Bottom line: Packers stink

Many reasons why Packers are 1-7

After watching the Green Bay Packers fall to 1-7 with a 20-10 loss to Pittsburgh at Lambeau Field on Sunday, only one thought comes to mind: "What in Samkon Gado is going on out there?!!!"

Once again, the Packers showed why they are one of two one-win teams in the NFL this season. Not only have injuries sapped this team of talent – Gado was the Packers' leading rusher with 62 yards on 26 carries in his NFL debut - but the mistakes this team makes are typical of a team which will pick during the first hour of the NFL draft next April.

During Sunday's latest debacle the Packers provided plenty of reasons why they are where they are. Here's a few:

-- Ahmad Carroll: He had one penalty, and that means he had a good game.

-- Interception off a tipped pass. Brett Favre throws to his most reliable wide receiver, Donald Driver, who precedes to tip the ball rather than catch it. It ends up in a Steelers defender's hands and moments later Pittsburgh puts the Packers to sleep with a Duce Staley TD run.

-- Mike Flanagan snaps low and right of Favre, resulting in a 17-yard loss on a third-and-six play in the fourth quarter, ending a drive.

-- The Packers are third and goal from the Steelers' 2-yard line, but back-to-back false start penalties moves the ball back 10 yards. Then, Favre gets blitzed, sacked and fumbles, and the Steelers recover and score a TD on the fumble return.

"Our play changed three times in the process," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "I was very frustrated with that."

So instead of the Packers scoring a touchdown, the Steelers do, making it a 14-point swing in a 10-point game.

"Fourteen points," Sherman said. "I think 14 points is significant. That's a huge swing."

-- Ryan Longwell entered the season 90 percent during his career on field-goal attempts between 30-39 yards, yet he misses a 31-yarder wide right.

-- Mark Tauscher gets flagged for his second holding penalty of this season and his career.

-- On the Packers' final drive of the second quarter and first drive of the third quarter, they combined for 30 plays, 17 minutes, 4 seconds of possession and scored one TD, because of Longwell's missed field goal.

These are mistakes losing teams make. Have the Indianapolis Colts made these errors this season? No.

The Packers are where they are because they are playing poorly, they are coaching poorly and every break they get in a game is a bad one.

Still, Sherman refuses to sulk.

"I think there are some things we did very well," Sherman said. "There were some things we didn't do well. There are things we're improving on."

That's debatable, but Sherman can't give up, especially when his coaching future is on the line.

Nevertheless, week in and week out this team finds different ways to lose. A week ago, it was Favre's five interceptions at Cincinnati. Sunday, everybody pitched in.

What was also mind-boggling Sunday was late in the game when the Packers could have tried a 47- or 48-yard field goal trailing 20-10. Longwell has made longer kicks in his career, but Sherman asked Longwell if it was makeable and Longwell said, ‘No.'

Is Longwell being honest or has he lost faith in holder B.J. Sander? Bottom line is the Packers needed points and because Longwell shook off Sherman, the Packers attempted a fourth-and-four play which resulted in an incomplete pass.

It's hard to believe Longwell couldn't have made that kick. In years past he would've trotted out there and tried.

But this sequence summarizes the Packers to date. They don't have what it takes to make a key play down the stretch of games. They have been competitive in every one of their losses, and easily should have more than one win.

Sherman said this team is playing hard, and it is. But a team which plays hard and loses can only be called one thing - bad.

The Packers are making errors the Super Bowl teams under Favre never did. This team lacks a lot of things right now and there's no way this team is good enough to resurrect this season.

At 1-7, 4-12 seems about as good as it can get, and that may be pushing it.

When asked about this season, Favre said, "One and seven is not acceptable, but it's reality."

The Packers have earned that record, and Sunday was just another example of why this season has gone the way it has.


Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.


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