Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is “sick and tired” of talking about the trouble spots afflicting his 10-win, playoff-bound team.
The problems, however, seemingly were all Aaron Rodgers could think about following the Packers’ 30-20 victory over the Raiders in rainy Oakland on Sunday.
“No,” Rodgers said when asked if he felt good about the offense’s performance.
“We weren’t very effective,” Rodgers answered. “We had less than 300 yards and had a terrible first half.
— The Packers finished with 293 yards.
— Situational football was a disaster, with 4-of-13 success on third downs and just 1-of-5 red-zone possessions ending with a touchdown.
— Six of the 14 possessions (not counting the take-a-knee to end the game) resulted in less than 10 yards of offense.
— The offense played miserably in the first half, with just 97 total yards.
— There were two bad turnovers, with James Starks’ fumble ruining the lone productive possession of the first half and Rodgers’ interception with the Packers in command in the waning moments.
In essence, it was the same old story. The offense wasn't good enough often enough. The running game was effective at times but ineffective on third-and-short. When the running game wasn't effective, the Packers couldn't convert on third-and-long. The receivers didn't win often enough on the perimeter and didn't make enough happen after the catch. Rodgers missed on some opportunities.
Nonetheless, McCarthy had a vastly different outlook on his team following a third consecutive victory.
“We’re right where I want to be. We’re right where we need to be,” McCarthy said, no doubt considering all three phases of his club rather than just the sputtering offense. “The style points, you can flush that. I’m sick and tired of talking about the negativities. We’ve won 10 games. We lost three games on the last play of the game and Denver beat us. That’s the overview of our season.”
With that said, it’s hard to see this team making much noise in the postseason unless the offense can put together more than sporadic production. The defense is good but it’s not great. The special teams are good but not great. The offense used to be great but has a ways to go just to get to mediocrity.
A running game that blitzed the Cowboys for 230 yards last week needed a big run by Starks late just to get to 100. Rodgers’ passer rating was just 68.8 — he hasn’t had a rating of 100 since the bye. The passing game commands so little respect that the Raiders played their base defense against the Packers’ three-receiver sets — essentially daring Rodgers and Co. to beat them through the air.
“There’s some frustration,” guard T.J. Lang said. “We feel like we’re not playing up to our talent level a little bit. Hey, we won the game. We won the game by 10 points. We’re never going to be upset about that. I think we just feel like we just need to be more consistent on offense. I know we put up 30 points. Our defense is really responsible for 14 of those.”
Next week’s game at Arizona will be indicative of the competition the Packers will have to beat to win a Super Bowl. Entering this week’s games, the Cardinals were seventh in points allowed, fourth in yards allowed and seventh in third-down conversions.
“I’m not into style points or stats or any of those types of things,” McCarthy said. “It’s fun to go score a bunch of points, put up a bunch of yards but, at the end of the day, everybody’s fighting to get into the playoffs right now. The game in front of us is going to be a big one. It’s another tough road game in a tough environment and that’s what we’ll stay focused on.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.