With three losses in as many weeks, two of them at home, the Green Bay Packers are almost certainly out of the playoff picture. When those losses are combined with the fact that both the Vikings and the Bears won today while the Pack was losing, even a perfect 3-0 from here out carries little hope. Once again, a defensive meltdown by the Packers left fans disappointed and the team struggling.
Matt Schaub’s return to play after a month off ended with a 40-yard field goal to win the game for Houston right at the horn. In spite of four turnovers, probably due to the 3 degree temperature, the Texans recorded 549 yards – 408 of it in the air.
Once again, the Packers seemed to start the game slow. Their first score was in the second quarter, a touchdown pass to Donald Lee for 20 yards and 6 points. However, today, there was a further problem – they didn’t speed up in the second half. No further Green Bay points found the board until 14:56 in the fourth quarter, when Ryan Grant achieved a six yard gain and another touchdown. 9 minutes later, Jordy Nelson caught a 9 yard pass to tie the game at 21-21.
Penalties, unfortunately, played a huge part in today’s game. At the 8:58 mark in the first quarter, an offensive pass interference call on Donald Driver changed the position of the ball drastically, moving it from the Houston 24 all the way back to the Green Bay 21.
The Packers struggled back to their own 31, then yet another penalty – against Chad Clifton for offensive holding – knocked them back to the 21 yet again. Kapinos ultimately kicked a 48 yard punt to the Houston 21 to end the series. The Packers hurt themselves terribly with six penalties for 65 yards, while Houston managed to only collect four for 30 yards.
A point of interest was the work of Jermey Kapinos, who punted eight times for 316 yards and an average of 39.5. Last week, Derrick Frost punted 4 times for 175 yards, averaging 43.5, against the Panthers, and was fired. Not sure what this means for Kapinos. Obviously, he’s capable of 50 yard punts, and the ball was deep in Houston territory after his efforts, except for the first punt of only 25 yards. Had THAT punt been a 50 yarder like many of the rest, his average would have been 42.6. The “out of bounds” kick didn’t do the statistics much good in that case.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 295 yards today in just 19 completions. Ryan Grant ran for 104 yards, and usually the Pack wins when Grant is over 100.
In a game that Green Bay should have won, the cheeseheads come out the losers. The playoffs are extremely unlikely, almost impossible, especially with the attitude that seems to be coming from both the coaches and the players.
Next week, Green Bay travels to Jacksonville, then they face the Chicago Bears at home. While the final game of the season against the Lions should be easily winnable, fans and players alike are losing confidence.