Well it’s another loss to drop us to 5-6 and close to out of the playoff race. However, it was a much more entertaining game than previously expected. In the end the Steelers had too much firepower on a stacked Offense, with the best wide receiver and running back in football.
Positive: Brett Hundley clicking
After the Packers were shut out by the Ravens last week, I was scared to watch them against a high-octane offense and good defense on a Sunday Night Football game. To my surprise the Packers came out swinging. As if to say we are nobody’s underdog, a position that the Packers seem to thrive in over the years. Brett Hundley had more time and seemed to work hard on stepping up in the pocket instead of running out of the pocket to the right every time there is pressure. He also managed to not turn the ball over, which I was beginning to think was going to be a staple of his game. Sundays game didn’t completely restore Hundley’s trade value but definitely saved it from a complete nosedive.
Negative: Another Loss
Even if it was a loss that was close and to a top AFC team that was playing from home, it is still another loss. The Packers now stand at 5-6 and would more than likely have to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. Even then we may still miss the playoffs, with the two current wildcard teams being the Falcons that are 7-4 with a win over us and the Panthers at 8-3. We are currently the 9th seed and only the top 6 from the NFC make the playoffs. So short of other teams losing and us winning out, I think we may miss the ball.
Blake Martinez had a career night versus Pittsburgh. For all 60 minutes, he was a thorn in the Steelers side, even though they were able to get the win in the end. Last night he recorded a game high 15 tackles, one fumble recovery, and one interception. He leads the Packers this season in tackles, and he surely has potential to be the leader of the Packers defense. Without a doubt this was his greatest game of his young career. He has been on the rise this season, and last night’s performance certainly cemented him one of the best players on this young, promising defense.
What really disappointed me was that the offense was unable to take advantage of three Steelers turnovers. Seven points are all the Packers offense had to show for the turnovers that were forced. The first turnover, a Damarious Randall interception, led to a touchdown, but the next two turnovers led to a missed field goal, which in itself was a questionable call, and a three and out. The defense gave Hundley a short field on three occasions, making it much easier to execute and score, but simply, the offense was unable to capitalize. If the offense would have been able to score, it is likely the Packers escape Pittsburgh with a surprise win, unfortunately, we will never know.
Green Bay did everything they had to do to give themselves a chance. Brett Hundley played a great game, he looked like the quarterback who lit up the preseason his rookie season. But still, if a drive wasn’t able to get off the block on first down, the likelihood of a three and out was high. Four touchdown drives, zero turnovers though? Fantastic.
Damarious Randall did it again, picking off Ben Roethlisberger in the first half. He’s playing the best ball since his rookie year, and in some ways, feels like the Packers only hope of a big play from the secondary. He also came up with the huge pass break up with a little over a minute left to give the Packers the ball left, with a chance. Irrationally disappointing loss last night, but it feels pretty good this morning.
The Packers played surprisingly well against the Steelers who have one of the league’s best offenses and defenses, especially on offense. Hundley had one of the best games of his career passing for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns against a top-5 defense, while Jamal Williams helped carry that load with 66 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving with a touchdown in each of those respective categories. Both allowed the Packers to score an impressive 28 points. When McCarthy put trust into his young quarterback to air it out, Hundley looked great throwing long beautiful touchdown passes to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, while being solid passing on third downs. Even though the defense gave up 31 points to a high-octane Steelers offense, they did have 3 turnovers that kept them in the game until the very end. Overall the team proved doubters and sports-betters wrong as it was expected to be a home blowout for the Steelers, but they played with heart and effort throughout almost giving one of the NFL’s best an upset scare.
On offense, the only the problem that I saw was play calling at times got very predictable and McCarthy went back to plays that made exploited many of Hundley’s weaknesses like they were against the Ravens and Saints. Certain plays were obvious rushes even to the average television viewer, Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels alike in which those were stuffed against the Steelers defense. Hundley also continued to look slow on his decision making, not passing to wide open guys or being late to them, or he had an open guy but got sacked instead. When McCarthy let Hundley sling it out it was met with success but when he didn’t, it was met with failure. The Packers lost mainly because of defense even though they got 3-turnovers. Antonio Brown, who is one of the best receivers in the league had a huge game with 169 yards and 2-touchdowns. During the game, he was not treated like an elite, dangerous receiver by the coverage Capers had called for him as he was wide-open a lot. The Steelers heavily underestimated the Packers, but the defense still didn’t seem prepared enough for Brown.