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Rams 29 Packers 27: Game Balls & Lame Calls

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Rams 29 Packers 27: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers squandered a late chance to get a huge road win against the only undefeated team left in the NFL.  Instead, they return to Green Bay once again licking wounds from another road loss, 29-27 to the Los Angeles Rams. 

The Packers are now 0-3 on the road this season and fell to .500 with the loss.

Game Balls

Jaire Alexander

Alexander returned from injury and not a minute too soon.  He was everywhere against the Rams and absolutely balled out.  The Packers finally have a cornerback who can shadow the best receiver on the other side and make life tough for that guy.

Any questions that were lingering about whether the Packers made the right move in drafting Alexander were laid to rest today.  He's not perfect and has room to grow, but his future looks extremely bright as an NFL cornerback.

Blake Martinez

A game high 12 tackles and a sack, Martinez was all over the place in this game.  A few key tackles on the edge too to prevent a big gain.  

Kenny Clark

Evergreen entry on this list.  Two sacks and disruption after disruption for yet another game.  Clark continues to show up big every week.  He's a huge reason why this Packers defense is doing things it hasn't been able to in recent years past.

Aaron Jones

Jones could be on this list every week if he's given enough opportunities to touch the ball.  He finally led in carries with 12 and added 86 yards and a long touchdown run.  He's far and away the best runner and if the mantra is that players earn more opportunities through success, Jones should see closer to 20 touches per game moving forward.

Lame Calls

Ty Montgomery

This is the king of lame calls this season.  Montgomery inexplicably brought the kickoff out of the end zone with under two minutes left on the clock and after the Rams kicked a field goal to take the lead.  He promptly fumbled the ball, and the game, away.

This was pure stupidity by Montgomery.  This is a guy who went to Stanford and somehow left his brain in the end zone when he started running with the ball.  

It's not OK to threaten or bully someone on social media or online but Montgomery definitely needs to take his medicine and face the valid criticism.  There will be plenty of it coming his way.

I doubt the Packers take this step, but many a player has been cut after making mistakes of that magnitude in the past.  Just ask Brandon Bostick.

Ron Zook 

For not making it crystal clear that, under no circumstance, should the returner try to return the ball.  From Mike McCarthy's postgame comments, it seems obvious that everyone assumed Montgomery knew to take a knee. 

We all know what assumptions lead to.  This was a failure to ensure that the mindset of the special teams units was in the right place.  I won't hear any justification for not trying to preserve clock and let Aaron Rodgers try to lead a game-winning drive.  Awful leadership.

Also, his unit gave up a fake punt conversion for a first down and didn't recognize the personnel on the field pre snap.  

Packers special teams once again squanders a chance at victory.

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy because he's Zook's boss and it's not rocket science to get your staff and players thinking critically about what they need to be doing in a late-game situation.  McCarthy's postgame comments highlight an issue that seems to be an issue over and over again with his teams: a lack of communication and too many assumptions that everyone is on the same page.

Also for the run call up the middle out of the end zone near the end of the first half, if that was, in fact, McCarthy who called it.  Match ups don't seem to mean much to McCarthy and he sent his runner right into Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh while asking his offensive line to single handedly block.  The result: a safety.

Mike has his formula for how he wants to attack and try to win.  If it doesn't work, it seems to be "oh well" instead of making adjustments.  Games like this may be pointed to if the Packers are looking for a new head coach after this season.  Yet another big game the Packers weren't able to finish because they coughed up the opportunity. 

Green Bay Packers Public Relations

The team didn't make players available to the media in the locker room after the game.  The optics of this were of a team that didn't want to face the music for a grand failure.  Regardless of why, it's a really bad look after a really bad loss.  

JK Scott

Scott has kicked well at times but he had a few really short punts late in this game and he took steps backward.  Hopefully he finds his consistency and this one game doesn't have me concerned for him.  Yet.



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 (57) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

fastmoving's picture

Damn, we were just some kneeling away from a big upset.
but the D looked like a top ten unit. should be enough for some wins if the O plays half way here potential. NE would be a good start..........

dobber's picture

"Damn, we were just some kneeling away from a big upset."

That was a good front 7 they played yesterday (and for all those who were complaining when the Packers didn't make a run on Peters when the Chiefs decided to move him? Now you know why). It was no gimme that ARod was going to take this offense down the field and put them in FG position.
I would've liked to see him get the chance, though.

