Positives Outweigh The Negatives
I can’t really say I am angry or depressed about the result of this game. For all intents and purposes, Los Angeles Rams are the best football team in the NFL, they are complete on both sides of the football with talent at all positions. Going in, everyone thought this game against L.A. in L.A. was going to be a blowout for the Rams and after seeing how close this game was, I can’t be mad or sad about the finish. I am disappointed, because with the exception of Todd Gurley who’s an MVP candidate, the Packers looked like the better football team. Despite giving up 27 points, the defense looked the most impressive as it has all season against one of the best offenses in the league. Blake Martinez, Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander especially, were absolute studs today. Martinez was all over Gurley and Goff and Jaire Alexander was making plays every single time the Rams passed. As the game started, one of the commentators mentioned the Packers were really good against the pass and I laughed when I heard that. After this game mostly because of Jaire Alexander, I was wrong to laugh. Pettine for the first time maybe this season looked like a genius because his plan was to contain Gurley in which they did for the first half by stacking the box, make Goff pass and pressure him, in which they did. The pass rush was all over Jared Goff and for a while the Rams couldn’t do anything on offense which hasn’t really happened to them all season.
On offense, Rodgers looked great like always and production was only hindered by playcalling in which I will go into later. To begin with the only position negative was the offensive line. Rodgers much like Goff was pressured all day but against Aaron Donald and that front 7, it’s hard for any team to protect their quarterback so I’m not going to be as angry at the offensive line as I could be. Seeing all these receivers shine was a good feeling as far as the future, but I felt guys like Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were all hideously underused. Having Cobb back was a positive as no receiver can make the plays he makes as far as his speed and ways he finds himself open. Aaron Jones was the most featured back as they gave it to him 12 times and he broke a big run for a touchdown which was also very welcoming to see. Again, against this elite Rams team in Los Angeles, the Packers had their best game of the season against any team and they lost because of playcalling which has been an issue all season and one stupid mistake. The NFC is going through L.A. this postseason and I feel if the Packers can make it to and through the playoffs they will be the biggest challenge that the Rams will face bar from if the Saints beat them by double digits next week.
Why the Packers Lost
In a game they should’ve lost, I am awfully disappointed that they didn’t win after seeing them play their best game of the season and its all because of two unavoidable mistakes. They lost 20% due to playcalling and 80% due to Ty Montgomery. As mentioned before the offense at times looked great but the times it didn’t look great cost the team the game because for the most part the defense lived up to their end of the bargain. They passed on a third and short, run on a third and long, didn’t fully utilize guys who looked great the few times they were used and the biggest being the safety. The play itself was a pretty bad decision to run Jones up the middle with Donald and Suh there on the goal-line. If it were me, I would’ve done a quick pass as the Rams were anticipating a run and Rodgers is at his greatest when he does those quick passes. I think running was a bad call. Also, it was the beginning of a huge momentum shift for the Rams which included an immediate touchdown drive as they had the short field after the free kick. Who knows, maybe if that safety didn’t happen, the Rams would’ve never gotten it together to take over the game like they ended up doing.
Ty Montgomery was by far the biggest reason the Packers lost the game. Despite all the opportunities the Packers squandered before to put the game out of that situation, there must be an understanding that they were playing the Rams and being down by 1 with 2 minutes left is a decent situation to be in. Now let’s remember this isn’t just any quarterback who has a one-point and 2 minutes to win, ITS AARON RODGERS!!! I am 99.9% certain that if Rodgers had a chance to drive that ball into field goal range with 2 minutes left, he would’ve easily done it. He didn’t even have to get a touchdown. Because Montgomery decided to take out the kickoff, not kneel it in the endzone and fumble it, Rodgers never got that easy opportunity. One-point down, 2 minutes left and ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hand is a guaranteed Packers win in my book, easily. I’m sure Ty Montgomery is a good guy, and he does a lot of great things outside of football that far outweigh anything he can do on the field but c’mon, his mistake as a football player cost Green Bay the game. Because he is such a great human being it hurts to say but I don’t think his days are long in Green Bay. With Jones and Williams, he’s almost obsolete as a runningback, he brings nothing to an already talented receiver corps and on special teams, where his only job was to not fumble the football, he proved he couldn’t even do that. His contract is up at the end of the year and I don’t see any reason why the Packers would resign him for any amount at this point.
