Report card vs. Jets

Failing grades for coaching, rush defense in loss to Jets

Running backs Noah Herron (seven catches for 51 yards), Ahman Green (four for 38) and Vernand Morency (three for 43) were Green Bay's top receivers. Enough said about another lackluster performance via the air.

The first series was a foreshadowing of how bad it would get. Brett Favre somehow avoided a sack by flipping the ball to tight end Bubba Franks in the pocket. Two plays later, Favre wasn't so fortunate on a hit from behind by Bryan Thomas, resulting in the first of three turnovers by the suddenly mistake-prone quarterback.

Favre was all over the place with his throws amid blustery conditions and completed barely half of them, finishing 24-of-47 for all of 214 yards. He was intercepted twice, giving him five in the last two games. For the first time in his otherwise brilliant career, he's endured three straight games with a passer rating below 60.

Favre is clearly frustrated with how things have unraveled in recent weeks, and it appears that the only receiver he trusts to make a catch is Donald Driver, who continued to draw blanket coverage and had only three receptions for 41 yards, though he broke loose for a 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Forced to do more with less, Green had perhaps his most efficient performance of the season. The running game again took a backseat in the initial game plan, even before the 31-0 halftime lead the Jets were spotted dictated a heavy diet of passing. Of the 70 offensive plays, only 20 were runs, not including three scrambles by Favre.

Green still managed to snap out of a three-game funk without a 100-yard game by piling up 102 in 14 carries for a season-best average of 7.3 yards per rush. He ran hard and often plowed through the line when expected holes on the back side weren't there. Throw in Favre's 33 yards when he pulled the ball down, and the Packers banged out a sizable 149 yards in limited opportunities to run.

Hey, at least Charles Woodson and Patrick Dendy did something worthwhile with interceptions in the third quarter. Before then, however, Chad Pennington and Co. had the whole Lambeau Field terrain to themselves for most of an unbelievable first 30 minutes.

If it wasn't common knowledge through 11 games of abominable play, head coach Mike McCarthy let the league know just how bad the coverage is after this game with a stinging indictment that Pennington was playing "pitch and catch" with his receivers. He completed 22 of 29 throws for 241 yards to eight different receivers -- just in the first half!

The Jets' perfect blend of motions, shifts and occasional no-huddle compounded the confused stupor in which the back end of the defense has been from the start of the season. Injured middle linebacker Nick Barnett, who wore a big club to protect his broken right hand, and free safety Nick Collins, who played with a sore knee and hamstring, were liabilities in coverage.

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila made a rare play of note with a pressure of Pennington from behind to force the fluttering ball that Dendy intercepted. Still, the Packers didn't sack Pennington.

What had been the saving grace for the defense for much of the season has begun to regress to the horrid depths of the pass coverage. After surrendering 235 yards to Shaun Alexander-led Seattle six days earlier, the Jets' sub-par rushing attack awakened with 178 for a healthy per-carry average of 5.7 yards.

Cedric Houston (22 carries, 105 yards) joined Alexander as the only two backs to crack the 100-yard barrier against Green Bay this season, finding similar creases to his liking because of defensive overpursuit. Leon Washington was as effective with limited touches, averaging 5.7 yards in seven carries, including a 20-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to punctuate the rout.

Punter Jon Ryan deserves kudos for suiting up two days after losing his father to cancer, to say nothing of stepping on the field and knocking two solid kicks in the face of strong winds. The Jets didn't have any return yardage.

Aside from Ryan's courageous performance and a fortuitous touch by a Jets player on a third-quarter onside kick that didn't go 10 yards, problems persisted.

Rayner is learning on the fly with the late-season conditions at Lambeau and had a 40-yard field-goal attempt sail wide right at the last moment. He also had to make his fourth tackle on a long kickoff return (45 yards by Justin Miller) in the last two games. The Packers countered with an average of but 17.7 yards on their kickoff returns. Thanks to New York's offensive juggernaut, there was only one punt to be had.

The paying boo birds that descended on Lambeau by the end of the first quarter have a right to be upset. What was shaping up to be a promising second half of the season for McCarthy in his rookie season is on the verge of rivaling last season's 4-12 meltdown. The team has been blown out at home three times this season, including the last two outings when it was outscored 52-0 by New England and the Jets in just the first half.

There's little pizzazz with McCarthy's offense, especially when he backs off on his commitment to the running game. As for the defense, the possibility of the unit having a fifth coordinator in as many years next season increases with each passing week. Bob Sanders inexplicably didn't make the no-brainer move to put pressure on Pennington in the first half.

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