Football is a momentum game and if this defense can continue on this trajectory? I don't think we expected--in August--that the offense might be the problem.

fastmoving's picture

yeah thats right, thought the same thing. AR could be way better and if he had not these sacks (3 and one?) , when he hold to the ball forever, we could be up at least one score. Missed some throws too.

So it was not so sure that we got the FG , like normally, but it would be a lot more fun to watch him tryin.

But who knows, if we dont get it because of some other mistake, it would be frustrating too…..

HankScorpio's picture

Ty Montgomery had the last screw up but by no means was he the only one to screw up.

How about the offense only scoring 10 in the first half? With the defense playing out of their minds, there should have been a much bigger halftime margin than 2 points.

nostradanus's picture

The wheels are coming off and the Packer train is headed The players are bitching and Dix is whining about not getting paid and not coming back next year, even though he has never been very good. Montgomery disobeying coaches orders just like Bostick before him, lack of communication, a disjointed offense, a Defense that collapses, special teams blunders, blown time outs game after game. As Lombardi would say "what the hell is going on out there?"
Lets face it, this team is going nowhere except the bottom of the division to keep the Lions company.
Montgomery should be gone today and at the the end of another pathetic season McCarthy should be shown the door! Heads will roll!

fastmoving's picture

you sound always much more like a drama queen than everyone else.

Lombardi would say "just get the cry babies out first, this was a hard fought, good game from my players".

Lombardi stood for just the opposite you post there. He had no wig but a heart and a brain.

"Defence that collapses" just after the best D showing in a couple of years??? sounds like you know a lot about football…...

dobber's picture

We're in an era of making the events fit the narrative (rather than allowing the events to define the narrative). That's what we're seeing here.

Oppy's picture

Dobber, you hit the nail on the head about the current era and how people today file and sort events. It's sad and disturbing.

fastmoving's picture

that just what it is………...

Skip greenBayless's picture

I didn't see the wheels coming off in this game. I saw a team that went toe to toe with the so called best team in the NFL. If not for a very selfish and boneheaded bad decision that should cost Montgomery his job, we all know Rodgers wins this game in those final two minutes. Now they need to steal one in New England to make up for this one. I saw lots of great stuff in this game. Special teams is a major problem though. Someone need to pad level their asses the way they've blown games lately.

dobber's picture

I agree: yesterday showed that this coaching staff still has the attention of this team. There might be issues, but they played hard yesterday and--given the quality of the opponent they played on the road (can't point that out enough)--gave themselves a chance to win.

They've got to find a way to carry that on to next week. Pettine knows NE from his days with the Jets....but the Pats know Pettine. We'll see how that plays out.

fthisJack's picture

this should be another nail in MM coffin after that great play call from the 1 inch line. that play cost them 8 points and momentum.

splitpea1's picture

I mostly agree. The defense played as well as it could play--game balls to Pettine, Alexander, and Martinez. The offense had its usual hiccups but still scored 27. We don't know for sure (unfortunately) if AR could have put together a game-winning drive, but there was probably a better than even chance.

I like what this article said about the public relations aspect of this fiasco; it illustrates the cocoon-like behavior this organization sometimes engages in.

Special teams has been an issue for most of the MM era. Whether it's boneheaded plays, getting lost in the heat of the moment, or just plain forgetfulness--well, I don't know what to say. Losing this way is a kick in the gut.

egbertsouse's picture

Who is it that said, “Good teams find a way to win and bad teams find a way to lose.” Very true.

The TKstinator's picture

Aristotle or Plato.
One of them guys.

4thand1's picture

"those" Socrates?

dobber's picture

It's under So-Crates.

The TKstinator's picture

Oops! I meant ‘dem’ guys, and yes, Socrates is one of dem too!

You know the old saying, “Grape minds think I like!”

RCPackerFan's picture

Game Balls:
Alexander - STUD!!! Plain and simple. Right now he is our 2nd best defensive player and honestly he may become our best defensive player by the end of the year.

Aaron Jones - Again not getting enough opportunities, he did the most he could with the opportunities he could have.

Josh Jones - On special teams he was a demon. He was all over everything on the coverage units. Hopefully his special teams play will earn him opportunities on defense. If he can play with that type of attitude they will have to find a role for him on defense.

Lame Calls:
Montgomery's decision to return the kick. It simply made 0 sense to return that ball. With 205, it would have given Rodgers 1 play before the 2 minute warning. While that wasn't why they lost, that didn't allow them a chance to come back.

