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Packers 11 Lions 35: Game Balls & Lame Calls

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Packers 11 Lions 35: Game Balls & Lame Calls

Happy New Years to our readers, Packers fans and everyone except for Vikings fans!!

The Green Bay Packers entered the 2017 season finale with nothing to play for and looked every bit a team that knew it.  The Detroit Lions made quick and easy work of an uninspired Packers team to the tune of a 35-11 victory at Ford Field on Sunday.

The loss gave the Packers their first losing season since 2008 and all but guarantees they'll be picking among the top 15 slots in the 2018 draft.

There was next-to-nothing to celebrate from this game so this is going to be a short and sweet version of Game Balls. 

A quick thank you to our readers for their continued support of this piece every week, bringing their own choices for Game Balls & Lame Calls and some great discussion.

Game Balls

Onside kick recovery

Any time a team does this, and this marked the second time this season that the Packers have recovered one, it's worth an accolade.  Mason Crosby for the kick and Jermaine Whitehead for the recovery.

Whitehead also had a big fake punt conversion against the Cleveland Browns earlier this season.  They're small moments but Whitehead is becoming a guy who can make good things happen with the football.

This was the first play of the game and it ended up being where the Packers would peak on the day.  Fitting, considering how this season has gone.

Randall Cobb

Cobb was one of few established veterans out there in this game.  Since teammate Davante Adams signed his extension earlier in the week, Cobb has been the subject of much debate over whether or not he'll be back with the Packers next season.

He caught the Packers' only touchdown of the day and followed it up with a two-point conversion grab.  If this is somehow the last time Cobb wears a Packers uniform, he showed up on a day when there was nothing but pride to be had.  Thank you, Randall Cobb.

Marwin Evans

I'll catch some heat for this and being insensitive to player safety but hear me out.  Golden Tate took a short kickoff late in the game and took a knee, giving himself up and ending the play.  Evans came in late (very late, actually) and laid a very light hit on Tate that was helmet-to-helmet.  That part is never advised but given that it wasn't remotely hard enough to cause injury and that it was Tate, I'm giving Evans a bump here.

I'll never be a fan of Tate's and after the 2012 Monday Night debacle, I'm OK with any subtle shot that can land his way as long as it's not egregious.

Lame Calls

2017 Season

This isn't just my sour grapes or me being lazy.  This season has been hard to watch and disappointing for much longer than it hasn't.  

A list below of things that hopefully go differently or change in 2018 and beyond.

  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was so bad this season that I'm getting rid of his jersey and making a change after just one season.  I don't buy any more of the speculation that he's playing hurt or with an ailment.  If you're healthy enough to be out there every week, you are responsible for showing up and making plays.  Clinton-Dix was timid and, for lack of a better term, lame in coverage this season.  Not the center fielder that many of us hoped he would be
  • Mike McCarthy will be back next season, but this was another season with no Super Bowl appearance.  Understandable with no Aaron Rodgers, but these are piling up and becoming less and less excusable.  He's a stubborn individual and, in my opinion, takes too long to make some changes.  Finally casting off Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is probably a year, maybe two, too late.  Time is not something these Packers have a lot of when it comes to being able to compete at an elite level.  Is it fair to say that anything short of a NFC championship game appearance next season starts the "Mike must go" talk?
  • Packers defense is going to get a new leader next season but if we're still talking about this season, they didn't meet expectations.  Tackling issues, trouble defending the screen, bottom-of-the-barrel pass defense were all issues this season.  There were bright spots: Blake Martinez, Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Damarious Randall (post week four).  Here's hoping the changes made this offseason make a big and positive impact on that side of the ball
  • Brett Hundley didn't look great in these last two games.  His stock is low and whether he's back as back up quarterback next season is another topic that will be debated this offseason.  Obviously if the Packers have a chance to add a solid quarterback, they should.  But if they don't or can't find someone to unseat him, how rough is 2018 going to be if he has to play at all, let alone for any extended time?
  • Injuries were the theme of 2017 around the entire NFL, not just in Green Bay but clearly they changed the Packers' season in an instant.  And that change was not for the better.  This is one area where teams can't take full control in their own hands.  It makes managing a season hard on teams and it makes being a fan a lot more nerve-racking.  2018 can't possibly bring another bad injury to Rodgers, can it?
  • Staying on injuries, the Packers need their rookies to come into next season healthy.  Montravious Adams and Vince Biegel's rookie seasons didn't even start on time due to injuries.  Kevin King's season ended on injured reserve and Aaron Jones was inactive due to a knee issue.  These players showed promise, but they can't accomplish anything in street clothes and on the sideline


A big thank you to our readers for their engagement this season and looking forward to providing some good offseason content.  And on that note and a reminder, there's not always a lot to talk about every week between now and training camp.  Comments questioning a topic quality or making the lazy and lame assumption that "it must be the offseason" are just that: lazy and lame.  Be glad there is regular content on this site every week of the year, not just between the lines of the regular season.

