This wasn't the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins or Arizona Cardinals. This was the BIG BOYS, the New England Patriots. Their coaches know how to coach and the players know how to play. They took apart the Green Bay Packers in every aspect.
I expected the Patriots to win, but I didn't expect the Packers to not put up a fight. They looked like young kids looking for an autograph, like they were in awe or something. It looked like they never had a chance and that bothered me. It was as if they came in expecting to lose. It was like they were playing and coaching scared, so let me further explain!!!!
Mike McCarthy and the offensive staff looked like they had no game plan to start with, or I just question how they came out of the shoot. Against a team like the Pats that has an incredible offense the best way to keep their offense off the field is ball control. Ball control isn't coming out in the first series and passing the ball three straight times to start the game. Talk about setting the tempo. It's as if the coaching staff didn't realize that this was Bill Belichick on the other sideline, one of the best coaches in the business, and by trying to throw the ball the Packers played right into his hands.
It was like Mike McCarthy out-coached himself. If he is going to call himself a running coach then it's about time to do it, and do it at the right time, like the start of the game. It's amazing that against a team like the Dolphins he tried a reverse on 4th and 1, but in the biggest game of his career he does nothing - no screens, draws - nothing to help the offense.
Just like the players played as if the game was too big for them, so did the coaches especially on offense. Belichick took Donald Driver out of the game by sometimes using two or three people on him, and they did it very early. The offensive staff did nothing to adjust. The other thing that really made me question what the coaches were doing was on third downs. I didn't understand why on third and short, two to four yards, which happened several times, why did they empty the backfield? It took away any run-pass options. Then why in the same situation when they only needed four to five yards did they go for 20? What happened to just moving the chains? Why not when they needed three yards, run a pass pattern to get three yards?
Also, I don't like the way they the coaches threw Aaron Rodgers under the bus. I thought they could have handled that better by calling a better game plan with him as if the game was just starting. What about building some confidence in the heir apparent instead of having him try a deep out on third and 20 - the hardest throw in football - on his first play. A screen would have been nice!!!!!!!
Defensively there wasn't much Bob Sanders could do because the Patriots had an answer for everything, especially when it came to attacking Tom Brady. With Brady they had to pick their poison. When they tired blitzing, Brady would simply get rid of the ball quickly or slide away from trouble. They even tried a couple fire zone blitzes which means blitzing one side then dropping the other side and they did that several times dropping Kabeer into pass protection, which was a different look, but that had no effect. Then when they didn't blitz and gave Brady all day to throw he just picked them apart like a surgeon, which allowed the Pats offense to find the mismatches, like Marquand Manuel or Brady Poppinga in coverage. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place!!!!!
Hopefully Brett's injury isn't very serious, but before he got hurt he looked horrible. He couldn't hit the side of the barn. This game was billed as Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre and someone forgot to tell Brett to show up. Even though the offensive line struggled, he missed wide open guys. I know everyone wants to give him the excuses because he had some nagging injuries, but so what? Everyone has nagging injuries at this time of the year.
I don't think the offensive line was really allowed to establish the run. When they needed to run, they didn't, and that comes down to play-calling. Also when it came to pass protection, besides the offensive line, Ahman Green got beat twice on pickups, which added to the pressure the quarterbacks faced. Don't get me wrong, the offensive line did get abused whether it was trying to establish the run or when it came to pass protection. Also, I was really surprised that Troy Brown could stick with Donald Driver the way he did all over the field.
There was nothing that this offense did that is worthy of talking about, except that this was the first game that I could remember that in the first half there were more punts than completions.
Even though there wasn't the usual missed communication between safeties and the corners, we all witness what we already new was true and that's the fact that Marquand Manuel is a liability as a cover guy. What Reche Caldwell did to him should be against the law. It looked that bad. And when they did get some pressure on Tom Brady another holding penalty on Al Harris was a costly surprise!!
When Bob Sanders did call a blitz, they had to get to the quarterback and they didn't. Aaron Kampman isn't sneaking up on anyone any more and that's no sacks in two weeks. As for Nick Barnett, it happens to everyone that plays defense sooner or later - you will get faked out of your jock. I just wish it wasn't as bad as it was when he was trying to tackle Laurence Maroney, who scored an easy touchdown.
Don't get me wrong, there were some nice efforts, but reality is reality. When a team gets beat 35-0 there aren't a whole bunch of bright spots.
With everything said this just was a horrible game from everyone involved with the Packers, from the coaches to the players. The play-calling stunk, execution stunk, and they looked as if this game was too big for them, as if they were deer caught in headlights. Even though they might not be good enough to compete, AT LEAST SHOW UP!!!!!!!!
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.