Game Changing Play of the Week: Packers Collapse at the One Yard Line

The Packers went 0 for 4 on a crucial series from the Eagles' one yard line, which ended up being one of the differences in the game.

Tough game last night. There were a lot of positives to take away—the Packers’ offense played perhaps its most consistent game of the season, despite the struggles in the running game. Davante Adams had an absolutely massive game before his injury (which hopefully isn’t too serious…). Aaron Rodgers played easily his best football of the season. Kevin King had a highly effective night against Alshon Jeffery.

But there were plenty of negatives as well. Injuries, and a bunch of them. Special Teams miscues giving the Eagles outstanding field position. Turnovers. And that run defense… woof.

Perhaps the ugliest sequence in the game was the Packers’ awful collapse at the Eagles’ goal line in the fourth quarter. Four plays from the one yard line, four passes, and no points. It had seemed inevitable that the Packers would punch it in after a pass interference on Allen Lazard in the endzone gave them the ball one the one, but… it didn’t happen.

So rather than selecting one play this week, I’ve chosen this sequence as the one that truly changed the game.

Had the Packers scored a touchdown there, they would have been driving for a game-winning field goal at the end rather than desperately trying to tie things up and force overtime (or potentially go for a game-winning two-point conversion). There were some other key moments in the game (the Rodgers fumble and the missed pass interference immediately come to mind), but the sequence at the one-yard line will be what sticks with me from this game, and it ultimately had a massive impact on the outcome.

Play one

The Packers line up out of a basic I formation with Jimmy Graham split out right and Geronimo Allison out left, and they bring in an extra tackle, Lucas Patrick to play in the tight end slot. Danny Vitale slots in at fullback with Aaron Jones at halfback.

Rodgers get the matchup you want with Graham—one on one in the corner of the endzone. He lobs up a catchable ball to Graham who has to joust with his man a bit, but ultimately only puts up one arm to try to wrangle it in. He can’t hold on.

This is the kind of play the Packers are playing Graham $10 million a year to make. He should be making these one-on-one plays. No matter, the Packers have three downs left to punch it in.

Play two

On the second play of the sequence, the Packers bring everyone in tight. Marcedes Lewis puts his fist in the dirt on the right side of the line, and Patrick and Graham slide into the tight end spots on the left side, with Graham offset off the line. Vitale and Jones stay in the backfield.

They try to run a bootleg with Rodgers, but it gets blown up immediately by Brandon Graham in the backfield, who’s in Rodgers’ face as soon as he turns out of the fake handoff. Rodgers is forced to try to dump it off to Vitale, but it skips on the ground. Had Rodgers had time to throw, it looks like a touchdown to Jimmy Graham.

Still two more tries.

Play three

This is the play where I was convinced the Packers would try to run the ball. Sure, the team was having very little luck handing it off to Aaron Jones throughout the game, but on the one yard line you have to at least give it a shot, right?

Here, the Packers go out of the gun, with Jones in the backfield. Graham and Darrius Shepherd off to the left and Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling off to the right. It’s hard to know what to make of this play—was it an option, or a designed run that Rodgers just kept? Either way, Rodgers miscalculates—the best thing to do would have been to let Jones take it and follow his blockers to try to squeeze into the endzone.

Instead, Rodgers keeps it himself and runs to the left, where whatever space he had is suddenly swallowed up. There’s nowhere for him to go, so he has to chuck it away.

One down left.

Play four

The Packers ran up to the line in a bunch shotgun formation and got the snap off fast, hoping to catch the Eagles’ defense unprepared. The personnel for this play is the same as the previous one, but this time Graham is split out alone on the right and the three wideouts are bunched up on the left. Jones remains in the backfield.

The Eagles pick up the routes well, and the rush flushes Rodgers out of the pocket while he’s trying to find someone who gets open. Rodgers is able to buy some time by running to the right, and he goes once again to Jimmy Graham, who this time is in the back of the endzone.

Once again, though, Graham goes up with only one arm to try to haul it in. Sure, the throw is a bit high, but Rodgers put it in a place where only Graham was able to catch it, like a good quarterback does in this situation. And again, for the money Graham is being paid, this is a catch he absolutely has to make.