Offensive woes - The offense looked amazing at times but also looked just awful at times. In the 4th quarter they just had back to back touchdown drives. The defense holds them and the Packers get the ball back. They end up going 3 and out and have to punt. That drive IMO is the drive that lost them the game. If they can march down the field, take time off the clock and put points on the board it changes the game.

I had a good feeling coming into this game. I thought they would have a chance to win. With Alexander coming back I thought he would energize the defense. I was surprised to see Breeland not active.
The defense came out to play. The offense did for a bit but got into a funk from 2nd quarter to the middle part of the 3rd quarter. They need to find a way to move the ball more consistently.

Packers lost by 2 points, the offense gave the Rams 2 points. Essentially that is the difference in the game.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Agree with most everything RC. But everyone’s mentioning that we only lost by 2. It was a loss by the line (9) if Gurley walks into the end zone. The game was essentially over and I much prefer 27-29 to 27-36 but...

RCPackerFan's picture

The truth is we were down 2 points with 2 minutes left and should have had the 2 minute warning plus a timeout with Rodgers having the ball at the 25. He would have 4 downs to get first downs and move the ball 40 yards or so for a FG try. We have seen him him do a lot more with a lot less time.

Montgomery basically went rogue, and fumbled the ball away.

Yeah, technically they could have scored a TD at the end of the game to go up by 9, but the game wasn't that far apart. It was a 2 point game, Packers were getting the ball back.

While us Packer fans are upset, imagine how the Rams fans would feel today if they lost and how they allowed Rodgers 2+ minutes left down by 2 points.
This game was close!

EdsLaces's picture

Lame calls I felt when I woke up this morning knowing we could have beat the Rams...

RCPackerFan's picture


ollie418's picture

When is McCarthy and Rogers going to learn that time outs are gold? They waste them every game.

During the drive after the Packers took the lead it was third and 6, or smoothing close, and about 15 seconds on the play clock. Rogers is barking out signals, the clock is winding down. He wastes a precious TO. I scream at the TV.

Also, MM wastes a TO when Rams have the ball inside the 20 with 3 min and change to go.

If they have all the TO, even with the fumble, they would have had a slim chance.

Just awful.

The TKstinator's picture

They have too dang much going on at the line before the snap. All the pointing and signaling gibberish. The clock winds down to what seems like 3 seconds or less before every snap and then 12 takes a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty. Ugh.

dobber's picture

There were actually several times yesterday where #12 took the snap with MORE than 5 seconds left on the play clock.

The TKstinator's picture

That’s good, but that other thing still happens too often for the faint of heart such the ol’ TK.

Christopher Gennaro's picture

I was dancing every time he did, been screaming for that for years. I still don't get Rodgers always milking the clock, and 1 or 2 were close to 10 second mark and rams d was dumbfounded.

dobber's picture

I would argue the TOs didn't make any difference yesterday. Gurley made sure of it. Just beating a rented mule here.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Ollie go back and look at how the Rams used their TOs during the game. They didn't use them any better than the Packers and we still had a TO left at the end of the game for Rodgers to execute the 2 mom in offense if TY had just taken a knee. More than enough for Rodger magic.

fthisJack's picture

Rodgers needs to stop trying to draw the defense off side and then burning a TO. its obvious what he's doing and it doesn't work anymore.

The TKstinator's picture

We all hated the safety in that run up the gut
It wasn’t Donald or Suh that stuffed it, it was Mark Barron. (The guy Josh Jones is supposed to be for GB.)

Since '61's picture

It was also Bulaga who missed the block. I do think that Williams had a better chance of making it back to pro beyond the LOS than Jones in that situation. Also, the Rams sold out on the run. Play action to a quick slant may have worked nicely in that situation.

That play was the result of a fortunate bounce and a smart play by Shields downing the ball at the 1 foot line. A different bounce and it's a touchback.
That's part of the game and I can accept it. I can't accept the stupid play Monty when it was the Packers turn to play smart football. Thanks, Since '61

Jonathan Spader's picture

Shields was also the one that caught the special teams pass for a big 1st down. Packers won on defense, tied on offense, lost on ST. Big day by a former Packer to beat the Packers. Sam Shields set them up for the safety and gave them momentum for their 1st TD.

fthisJack's picture

i like the way Jones picks his holes. Williams tries to run over people. not to say there was a hole in that mess.

splitpea1's picture

Well said. Need a better play call than a run up the gut in that situation. As for smart football, this is something the Packers need to get acquainted with, particularly on special teams. Let's not forget how lucky they were to beat SF and overcome that penalty on the last drive. If there is any special teams coaching going on here, it certainly doesn't show up on the field in critical situations near the end of the game.

carusotrap's picture

There's something brewing in Green Bay, and it's not good.