Happy New Year! 


Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (61) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

You are right that McCarthy is stubborn. Examples:

1. Capers should have been fired following the 2012 season. Not the 2017 season.

2. BH should have been benched or cut following the DET loss. The 1st one. We should have been looking for a veteran who didn't absolutely suck at that point.

3. How many times have we wanted to see a young player at a position where the vets were sucking months or even years before MM let him play? Gilbert, Bishop, Brice, Whitehead, Evans are only the latest examples.

4. Shawn Slocumb was never qualified to have his job as special teams coordinator. Never. And yet, he held it for YEARS before MM fired him. And that took THAT game.

5. Stupid playcalling. Keeping going at something that wasn't working just because that was his "plan" going in. For example: running the ball in the 4th quarter in THAT game when it was clear that SEA was loading up to stop the run.

There are more... this is just off the top of my head.

Thompson and McCarthy need to GO. NOW.

Nick Perry's picture

1. Capers should have been fired following the 2012 season. Not the 2017 season.

I didn't see your post before I posted mine. Great minds think alike! LOL

stockholder's picture

It is what it is. Regardless what MM does, or when he does it. This team is about an aging QB now. As long as TT doesn't go. Nothing will change. TT , Capers, and MM will all have a job tomorrow if they want it. No one listens to the fans. It's about bringing in the money. TT shut your mouths with the signing of Adams. MM will get back A-Rod. And Capers will not leave until they have someone else in mind. He's the 3-4-4. IT'S EASIER TO PUT A PATCH ON THINGS, THAN START OVER. Murphy is backing TT. And that won't change!! TT will not fire MM as long as A-Rod went out. Changes will happen only because guys want out. So Unless Capers and TT retire. The only change will be to the roster.

The TKstinator's picture


dobber's picture

Just sayin'...

The TKstinator's picture

Oooh boy!
Somebody be pokin’ the piranha!!

Chuck Farley's picture

One thing u hit on that I always believed is mm is stubborn. Stubborn in his coaching, stubborn in his play calling, stubborn in his practices.
To me AR is the team has been the team and he has made so so receivers look good, mm win record look good and Ted T look the genius.
No this has been an avg team for many years but Rogers made up for it

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly. Beautifully put.

3 and 5 are the ones that make me foam at the mouth. Sadly MM willl probably survive for another year. Even obvious significant progress will be impeded until TT is put out to pasture.

Sure as hell hope I'm wrong.

dobber's picture

3 --> are we really romanticizing Whitehead and Evans?

Bearmeat's picture

As opposed to a clearly poor/unmotivated/injured? HHCD and Burnett, who won't be back in 2018?

Absolutely. Might as well see what the young kids have got when live bullets are flying.

dobber's picture

Half expecting you to post how much you miss the good doctor... ;)

Spock's picture

Jason, agree with the article. Note: change needed in the second paragraph: "easy work of an uninspired Lions team" should read "Packers team". Tough season to watch for the fans and I'm sure tougher for the CHTV crew to find something interesting to write about from week to week! Hopefully, 2018 will be MUCH better for both. :)

MarkAlan's picture

Mark Murphy do your job !

Nick Perry's picture

Game Balls....Like Jason mentioned the Onside kick and Cobb we're really the only two bright spots. Ill add..

Jamal Williams...Yes he should have caught that pass which was intercepted on the opening drive, but the kid ran hard. I still like Jones better but Williams IS the better all around RB right now. The Packers have 2 pretty good RB. More than good enough to have a running game when Rodgers is back and healthy.

January is Here!!!.... Hard to give a month of the year a "Game Ball" but it signals the END of the 2017 season, Dom Capers, and possibly more!

Lame Calls....

This entire organization...

It starts at the top with Murphy. I don't trust a guy who's more concerned with building giant slides and tourist type things instead of paying closer attention to the guy you've put in charge of the product ON the field.

Thompson...UGH!!!! Just UGH!!!!!!


"He's a stubborn individual and, in my opinion, takes too long to make some changes. Finally casting off Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is probably a year, maybe two, too late."