He doesn’t, and the Packers turn the ball over to the Eagles on the one yard line after an embarrassing stretch.

 

This was bad. Really, really bad. Four plays, four passes, no points. You have to try to run it at least once in that situation, I don’t care how ineffective the running game has been throughout the game. Trust your guys to get you one yard.

In general, I’m not particularly discouraged with the Packers’ chances this season. Had you told me before the season that they’d be 3-1 coming out of week four, I’d have been stoked. There’s plenty to work on, and the team has to get healthy heading into Dallas, but this is still a team in progress with a rookie head coach that is learning and getting better each week.

There’s absolutely no reason to push the panic button yet, but this was definitely a come down back to reality for the team after a 3-0 start.

 

 

 

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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 (60)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
OnWisconsinGoPack's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Worst play calling on the 1 I've ever seen. 4 QB sneaks, FB dive, a Tebow "jump pass" , etc. all would have been more acceptable then what they pulled. Absolutely embarrassing. Go put a helmet on a helmet and punch it in.

On a side note, why can't we open a hole? Why do I feel it's the ZB scheme and we need to move back to Power.

Super disappointing loss, but I suppose IF they learn from it, it's better now than later

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CoachJV's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:42 pm

If you put a helmet on a helmet, you get a penalty and a fine... THAT is absolutely embarrassing...

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CoachJV's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:47 pm

.

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OnWisconsinGoPack's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:46 pm

I can't tell if that's sarcasm or if you're serious.

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OnWisconsinGoPack's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:49 pm

Sarcasm?

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Harold Drake's picture

September 28, 2019 at 08:49 am

Damn straight!

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JoePack1212's picture

September 28, 2019 at 01:07 pm

Packers didn't play as well as they could but were still plagued by Piss-Poor Officiating which is true and the NFL will NOT hold the Game Officials responsible. Then they let Barnett get away with a Helmet to Helmet hit that was supposed to be called but these supposed Game Experts (Officials) Didn't call Pass Interference when there was clearly Pass Interference, the Eagles Offensive Line held on at least 10 Plays that I saw yet didn't get called for that. Of course the worst one was letting Barnett and rest of the Eglet Thugs do what they wanted to do. Doug Peterson, shame on you allowing your Defensive Coordinator, the PIG Jim Schwartz teach your Players to cheat!!!!! Karma will go after all of you and I will be waiting to see it take you, Jim Schwarts and your Eglet Thugs and knock you out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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carlos's picture

September 28, 2019 at 01:22 pm

Right on JoePack

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Kubyskins12's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:48 am

The NFL made holding an emphasis for officials this year and of course they over react and holding calls go way up first 3 weeks. Then last Thursday’s game there was a bunch of holding calls and Tom Brady tweets complaining and media and coaches were complaining. So what happens the nfl tells refs to not make it emphasis anymore and the go the complete opposite of what they were doing and let blatant holding calls go uncalled. I noticed this in all the games last Sunday and the numbers also proved it cause pretty sure I saw a stat that had the holding calls way down. This is the same thing that happened last year with the emphasis on hitting the quarterback.They need to stop trying to fix everything all time. Sometimes it’s fine just the way it was.

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Ryan3468's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:26 pm

Block and run, and use a running back who doesn’t crumble 9 times out of ten on the first hit. Maybe have all running backs active and go from there. Best thing for this team available is some time off. Short week is never easy.

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OnWisconsinGoPack's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:44 pm

Agree with you but don't think it's Jones as his elusiveness last year was pretty good I thought. Play calling was terrible.

On a side note, if this is MLF philosophy on "timeshare" I think Gordon is worth a 2nd or a 3rd & 4th. Jamal is an average #2, good #3 back, but we need more fire power.

