaster and Lowery all seem to be just JAGs and backup caliber linemen only. I exclude Keke because he is a rookie fifth rounder and not much was expected of him this year as he adapts to the pro game.

I see Gute investing at least one high draft pick into the D-line next Spring.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 05, 2019 at 09:37 am

Hard to find great DT's drafting 32nd...

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Guam's picture

November 05, 2019 at 10:13 am

Agreed, but we don't need great, we need good. And I am not sure we will be drafting 32nd.....

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janeyhug's picture

November 04, 2019 at 09:15 pm

An appealing thing is that you are provided a 60 days guarantee and also goods can be reaccepted with no restocking fees. https://bit.ly/2nqaezj

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porupack's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:02 pm

We always, and rightfully interpret the present, with past bias, and the past under present bias. So, all of the small weak areas in the past that were excused as "rust" and overlooked because GB got the win, now look like glaring liabilities that will limit the team this year. The opportunistic turnovers over the first 5 games covered up a lot of other weaknesses, a few fortuitous situations and refs calls made a great record....and the hype builds
The special teams issues were supposedly resolved by replacing the returner. But now, we are seeing the cracks here in mid season go pretty deep. I haven't seen GB play one game of dominant football all game long, not the likes of 49ers, patriots, Ravens and Saints all roll out multiple times this season already.
GB looks to be 2nd tier, and could go deep in the playoffs as a wildcard if all the luck hits right, but not from dominance.
Back to the blocked punt; I think we saw all game a significant issue in preparedness, scheme and adaptation to situations. Such things eventually show itself under stress. Well, if GB blows out Carolina, then that new present, will make this game an anomaly. So....like always, we never really know the trend till the end.

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Minniman's picture

November 05, 2019 at 01:53 am

The Chargers did 3 significant things during their matchup with the Packers that the Chiefs either didn't or weren't able to do (because injury took starters out):

1) They attacked the IOL when they were on Defense
2) They attacked the linebackers and seam when they were on offense
3) They attacked the special teams

Martinez played tentatively but wasn't helped by a (predominantly) 4 man rush that struggled getting pressure on Rivers - that arm injury affected him badly.

Corey Linsley had a number of blown reads.

Both Bakh and Bulaga looked tired.

No excuses, but I wonder if all 4 are dinged up worse than is being reported and the Chargers probed, proved and capitalized on this.

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Booner's picture

November 05, 2019 at 07:53 am

Packers need to fix the middle of the field issue with stopping the run? I don't think they really have the answer on their team right now. Letting Daniels go hurt and Martinez who has the heart of a warrior just does not have the size or speed that we need for that position. Burks must be a bust other wise he would be playing? Just not sure what they can do?

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Stroh's picture

November 05, 2019 at 06:57 pm

IMO stopping the run has more to do with prioritizing the pass, instead of the run. Yes, they could use a fast, quick ILB or another run stuffing DT, but more than anything Pettine chooses to prioritize the pass.

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4thand1's picture

November 05, 2019 at 07:53 pm

It is still a passing league.

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Guam's picture

November 05, 2019 at 08:11 am

Unfortunately the blocked punt wasn't the only bad special teams play. The defense had held LAC to a field goal until Brown decided to line up offside. The resulting penalty convinced LAC to go for and make the TD. I believe the special teams gave away seven points between the blocked punt and the offsides. I very much doubt the Packers would have won the game anyway, but it is a different ball game if the score is 19-11 in the fourth quarter.

Special teams have been a disaster most of the year and Mennenga needs to be terminated now as a message to coaches and players alike. I don't think this a SB caliber team, but they have no shot if special teams keeps giving points and field position away.

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Stroh's picture

November 05, 2019 at 06:40 pm

Usually a blocked punt would be a huge game changing play. But in this case it was more a matter of ending the misery!

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