Reports say Montgomery threw a little hissy fit the series before his gaffe, and then he purposely disobeys what he knew to do with the kick return.


We also hear Rodgers was beyond pissed, and there are some quotes from "unnamed players" that indicate some foundational frustration with not only Ty, but the entire thing.

The game plan was generally good. The playcalling was as good as McCarthy is going to be. The D was great. The execution was 90% there. In other words, the day-to-day is mostly OK.

My point? The larger picture shows that this is a house of cards. There's a fundamental problem with how this team is constructed, and I truly believe it's Mike McCarthy and his leadership culture. The Montgomery thing, the comments, the Rodgers reaction, the degree to which the players are tuning out all indicate that while we can find the play-to-play issues in each game, there is the overarching reality that the Head Coach no longer has control or a positive influence of what is happening on the field.

They might win next week. They might even make the playoffs. But -- and this is not me jumping up and down or over reacting -- I just think it's time for a new HC after this season.

jjmaj's picture

Rodgers out played by other quarterback: Not talking yards, ints, %.
Game and clock management, keeping the defense off balance.


Jonathan Spader's picture

How did Goff outplay Rodgers? Goff took sacks just like Rodgers, missed open TEs and WRs. Intentionally grounded the ball on yet another penalty the Packers didn't get the benefit of. Pettine had pressure on Goff all day who played his worst game of the season. Gurley was the one that outplayed the Packers.

Jordan's picture

I agree. Rodgers is un-coachable at this point. He's incapable of playing all 4 quarters. He blames everybody else. He needs to look at his own tape which I doubt he does anymore. Rodgers (and McCarthy) couldn't even score enough points in SB XLV. It took a defensive Nick Collins TD to have enough points to win the game and beat the Steelers.

Tundraboy's picture

"They might win next week. They might even make the playoffs. But -- and this is not me jumping up and down or over reacting -- I just think it's time for a new HC after this season"

My sentiments exactly. if a Coach doesn't have a positive influence on the field for his team what does he have.

I've certainly seen them enough on the field not to believe in him getting us through difficult situations. McCarthy and Zook are albatrosses.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Beaten by a 2nd year head coach. Jeez..

fastmoving's picture

man, you with your strange logic. but Wade Phillips, with his 124 years, lifts the Rams average coaching age way up……
so if the means something to you, maybe the outyears us on average.
go check it out, seems you have a lot of time to burn…….

dobber's picture

Yeah...Sean McVay didn't play a single snap yesterday, and the boy-genius's offense was mostly held in check. Unless you want to say that the fake punt was a turning point (which it wasn't), I have a hard time saying McVay won that game.

dobber's picture

Combined records of teams beating Packers: 16-6 (all losses on road). Washington isn't looking like a patsy, anymore. They're not flashy, but they're winning. Detroit rolled over to Seattle yesterday.

Combined records of teams Packers have beaten: 7-15 (all wins at home). They have to start beating good teams. And on the road.

Record of team Packers tied: 4-3-1. I'd like to point out that the Vikes have now dropped two home games. That Saints first rounder isn't looking so hot.

In Edit:

Please follow with this:

fthisJack's picture

Saints first rounder i figure to be 26-32 unless they lose Brees or some other catastrophe.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

That's an awful article. It is the writer's wholly unsupported opinions with some conjunctions. I don't think there is a single fact in the article. MN scored 23.9 points per game in 2017, and are 14th in scoring at 24.6 points per game in 2018 (with GB 13th at 25.0 points per game). If GB brought in a veteran WR, we'd give that player half a season at least to get acclimated, but BR doesn't give Cousins that benefit of the doubt.

This is about wins and losses plus big pay. MN had the number one defense in the NFL in 2017, at 15.8 points allowed per game. [GB allowed 24.0 in 2017.] In 2018 MN is allowing 24.4 (GB allows 24.7). Do you think allowing 8.6 points more per game might jeesst a teensy bit affect the old won/loss record?

Moreover, Cousins has a fine completion percentage (70.7), decent yds/att and reception, a 102.5 rating (higher than AR's) and a 4.7% TD to 1.2% INT ratio (16 to 4). IDK, good individual stats and an increase in scoring should not lead to articles like this.

