*This will be a weekly post with updates after each game based on performance.*
The Packers won’t earn any style points for the 2nd overtime win this season. The offense struggled against one of the worst teams in the league. The defense held up against a pretty underrated offense. Ranked 15 this year, the Buccaneers offense was without Jameis Winston the past few weeks, without Doug Martin the first 3 weeks, and a injrued offensive line. Make no mistake, the Bucs have a decent offense when healthy. The problem is, they were without Doug Martin and most of their offensive line. None of that matters now, though, as the Packers are 1 game away from potentially having Rodgers return, and it’s a winnable one at that. The hope is that the Packers will still be playoff eligible by the time Rodgers returns.
Hope is about all that is keeping the Packers playoff chances alive. The Packers have the slimmest of chances of reaching the postseason. Since the Packers Super Bowl year, 5 of the last 7 years in the NFC has a Wild Card team possessed at least a 10-6 record. The 2 outliers, the records were 11+ wins. Sure, a few years there have been 9-7 teams to make it as a Wild Card, but I just can’t see Saints or Seahawks losing more than 7 games this year. They need a LOT to happen in the next 4 weeks. Luckily, the NFC South is murderous, and the Seahawks are banged up, which could open the door for the Pack to sneak in. Remain cautiously optimistic, but let’s see if the Packers can get some road kill against the Browns.
Coaching – 1 out of 10
Horrible. There is no other word for the last 2 minutes of that game. Kicking the field goal on your opponent’s goal line with 2 minues left is conservative and mostly fine – but then to double down and let time run out to go into over time when you have 2 timeouts and the ball with 44 seconds left is just unheard of. Sure, the offense struggled to move the ball all day, but the Buccaneers would have been backed up against their goal line, and their defense is bad enough where you have a pretty decent shot to pick up 3 yards.
The playcalling on top of that was not very good until the final drive. The run pass option had a ton of success, but he seldom went back to it. The couldn’t move the ball against the 2nd worst defense in the league. This offense has too much talent to struggle against bad defenses. Luckily, timely turnovers and Aaron Jones saved the day.
Offense – 3 out of 10
It was bad. Really bad. You are at home against one of the worst defenses in the league and all you can muster up is 276 yards? After shredding Pittsburgh’s defense the week before? Maybe they were just playing down to their opponents, maybe they just had trouble executing on the rubbish field (it was bad). All I know is there are still glaring problems with this offense despite immense amounts of talent.
Quarterback – 2 out of 10
He’s not a good quarterback by NFL standards, but he has skills that can win you games. The miss to Geronimo on their first drive was indicative of just how poor of a pure passer he is. That’s a gimme for any NFL caliber QB. However, he does have things you can work with. On the final drive, you saw what the Packers are capable of when the threat of Hundley’s legs are putting defenses to the test. The run pass option picked up chunks of yards, and it simplifies his reads when throwing. He is just too skittish in the pocket against the pass rush, and can’t read defenses quick enough. McCarthy needs to simplify the offense for Hundley if he’s truly concerned about winning games, because the other options with Rodgers sidelined aren’t good.
Runningbacks – 9 out of 10
22 carries for 133 yards by RBs, including a walk off winner in overtime by Aaron Jones. This isn’t a pass first offense in the absence of Rodgers. Williams was solid all game, but for some reason they abandoned the run at times. It defies logic. It fills me with great joy thinking the Packers got 2 RB’s on day 3 of the draft that are NFL caliber backs, and have a 3rd that is more than capable of taking carries. We have the Jones/Williams tandem for 3 more years after this one, and both on rookie contracts. They will, however, be put to the test against the Browns stout run defense next week (yes, their run defense is very good.)
Offensive line – 7 out of 10
They had their struggles at times against a very weak defensive front from Tampa Bay, but overall held up fine. The passing numbers should not be attributed at all to the OL, as Hundley is still too quick to move out of the pocket, but the running numbers are indicative of their successes. Teams are loading the box against them, and they are still thrashing defenses in the run game (6.9 ypc against the Bucs). Spriggs has surprisingly helped solidify this unit. Let’s hope they can hold up next week against the Browns stout front 7.
Receivers – 4 out of 10
It’s really not their fault. The Packers only threw the ball 22 times, and only 13 were caught for 3.8 yards. It’s so hard to judge this group when it is difficult to get them the ball.
Defense – 4 out of 10
Yes, they gave up a lot of yards to an injured and middling Buccaneers defense. The problem is, the Buccaneers have a ton of talent. Mike Evans is a top tier WR when he’s healthy and has a good QB throwing to him. DeSean Jackson, even at his age, is still a gadget that needs accounting for at all times. Cameron Brate is a monstrous TE that is a tough matchup. Winston is a former number 1 overall pick. The Bucs have used a ton of draft capital on this offense, and it shows. The Packers defense is very similar, in that there is a lot of talent, and the defensive output isn’t always a good indicator of the sum of its parts. They have a lot of players playing great football, and for some reason, they can’t seem to keep the yards from piling up.
Defensive Line – 6 out of 10
When Kenny Clark is healthy, this unit is elevated to new levels. He was a menace all day against the run, picked up 2 sacks, and helped force the fumble that Deal Lowry returned for a TD. Mike Daniels has been fairly quiet this year, but had a solid day, racking up a half sack and tackle for loss. Lowry also pitched in a sack in addition to his return. If the defense ever puts it all together, it will be because of the big boys up front.
Linebackers – 5 out of 10
I’ll keep saying it, Blake Martinez is a Pro Bowler. He had a ho hum 12 tackles, a pass defensed and a QB hit. Tackle count for the year is 111 – the man is always around the ball. Jake Ryan had a pretty solid day as well, 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and a QB hit. Clay had a great day, 2.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and 3 QB hits. They need him to produce for this team to make it through the next 4 weeks.
Perry was suprisingly non-existent in the sack frenzy, recording merely 1 QB hit to pair with his 5 tackles. The rest of the linebackers were mostly of no consequence, other than Fackrell’s not-blocked blocked punt.
Cornerbacks – 2 out of 10
So, here’s the thing – this unit isn’t very good, but it is severely banged up, which makes it even worse. Randall has been having a comeback year, but was still pretty quiet in this one. House is too easily beat by smaller/shiftier WRs. Pipkins and Hawkins should by no means be getting this much playing time. Everyone else is hurt. The Bucs have a lot of WR talent, and they burned inferior opponents. It’s pretty simple, but no less frustrating. What’s frustating is that it was none of their talented pass catchers that burned them. RB’s and TE’s gashed them all day. The screen defense is truly awful and makes their stat line appear so much worse.
Safeties – 2 out of 10
I still can’t fathom why this unit has been so bad. Ha Ha is coming off a Pro Bowl year, and can’t turn the ball over or take appropriate angles. Burnett still looks limited. Josh Jones hasn’t showed any of the promise he had in pre season and the early weeks of the regular season. They simply haven’t been good enough. I still think they have a ton of talent back here, but something is holding them back.
Special Teams – 6 out of 10
The good – the blocked punt was excellent. Davis returns were welcomed surprise.
The bad – the kicking operation is still shaky even with Goode at long snapper.
The ugly – Davis’ inability to know where he is on the field while corralling a punt.