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4thand1's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:35 pm

Put Kenny Clark in the backfield WTF WTF WTF!!!!! Pound it in smash mouth. F--- the finness shit make em pay. Hell the last series before the int, they tried a run from around the 6, WTF WTF WTF!!! It was OPI on the MVS pass too. Suspect play calling, change the play AR? Who knows, Oh well, a few extra days of rest, gonna need it. Can't win em all but no need to help the other team either. Lotta football left. GOPACKGO

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CoachJV's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:44 pm

I'd put Lewis in the backfield and let him hurdle into the endzone!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 06:41 am

Yesss!!

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:17 pm

Definitely M. Lewis when it is at the goal line !!! 6'6 270 lbs and athletic.

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stockholder's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:40 pm

Let's get to the point: The Killer instinct is missing on those 1 yard needs. You got a FB, give him the ball. If you can't run it up the guts, you don't have any. Fancy shouldn't exist on a goal line. You break your opponent by push. (Bull DOZER!) If their worried about concussions, they have the wrong player running it. Passing puts more work on that OL. And more work gets you penalties, or beat. The packers did wrong. That wrong was obvious again last night.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 06:35 am

Yeah!!!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 07:47 am

Correction.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 27, 2019 at 04:51 pm

Go back 5 years.
NFC Championship game at Seattle.
Really good OLine with Sitton & Lang.
Kuhn & Lacy.

And even then, we could NOT get that one yard yard.
I'm really sick of those.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 07:46 am

Don't remind me.

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LambeauPlain's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:14 pm

First and goal at the one. The O lineman must be very pleased how soft the play callers think they are.

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Lphill's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:15 pm

Running plays when they toss to the running back and expect him to run to the side then cut up field is a play from the old days never gonna work with these fast D lineman , waste of a down, poor play calling overall last night especially the goal line situations , I’m sure next time around things will be different , put in the extra blocker and pound it with Vitale.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 07:48 am

Deleted.

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Pauly's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:15 pm

Why Shepard on goal line instead of Tonyan? All Tonyan ( 6'5", 250lbs) does is catch every ball thrown to him!!

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Hematite's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:30 pm

Shepherd was all alone in the endzone and Rodgers chose to throw into double coverage.
End of game.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:39 pm

Correct. play call & execution by the NDSU product were great.
The QB messed up.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:19 pm

Sheppard was only open after the defense started making a break for the ball that was already in the air to MVS

However, a pump fake would have been nice.

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carlos's picture

September 28, 2019 at 01:30 pm

Exactly Hematite and fellow Yooper. I’ve been saying that. Shepherd even made the tackle and came close to punching the ball out. I want to see him in the slot. Good hands and quick and shifty.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 27, 2019 at 09:20 pm

He was wide open.

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Pauly's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:19 pm

?? logged in,, I can only see 1 comment?

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4thand1's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:40 pm

Ok, I'm going to try to stay positive. Hard to do with sooooo many mistakes. Clean it up Pack.

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4thand1's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:41 pm

This is messed up

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Since'61's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:04 pm

Graham has no business trying to make one handed catches. Chuck him already!

Beyond that we need to try at least one running play from the one yard line. Also at least one play action from the one. That 4 play sequence shows zero confidence in the OL and the run game. The Packers essentially stopped themselves. Terrible job by MLF. Our offense needs more weapons.

We should not forget that Adams was injured by then. If ADams is still in the game we probably score. On to Dallas.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 07:46 am

And why keep using Graham. I get trying to get him back on track, into the flow and get them going but not at the expense of the team. Could have went to Tonyan at least once. He knows how to bring in and hold on to the ball. Even made one of the most critical catches. Smh.

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carlos's picture

September 28, 2019 at 01:34 pm

You are correct ‘61. Maybe Graham is still there because he’s Rogers best friend. I’m being facetious. But, just saying. Some real tough games coming up and a lot on the road soon. We do need some additional players.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:15 pm

No reason to push the panic button?... you're right, but there are reasons for major worry. 1) Can't stop the run. 2) No run offense. 3) No reliable #2 receiver. They haven't been able to run, they've been run over and without Adams, they couldn't gain a yard in crunch time. No reason to panic, but worry... absolutely.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:01 pm

I was thinking the EXACT same thing!!! Lol

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:21 pm

All I could think of the whole game while the run was getting stuffed, especially from the 1 yard line, was Lombardi must be up there somewhere screaming "A seal here, a seal here... and try to run this up the alley!"