With an honorary mention to Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez, the player most deserving of my Burrito Bowl is Jaire Alexander. Today, he proved to everyone watching on national television why he was selected in the first round. For some reason the Rams decided to attack Jaire all game as he was mostly cover Brandon Cooks but for the most part Jaire locked him down. He reflected everything Goff threw at him. When it came to tackle, Martinez was all over the field, but in pass coverage Jaire took over. This performance makes optimistic of the future when it comes to the Packers secondary and that’s probably the biggest positive I can bring out in this loss.
Chopped – Lane Taylor, Justin McCray, Randall Cobb, Mason Crosby
Ty Montgomery gets the honor of being CHOPPED this week, see the above rant as his sentencing.
NFC North Update
Chicago Bears – Since the Bears faced the only bad team out of all the NFC North teams they unsurprisingly were the only NFC North team to win. They dominated for most the game but yet managed to almost lose to the Jets at home. They didn’t look special against a bad team and they still have to play the Vikings twice, the Packers and the Rams. The Bears are in first, but they are there for borrowed time.
Minnesota Vikings – Vikings once again looked foolish against a great team in primetime. Pretty fun to watch not going to lie as Kirk Cousins once again made Vikings fans weep. The positives, Adam Thielen once again had a great game which once again helped my fantasy team win. Thanks Vikings for losing and Adam Thielen.
Detroit Lions – Lions also looked silly at home against a decent but troubled Seahawks team. Even though they beat Green Bay and New England the Lions are the epidemy of a mediocre NFL team which means they will finish last in the NFC North. It’s a safe bet.
Despite everyone making fun of the field looking hideous due to the field crew not being able to remove the USC field paint, I think the L.A. Coliseum is the perfect venue for televised NFL games. I don’t know what it’s like to watch a game there in person, it probably isn’t the greatest but on television I think it’s great. It’s this old, historic and enormous stadium and to me that made the game seem like more of a big deal as an NFL regular season game. To say I watched the Packers play in the same stadium that they won the very first Super Bowl is also a pretty cool thing. Today I think most NFL stadiums with an exception to Lambeau, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and CenturyLink Field in Seattle all look the same. It’s cool and makes things seem an even greater deal when things are visually different and this game was good for that.
There is some pretty bad commentary throughout most of the networks that broadcast NFL games. Let’s start with ESPN which has turned Monday Night Football into an absolute circus. Gone are the days of Don Meredith, Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Al Michaels and John Madden. I really didn’t like Jon Gruden but at least Mike Tirico was good enough to cancel him out and he was nowhere as close as bad as Jason Witten. I’m sure Jason Witten is a nice guy, but he sucks at commentary and ESPN should be ashamed on putting that clown show on national television every week. Booger McFarland brings something to the table as he has some idea of what he’s talking about and I must say I am entertained when Jason and Booger clearly hate each other but they try so hard not to show it on television. Honestly the most annoying part of Booger is the fact he sits on an elevated chair above the sideline obstructing an entire stadium section’s view of the game every week. I used to hate Chris Collinsworth but he’s one of the NFL’s better commentators by default since everyone else is so bad. He still did call Latavius Murray, Demarco Murray which was hilarious. Him and Al are probably tied as one of the best duos along with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo but I’m not a huge Jim Nantz calling football person, so I like Chris and Al a little more. Lastly everyone for some reason tries to tell me Troy Aikman is good at his job but he’s terrible and he was particularly bad this week. He was slurring all over his words, he lost his train of thought mid-sentence a lot of times and he offered zero insight as a color man for the game. My favorite quote of the night from him was “I like Dean Lowry, he works hard and plays good.” Also in probably my biggest laugh of the day was when he called Ndamukong Suh, “Ndamukong Stu”, which would be an awesome name for a wrestler. Fox, please get Troy away from the booth and ESPN, please give Monday Night Football to another network!