This by Jason is what scares the hell out of me. McCarthy IS stubborn. He's kept a DC who absolutely positively should have been fired after being "Kapernicked" in 2012. Sean Peyton has fired 3 DC's in the last 6 years because he GET'S loyalty doesn't win in the NFL, results do and until he found a DC who could actually HELP his offense win games he kept trying at least to find one. McCarthy stands still with a coaching staff that frankly just isn't very good.

I'm glad 2017 is over because I'm tired of being negative. I took the signings of Lindsey and Adams as positive signs the Packers aren't sitting on their hands this off-season. I looked at it as getting them out of the way so they can be first in line in building this roster back up to where it needs to be.

At least that's my New Years Wish.

dobber's picture

I'm more impressed Williams's versatility and ability to catch the ball than anything else. As a runner, he's a try-hard, grinder type, but I don't think he's a least not yet. Jones is the dynamic back, and his ability to catch the ball (which he did in college) will make him a key piece to this offense going forward...if he can stay healthy.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah. If Jones stays healthy. And if MM actually frigging USES the best player on the roster at any given position.

mrtundra's picture

Jamaal Williams dropped a lot of passes thrown his way this season. I think he needs coaching on catching passes. He can really run but has problems catching the ball. Hundley can run but cannot pass. Not a good combination to have when we need to move the chains. This next draft, I'll say the Packers draft another RB for depth.

Bearmeat's picture

"I'm glad 2017 is over because I'm tired of being negative."

Look NP, I'm glad this dumpster fire of a season is over too. Now all that is left is to wait to see who is given the DC position and to watch the Vikings blow it. Again. :D

That said, PLEASE don't fool yourself that this team is headed in the right direction. Don't let Ted and Mike's "steady as she goes" spiel (which is surely coming this week via their season-ending "press conferences," fool you. You are too smart of a fan.

Silverstein nails it here:

This is a team, outside of its QB, DL, RB, ILB and left side of the OL, is BAD all around. This is a team that is 3-13 without ARod. This is a team that has gotten worse as a unit since 2014 and really has only had about 2 seasons of excellent all-around play - despite the advantages of its HOF QB provides - since 2011.

Sure, the defense will be better next year with a new DC. But this year convinced me that is only slapping new lipstick on a pig. This team will NOT win another super bowl with Thompson designing the route and McCarthy guiding the ship. McCarthy especially will get another job the second he is fired. But the entire leadership structure's message has gotten stale. The team's best players are almost all over 30 at this point.

Blow it up. That's the only hope. Or we'll be looking at 2 more embarrassing divisional round exits and a 36 year old ARod before we truly have another chance to compete at the highest level.

Come on Mark Murphy. Grow a pair of nuts. Do the right thing.

dobber's picture

"Don't let Ted and Mike's "steady as she goes" spiel (which is surely coming this week via their season-ending "press conferences," fool you."

If you actually listen to what TT and MM say, you're already behind the 8-ball. Neither actually ever says anything of substance to the media.

Bearmeat's picture

True. I guess I am more talking about observing their actual actions. That's what counts.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Dix had an awful season.

“We know what the issue was,” safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said Sunday, reflecting on a wasted season. “We lost Aaron Rodgers. It’s point blank, period.”

This IMO is totally unacceptable and the reason the defensive staff must go. Dix feels no accountability for his own performance.

HankScorpio's picture

Good point.

A minor quibble: It's not "the" reason. It's "a" reason. There are plenty more.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

My "the" is the general lack of accountability, not the specifics of Dix...

If I ambthe new DC Dix is going to have to earn his starting spot agian.

rtmus53's picture

In the top 5 on the "chore list" of the new DC should be finding out and correcting said problem with HHC-D. Performed dismally all season; numerous times yesterday(and all season long) was right there when a pass was completed and made no effort to defend the pass or even try to tackle the guy after the fact. Sorry excuse for a #1 pick.

The TKstinator's picture

HHCD has to be the most disappointing player of 2017 on the entire team.

stockholder's picture

Game balls. I'm giving one to Mathews. Daniels and Cobb. These guys are still worth every penny. Pass interference calls. =( The Lions could have blown this game out in the first Quarter if called right. ) The packers caught a break from the refs. If TT is still the GM, I couldn't blame him one bit for taking a CB or safety again. The depth just stinks.

dobber's picture

How many turnovers in Detroit territory in the first half? How many scoring opportunities missed? The Packers could have been up 17-3 at the end of the first quarter...not the other way around. Hundley's inability to take care of the football alone should bury him on the bench.

stockholder's picture

There were two pass interference calls that were never called. The lions were driving. And had to settle for the FG. I believe 44. williams non -catch for a INT. Could have changed it to your way of thinking.