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ollie418's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:30 pm

I agree the worst play calling I have ever seen. Just horrendous!

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Bert's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:08 pm

R-E-L-A-X...…….It's a long season. There will be bumps along the way.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:13 pm

Tim.....is reality setting in yet? Our best offensive effort of the season featured two turnovers, 20 yards rushing by the RBs, and zero points on two first and goals. At home. To a team that probably won’t make the playoffs.

This is not a 12-4 team. It’s not going to win the division, and it could easily finish under .500 with just a few more injuries. We cannot run the ball, we cannot stop the run, and could not win a game where Rodgers was over 400 yards passing.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:15 pm

drat

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:00 pm

We have had RED ZONE issues since 2015!!

We have 6'6 Mercedes Lewis Jimmy Graham 6'7, 6'5 Allen Lazard, 6'4 MVS, 6'4 R. Tonyan

We have a basketball team and we STILL can't into the endzone from 5 yards or less.

If we have to hand the FREAKING ball off to M.Lewis 6'6 270 lbs then do it!!! Or, send ALL the receivers to the corner and back of the end zone. This has got to be fixed. The piece's are there but the execution is not!!

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carlos's picture

September 28, 2019 at 01:36 pm

Heck, put Shepherd in. He gets open.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:06 pm

Just before the Rodger's fumble you could tell there was disarray by the offense. When Geibert? Phil TE was lined up WIDE OPENat the 5 yard line , then finally D. Savage with a bewildered look on his face came running over just before the snap, but ended up a TD for the TE Geibert.

Anyways, back to defense. Teams are now going to run the ball, run the ball and run the ball up the middle constantly!! Are weakness has been exposed and the defense is definitely in trouble.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:13 pm

Bottomline both offense and defense are out of sync. Plenty of games yes. Details, details, details. I know J. Williams is not a Dalvin Cook, but he grinds those 4 YPC. Two times equals 3rd and 2. Now offense can have defense fooled into either pass or run.

We need a run stuffer. When there is a run stuffer an RB has ONLY 2 choices Right o ett Left, good news is a defensive player does not have to think at all just react. But, no run stuffer the RB has 3 choices and then defender is fooled and the rest of the D follows. Don't have a clue how we will solve this one as this is our Achilles heel.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:24 pm

They have a FB and three TEs to play that game, but Philly was stacking the box and was intent on eliminating Jones and the running game. The only quibble from me i the QB bootleg with his back on the defense so close in the redzone. Schwartz called it perfectly and had the blitz on. If that play is not disrupted the Pack scores and in the least go to O.T. It was a great game when the dust settles and real Fans appreciate the duel.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:24 pm

They have a FB and three TEs to play that game, but Philly was stacking the box and was intent on eliminating Jones and the running game. The only quibble from me i the QB bootleg with his back on the defense so close in the redzone. Schwartz called it perfectly and had the blitz on. If that play is not disrupted the Pack scores and in the least go to O.T. It was a great game when the dust settles and real Fans appreciate the duel.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2019 at 06:34 am

I would rather not relive it. I want to forget this entirely.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 28, 2019 at 08:03 am

The inability to stop the run has me FAR more concerned than bad play calling on MLF's part. Hey, he's a rookie HC. He's going to make mistakes. While it sucks, losing this very winnable game also does not have me concerned.

We need D Adams and M Adams back ASAP and Gute MUST find another run stopping body at WILB and/or 5 Tech. Pronto. I don't care what it costs (within reason). Bulaga too... The injuries concern me.

I expect us to lose to Dallas in 10 days, and fear Zeke will run for 200 yards on us.