I could write the BR article about another highly paid QB whose W/L record isn't so hot in 2018.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Rodgers holds ball and takes long sacks at worst times.
No short passing game.
Jones with only 12 touches (Gurley had 35)
Running into Donald and Suh from end zone. (stupid)
Adams getting too few targets
Endless wasted time outs
Offense still no identity at midseason. (on Rodgers and McCarthy)
Montgomery, Zook, McCarthy (all to blame for last play)

And yet a 2 point loss. There may be more talent on this team then we thought. But there's also more stupid.

Next week will highlight the difference between Rodgers and Brady. Brady is a machine. He peppers the field with 5-8 yard passes and throws to the open man, quickly. Rodgers has to make the big throw. He bypasses the open man, holds the ball, and takes sacks at the worst time. He's a better thrower than Brady, he's a better runner than Brady, he may even be smarter than Brady. But it may be time to admit he's not a better QB. We all lament the fact that McCarthy is wasting the talent of a Hall of Fame QB, but Rodgers may be as much to blame for the lack of SB wins. Maybe if he had a Belichick or Holmgren to control him... but sadly he has McCarthy.

marpag1's picture

I agree with most of this, except...

Why are we assuming blame on Zook (and by extension, McCarthy) for "not making it clear" to Monty that he should take a knee, when virtually everything that came out after the game says that the coaching staff DID tell him to take a knee? There can be plenty of blame for Zook in this game for other reasons (fake punt, etc) but this doesn't seem to be one of them.

Optics, schmoptics. First, no one cares if players weren't available in the locker room (other than people who want to write articles). And secondly, I suspect that there would have been some ... uh... "discussions" following the game among various pissed off players. If I am a coach, I sure as hell wouldn't show that to the public either.

I didn't LIKE the run that ended in a safety, but I don't think it was stupidity either. It's a valid call. The execution obviously sucked (and it wasn't Suh or Donald that blew it up). Personally, I would have preferred a quick, short pass, or if we must run it, at least put Jamaal Williiams in instead of Jones.

Davante Adams should have a game ball.

packerbackerjim's picture

What is this “virtually everything” to which you refer? Where MM says we spoke of this “as a team”? Or “everyone knew” what the decision was to be? Apparently not everyone.

jasonperone's picture

At the time this was written, all that was being said was that there was a “miscommunication” on the sideline

Since '61's picture

Game balls:

Jaire Alexander
Kenny Clark
Aaron Jones
Aaron Rodgers
Blake Martinez
Fackrell and Gilbert looked good yesterday

Lame Calls:

Ty Montgomery X3- One running the ball out of the end zone the second for failing to secure the ball upon contact and the third for wasting a great team effort because he was upset about coming out of the game.
Bryan Bulaga for missing the block on the play that resulted in a Safety.
Where have our TEs gone?
Did Perry play yesterday? Is he still on the team?

If this season goes South which it appears to be then it is time to move on from MM. Thanks, Since '61

Ferrari Driver's picture

"For not making it crystal clear that, under no circumstance, should the returner try to return the ball."

Jason, how do you know Zook didn't make it crystal clear? Is that an assumption on your part or do you have confirmed information?

Thanks in advance for the reply.

jasonperone's picture

From what I had at the time, there was “miscommunication” on the sideline. Whether that was everyone trying to minimize the gaffe or the truth, I gave the lame call to both Zook and MM. I’d still give each of them one for not running a tighter ship. They lost a big game and still have a player on the roster who blatantly disobeyed coaching. Many other teams address that issue the very next day

Rak47's picture

Montgomery was specifically told to take a knee before that kickoff. Right before that though Montgomery was seen by a reported half dozen players or more to have thrown a tantrum on the sideline after being removed from the previous offensive series. It's also being reported that some player believe Montgomery was giving the coaches a big middle finger in an I'm going to do me moment. If all this is true there is no possible way to keep Montgomery on this team and McCarthy to keep the respect of his players and coaches for that matter. They need to either trade Montgomery before the deadline or just outright waive him. If he's still on this roster next week I'm calling a foul on Gute for sabotaging the locker room and the season to assure his ability to bring in a new HC that he wants.

Big gar's picture

Big gar here, just heard Cleveland needs a new head coach. Jd knows us well, let's propose a trade mm, Zook and moss for a seventh round pick. What we saw yesterday was a reincarnation of infante. Even if we right the ship this team is no better then it's head coach

croatpackfan's picture

Regarding Ty Montgomery and crystal clear instructions:

Who is responsible?

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