So I know Chris said we wouldn't talk about, you know, what happened anymore. Sorry boss.
I know I've been a bit of a ghost around here lately- my apologies on that. I intended to write this story yesterday, but I couldn't bring myself out of a funk in order to do so. So... here it is now.
I'm going to just go ahead and do the rest after the leap of faith in case you just don't feel like reading anything more about... well, you know. And I won't blame you one iota.
There is a million potential reasons as to why what happened... happened. Our secondary is banged up (and only got worse so during the course of the game) and their QB is Jesus. (Wait, that's Tebow. Never mind.) We have no real, true, #1 WR out there. Our QB was starting only his third game against a very good team in a very hostile road environment- and on top of it all, their secondary, which previously was about as good as... well, ours, suddenly remembered how to play football. The O-line was having a bet as to who would allow more people to get through, and how quickly they'd let ‘em by.
Hell, even some of our stalwarts were a bit off. Yes, Jared Allen went ahead and continued his sack streak. But let's face it... while Adrian Peterson had some nice runs, it wasn't a typical AP-vs-Them day. Even Percy Harvin, our do-it-all offensive option, seemed to have a rough start- a couple of penalties and even a point where he slipped and crashed into the turf, untouched, right after a handoff.
The crazy thing was, I predicted that our play-calling on both sides of the ball on Sunday would be... well, a bit unique. I figured at this point, Bill Musgrave and Fred Pagac were going to go, "well, the season's lost, and our odds of winning this game are slim... so let's scratch the ol' noggins and see what we can come up with, see what maybe we want to add to the playbook". It's something I've been hoping for for a while, especially considering the diverse talent we actually do possess on offense- AP the blocker/ receiver/ and of course, run-machine; Joe Webb the quarterback/ runner/ receiver, and Percy Harvin, the blocker/ receiver/ runner. Really, considering those three guys alone and their rather wide array of talents, you'd think we could come up with some really unique stuff- and quite frankly, I thought we did. AP picked up quite a bit of blocking duty, Webb played wildcat QB as well as WR, and Harvin was all over the place- as usual.
Put in the fact that Visanthe Shianco and Kyle Rudolph are, you know, pretty darn good (let's not forget of course the People's Champion here), and on receivers, Michael Jenkins isn't a terrible receiver- heck, even Cammy has suddenly started popping up and doing a little damage of his own- with the proverbial cherry on top, one Mr. Christian Ponder, who was looking to be quite the up-and-coming quarterback, things should have been quite good for us on the offensive side of the ball. And I'll say it- I loved the trick play where AP pitched back to Ponder for a long pass... unfortunately, the rookie mistake of underthrowing it reared its ugly head and turned it all into a pick. That said, I still think it was a nice play.
Oh, wait. The offensive line. Never mind, blow pretty much every single chance of us having a scoring drive right up, please. Things don't work out so well when Ponder has 1.27 seconds to make the snap, pick a read, and throw the ball. On. Every. Damn. Down.
But hey, we happened to have Mr. Superman Aaron Rodgers' kryptonite- that furious sack-machine called by mortal men ‘Jared Allen'. (His true Titan name is unknown.) While one man cannot do everything on defense alone, he can open things up- while Brian Robison has been having a bit of a slump, he should be able to take advantage of some extra focus on that angry, be-mulleted guy over there. And Kevin Williams always draws double-teams to boot... that should create a situation similar to Philly last year, where should Pagac so choose, he can unleash the pound-for-pound greatest defensive player in the NFL upon the pocket: Antoine Winfield. And he did- Winfield did record a sack, and was present for some of the explosive blitzes unleashed on Rodgers, which was pretty much the only possible way in hell we were going to slow that offense down. (My G-d if it was the last game Winfield will ever play... ugh, I just don't want to consider it, as realistic as that might be.) And it even occasionally worked... except when they freakin' went for it on 4th and long, for no reason... and got it. Sorry, yes, I was pissed off that they even did that, but all the same the main emotion I felt was embarrassment and shame- that's still on us for not doing anything about it.
So... what the hell happened? Well, we knew the defense could only slow down- not stop- that offense. And we just covered the fact that thanks to our Offensive Line (I stand by my lubed up, profanity-based comment to them in the 4th quarter string, BTW), our own offense barely had a chance all day. Oh, did I mention our Special Teams sucked, on both sides of the ball? Thanks for making Longwell's field goal go from automatic range to yard-short range, whoever the hell had that false start. The only highlight of their play was when we recovered a fumble via Cobb... and it sucks pretty bad when your only highlight is contingent on their side screwing up. (Kluwe did OK I guess though.)
We had all the pieces. Well, not all- a secondary and O-line would have helped. A lot. I'm not even sure it was the lack of a true #1 WR that killed us- although it would have been nice, seeing as how everyone had a hell of a time getting open. And we had the crazy play calling that I was clamoring for, the insane strategies that would startle and befuddle them, the stuff we might as well be trying now.
So... what the hell happened? It's been noted that the bye week has been far from a blessing this season- quite a few teams have lost after it. It's been suggested the new training rules in the CBA for bye weeks could have something to do with it. Even the New England Patriots, who I believe had a post-bye winning streak dating back to the Mexican-American war, lost post-bye this season. Was that it? Were we cursed by the bye week, something we were all believing would be in our advantage?
Was it really just the lack of an O-line? The fact that we can't cover a receiver anywhere on the damn field no matter what? Rookie QB mistakes in a tough place against a tough team? No solid receiving options? Or were we just straight out-played by a better team, on a day where our team truly believed it was playing golf?
No poll on this one ladies and gents... too many possible answers. Just post your answer below:
What the hell happened?