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Pierre's picture

September 28, 2019 at 08:49 am

Packers moved the ball effectively with Rodgers three early drives but had to settle for only 1 TD and 2 FGs instead of 3 TDs. Then Rodgers holds the ball too long looking downfield on a 2nd and 6, deep in Philly territory, when all he needs is to throw a quick short slant pass and Philly strips the ball for a gift short field TD. Then twice inside the ten, first and goal, they get no points, with one series four passes by Rodgers and no runs from the 1 yard line. Just embarrassing and pathetic to watch such ineptitude. Then an interception at the 3 yard line with the game on the line!
For all the yardage Rodgers passed for, his inability to throw TD passes and converting TDs inside the 10 yard line is quite alarming. Gotta expect a lot better execution from a veteran QB in getting that ball in the end zone with that field position or else this team will just be mediocre once again this season.

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Harold Drake's picture

September 28, 2019 at 08:49 am

Thank you for the excellent analysis. But one could add the observation that LaFleur has yet to demonstrate the kind of cutting edge play calling that he was largely hired to install in the Packers' offense. The red zone offensive play schemes are TERRIBLE.

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Ahgreen30's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:25 am

Just like EVERY Packer defense going back to when idiot Thompson took over as GM this defense is a TOTAL SHAM!!!!! EVERY year we hear from the defensive players "we gonna be dominant". EVERY year-Pack finishes in the back half of the rankings in defense. FAILURE!!! I'm so fricken SICK OF IT!!!! We've changed GM's, DC, position coaches and THEY STILL SUCK!!!!! The only thing left are the inept scouts that pick or recommend these sack of crap players!!!! FIRE THEM ALL!!!!

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Ahgreen30's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:25 am

Just like EVERY Packer defense going back to when idiot Thompson took over as GM this defense is a TOTAL SHAM!!!!! EVERY year we hear from the defensive players "we gonna be dominant". EVERY year-Pack finishes in the back half of the rankings in defense. FAILURE!!! I'm so fricken SICK OF IT!!!! We've changed GM's, DC, position coaches and THEY STILL SUCK!!!!! The only thing left are the inept scouts that pick or recommend these sack of crap players!!!! FIRE THEM ALL!!!!

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murf7777's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:42 am

Wow, one loss to a very good team and the MLf haters are out in droves. I didn’t like the 1st and goal plays and I suspect MLF will learn from that experience. But, to say MLF is a baaad play caller is just wrong. Execution > play called, he schemed Adams open through the game, there was a lot of pre snap movement and bunch formations. There are only soo many plays that can be called and ignorant fans will blame the “play caller” vs seeking bad execution by a player(s). I would also argue that we have consistently had more yards and points per game, we even won the TOP against the Eagles. The game also and probably most importantly came down to TO’s at -2. On the 4th and goal we could of just as easily ran 4 times and been turned away. It wasn’t like we were running the ball effectively, in fact many of our attempts were negative yards. Watch other teams play you will see goal line stands frequently. PACK is 3-1 with 2 division wins and one game doesn’t make a trend. YES, we need to figure out how to stop the run, but we are in a very good position right now......let’s not panic and be appreciative of what the new coach, GM and team has achieved !!!

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murf7777's picture

September 28, 2019 at 11:02 am

Sorry didn’t mean to use the word ignorant. Just frustrated with some fans overly knocking r coach already.

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egbertsouse's picture

September 28, 2019 at 11:09 am

Theoretically, If you have 1st and goal at the one and you have the highest paid TE in the NFL who is 6’7” and isolated with a 6’0” CB, throwing to that guy is not a bad call. Now, if that TE is a total stiff....... The problem is lack of talent, not play-calling.

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Cartwright's picture

September 28, 2019 at 12:42 pm

There was also a 3rd down call, a 3rd and 2 that irked me as well down near the goal line. Instead of attempting the easier 2 yards for a fresh set of downs that would have put us at the goal line a play is called to go for the whole enchilada to the end zone to MVS who I thought was given too many chances. What about some balls going Gmo's way if your gonna try that he only he the best hands on the team, didn't get that either. With ten days to contemplate maybe we'll see other folks start getting the ball.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

September 28, 2019 at 09:26 pm

Even if MVS Catches that ball he definitely does not make it into the end zone.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 29, 2019 at 05:10 am

I agree the play calling on first and goal from the 1 was horrible. Four straight passing plays was bad, really bad, play calling. Put in your big TE's and full back and punch it in.

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