Since '61's picture

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all my fellow Packers fans and bloggers, to the CHTV team, and all of our veterans and first responders.
Let's hope the that 2018 brings the changes necessary to return our Packers to an "elite" NFL team.
A lame call on the entire organization for ending the season with 3 straight dismal losses.

Thanks, Since '61

egbertsouse's picture

Lame call: HHCD, for phoning it in all year and having the audacity to blame it on everybody else. He should have been shown the door right after Marty Bennett.

lou's picture

On HHCD, after watching him last year and the way he played this year that has to be a severe case of "Identity Theft", that was not the same guy this year.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

Hopefully the changes are deeper than DC!

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

Trade HHCD for whatever draft pick you can get!

stockholder's picture

Lions just cut caldwell.

dobber's picture

This means Teryl Austin is on the street. Some people point to Austin as being a potential pick for the Packers at DC, but after a first season where his defense benefitted from outstanding talents on the DL and an all-pro season by DeAndre Levy, his defenses have only been so-so. One could argue that he hasn't been given the pieces, since then, either (sound familiar)? All signs point to his getting a shot at an HC job.

Michael Hughes's picture

Only thing you can say about Ha Ha is that history showed that Adams' terrible second year was almost certainly due to him being slowed by injury and Randall's play this year suggests the same for him last year.

I would probably see how Ha Ha does next year before throwing him under the bus - it may well be another adams/randall deal or he may have just regressed. Its a new year so I am going to think happy thoughts and go for the first.

dobber's picture

HHCD had his lackluster start as a rookie and improved through those first three seasons. He looked about the same this season as he did as a rookie...slow to the ball, tentative, lacking physicality. I try not to be too critical of individual players in this way, but his heart wasn't in the games this year. He points to ARod being hurt as the key loss to their season, but when ARod got hurt, they needed someone to elevate his play and become the leader of this team...or at least of the defense. That was HHCD's chance to earn himself a huge contract. Instead, #21 mailed it in...and he was doing it BEFORE #12 got hurt.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah. That's not in his own self interest. Players don't last 10 years at his position routinely, which means he (as a good FS) has really only one chance to cash in. Why would he voluntarily suck in a critical year for his career? This leads me to think one of two things:

1. He just had had it with Dom's D. Not laudable, but I've seen great athletes sulk for a season to effect change many times.

2. He actually was hurt.

Either way, next year will be the proof in the pudding.

dobber's picture

I just don't see HHCD having some lingering injury all season long without it showing up in his practice time or coming out through the media at some point. I don't know what his practice habits are like, but he's played like he ain't ready.

If it's #1 and I'm the Packers, I don't want any player who's going to pull an NBA-type stunt and dog it to get a coach canned on my roster.

Bearmeat's picture

Like I said, it's not good either way. He's either injured or mailed it in. He's got one year to show all pro ability, or he's gone. GB has some promising young safeties right behind him, and the defensive coaching staff WILL be different. No more blind allegiance to HHCD.

Hopefully TT and MM are gone too.

rdent's picture

Dix will be paid $5,597.000 this next season, just can't see paying him that much for the way he has played.

4thand1's picture

You can see the frustration in the lack of posts here and most sites. Fans are tired of excuses and lack of production. At the start of each season there is optimism, but not any more. I thought we would be an offensive juggernaut and knew the defense would be a liability. TT likes good locker room guys and his own, then lets Cook go and signs Bennett. Not saying Cook was his own, but he needed to be signed. Also he should be held accountable for letting Hayward and Hyde go. We have to use draft picks to replace them. This year will be the whole organizations test to fill a lot of holes. TT should be feeling more pressure than anyone and Mike McCarthy should be holding the rolaids too. Coaches are being fired left and right and they should take notice. Its supposed to be about winning championships and not the bottom dollar. We need a president with some balls who will tell it like it is, right now it's not good.

Lphill's picture

Recipe for success next season is an improved defense with a new D.C. And let Rodgers do all the play calling.

dobber's picture

With John Fox getting the boot in Chicago, I wonder if MM makes a pitch for him to be the new DC. This also brings in a coach with a history as an HC, which some have said MM might want (so don't fall asleep on Chuck Pagano, too). According to reports, the two are friends off the field. Fox has run 3-4 defenses with the Bears and Broncos.

