Game-Changing Play of the Week: Pick Six Adds Unnecessary Drama

It was an incredibly frustrating game to watch if you're a Packer fan.

This was a game the New England Patriots had no business winning. Down to a third-string, rookie fourth-round QB and without an abundance of offensive or defensive playmakers, the Patriots are about as mediocre as they've been since the early 90s. They still have one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history, though, which makes them a threat any given week.

The Green Bay Packers needed to be prepared for a trap game, and, well, they weren't. The offense was pathetic in the first half, largely due to an inexplicably awful first 30 minutes of football by back-to-back defending MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and was either missing or avoiding wide open receivers in favor of (as it seemed to this observer) trying to forcefeed the football to his pals.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game was the pick six Rodgers threw just before half time. 

It was stunning when it happened--just the fourth of Rodgers' career. And it was on such a bad throw in such a bad moment that it felt like it could cause the team to unravel, as we've seen so many times with this offense after an early turnover.

Rodgers threw behind Allen Lazard on an out route on a ball the defender was clearly expecting. The result: a quick pick six and the Packers being down at halftime to a team over which they were heavily favored. 

The play did not ultimately result in the Packers losing, but it did significantly change the complexion of the entire rest of the game. Take away that play and the Packers probably go into the half with a 7-3 lead, possibly a 10-3 lead. The game likely doesn't go into overtime, and there isn't the moment midway through the fourth quarter where the Packers are down and driving for their lives.

So while it did not ultimately end up causing a loss, I would argue this play, more than any other, influenced the way the rest of the game went. Take it away and it's a completely different ballgame.

(Honorable mention: the no-call Delay of Game on the Patriots' touchdown.)


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.

6 points

Comments (6)

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 03, 2022 at 05:43 pm

"This was a game the New England Patriots had no business winning. Down to a third-string, rookie fourth-round QB and without an abundance of offensive or defensive playmakers, the Patriots are about as mediocre as they've been since the early 90s. They still have one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history, though, which makes them a threat any given week."

The last sentence being true to a point. It does however speak loudly about MLF and what seems to be a growing, not shrinking, issue with his ability to prepare for lesser talented teams, to be out coached while having the better talent, and by-far the superior QB of the three for NE, and the weekly flummox of in-game adjustments.

It's week 5 coming up, and the Packers will be playing in London for the first time, and I hope that MLF and Co leave the bad baggage in GB, because a game played like this against the Giants will make for a long flight home with a loss hanging overhead flashing where the fasten your seatbelt is seen.

Furthermore, it' isn't preseason anymore, and it isn't week One. Two or Three, but the 2nd game in Oct, and we have seen no improvement, though the stink gets covered by the wins that have revealed more bad than good about this team so far. The run game is working, to a point, or to the point that MLF or Rodgers move off it, but we can't play the Bears every week.

17 points
Johnblood27's picture

October 03, 2022 at 06:11 pm

Good thoughts Taryn.

Ever since the draft thoughts have been about assimilating the new players into the schemes and concepts that MLF and his staff run for the 3 times 13 game winning GBP.

It is far beyond the time to begin seeking the growth and illustration of MLF as a head football coach for a competitive NFL team.

Any time you feel that the team is stuck in a mire and you start looking at the players and begin "grading' their performances or begin calling for benchings or cuts to be made, consider the head coach as a very real factor in what you are seeing as a team performance failure.

When a player is obviously overmatched, it could be a poor match up or it could just be a bad day at the office, or it could be that the coaches didn't put that player or positional group in a place to experience success. The coaches are and have been at fault much more than individual players when shortfalls have occurred. These instances have been lightly papered over by the overall talent on the GBP roster which often results in close wins instead of losses which would invite more close scrutiny.

The time for closer scrutiny is upon us.

the buck stops at the head coaches office.

9 points
croatpackfan's picture

October 04, 2022 at 12:08 pm

You have evidence in NFL how much HC means for team - everybody expected Jags to be team on which you'll count your win. Or poor Lions where Goff looks like MVP. Lions put over 30 pointd in 3 of 4 games they played and scored 35 points on Eagles with top defense.

0 points
GregC's picture

October 03, 2022 at 06:17 pm

Yeah, during the entire second half, I could not stop thinking about that pick-six and how the game would've been quite different without it. The good news is that the Packers came out strong on their first possession of the second half and scored a TD, so at least they didn't have the hangover effect we've become used to seeing in these situations.

Our defense did manage to generate one turnover, but against a rookie third-string QB, one might have expected two or three. The Packers defended the run so poorly that when the Patriots did decide to throw the ball, they were able to pick their spots and give their QB huge windows to throw the ball into. It's very unusual for the Packers to be on the negative side of the turnover equation so far this season. That is bound to change. Right?

4 points
LeotisHarris's picture

October 03, 2022 at 06:44 pm

::nodding:: as I read Taryn and JB, Yeah, the lack of improvement feeds a feeling of deja vu all over again. We see Coach Matt flapping his arms to fire up the crowd. We watch our DC roll out light fronts against an O line loaded up with an extra Tackle. The Pats opening drive wasn't great coaching and Belichick magic; it was runs of 5 yds, 7 yds, 8 yds, 3 yds, 6 yds, a 27 yd pass from 57 year-old Brian Hoyer, 2 yd run and a -1 pass, then a 37 yd FG.

We have D backs in zone coverage passing receivers off to an imaginary Safety, and guys who still look lost covering the most basic of routes. If Jerry Gray is a master teacher in his role as passing game coordinator, why do his guys look so bad at times? What is going to happen to that mighty D when they face a legit NFL QB with a full compliment of receivers and running backs? How much longer can we pretend Lowry is little more than a speed bump? Will we ever cover a TE?

If only the Packers had somehow made the botched plays against the Vikings and come out with a W. At least then, we could claim to be undefeated in addition to untied and unimpressive. Right now this team is not enjoyable to watch, and I'm afraid I've seen how this movie ends. My gut tells me Matt and Joe look the part, but they ain't all that. We see that on the field.

6 points
TarynsEyes's picture

October 03, 2022 at 07:19 pm

Three wins and not a single legitimate win.
The Bears who are a laughing stock. 27-10
Tampa Bay without their top 3 WR's 14-12
NE with Zappe led Offense 27-24

It's good to know we can get these type of teams.
Gia, Jets, and Wash will add 3 more illegitimate wins toward the historic 13 win season for 4 years in a row, but it won't be enough to fuel the playoff grind.

Fingers crossed something changes.

4 points