HankScorpio's picture

I would be very happy with John Fox as the DC.

Bearmeat's picture

no no no no no no no.

We need young ideas. Fresh ideas. Not someone who's been around the league for 30 years like Dom.

HankScorpio's picture

I'd settle for the stale ideas that missed tackles should be avoided and blown assignments are unacceptable. Especially if the next guy is able to turn those words into results on the field.

Bearmeat's picture

And what makes you think Fox, Pagano or any other retread/failed HC would be able to do that? Things are too comfortable in GB as it stands. I don't want another company man who has no fresh ideas or new wrinkles toting party lines. I want either a jerk with fire, or a newbie with lots of ambition to shake things up.

This all changes if TT/MM go. Which I'm 99% sure won't happen.

dobber's picture

Remember when Bruce Arians took over in 'Zona and had a bunch of septuagenarians as his coaching staff? Worked out well for them...

Just because Pagano and Fox (who has had success as a coordinator and HC) got canned as HCs doesn't mean they can't still coach a defense. Both of these guys coached outstanding defenses at some point. I don't know what makes these guys "company men" or unable to come up with new wrinkles. If their new wrinkle is good tackling or being assignment sound, that's a huge step in the right direction.

HankScorpio's picture

A crusty old-school hard nosed defensive coach can get players to play hard and play well. Fox's teams have usually been fairly sound defensively, whether he was the DC or HC.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Fox and Pagano...


dobber's picture

Just sayin'...

For those who say anyone would be better than Capers, these guys are anyones.

jasonperone's picture

Correction made to clarify who Detroit made quick and easy work of and which team was uninspired. When's baseball?

Qoojo's picture

I don't think either team really cared much about the game. I know the one announcer tried to make it sound like the Lions were playing hard. Both teams mostly went through the motions, and packers had all the same problems exposed. I thought the young packers played with enthusiasm due to youth. I watched a lot of meaningless packers games since the early 70s, and this team played with no heart or pride.

Perhaps this is a group of players that have given up on the coaching staff. Basically, without Rodgers to cover up coaching stupidity, the players realize the futility of it.

Even though it's not the packers play, I really liked the Lions 2-point conversion play.

This team gets some deserved healing time. I have no idea why House was playing in this meaningless game given his broken back injury.

dobber's picture

House has no contract for next season. He's got to do something to at least look worthy of someone's money...

RCPackerFan's picture

Game Balls -

Cobb - One thing I hope they take from the game and apply it to next year is using Cobb, Montgomery and Jones on plays like they did late in the game to Cobb. Using him as a true WR weapon out of the backfield. He is a threat out of the backfield, so is Montgomery and Jones. They have threats there, so use them.

Williams - He just continues to run hard. While I think at times he misses some cut back lanes and I no doubt think Jones would find those, Williams has been really good the 2nd half of the season. I'm looking forward to year 2 for both guys.

Lame Calls - While I was all in on the Packers losing, couldn't they have at least played somewhat better? Offense had 4? turnovers. Defense I thought played decent, but was put in tough spots throughout the game. How many times did Detroit start on the easy side of the 50 yard line? Way to many.

I'm just happy the season is over. Now its time to see what the offseason can bring us.

Rossonero's picture

Anyone else feel like we are, or are becoming the NFC version of the mid-2000s Colts, back when Peyton Manning 'n co. would win a ton of games, but come up short every year?

Much like Rodgers, Manning only won one Super Bowl after boneheaded draft decisons year after year. I sure hope not, but the way things are going, it does not bode well.

Bearmeat's picture

And the 90s Dolphins, yes. Totally. And it's been that way for some time.

GVPacker's picture

Game Ball= Mike McCarthy for giving Dom Capers the Das Boot!
Lame Call= Mike McCarthy for waiting 5 years for figuring out Dom Capers Defensive Scheme doesn't work anymore!

I bleed green more's picture

One of the most worst seasons I can remember and I go back to the 50s forget the 70s and 80s this one stings because we could have been there with Rodgers.

mrj007's picture

Thanks for the column Jason! I really enjoy being able to make comments and read others. A lot of intelligently presented arguments. I believe there are positives - it took a Rodgers injury to expose what has become a theme over paat4 years. Poor defense against the pass, lacking run game, poor play calling. Rodgers covered up a LOT of warts. Good news (game balls) 1- revived running game 2-special teams pointing up 3- new DC 4- lots of vets will get whacked and new front office is going to do more with free agency. Happy new year!

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