Black and Blue all over: Packers forget to pass

December, 23, 2008
12/23/08
8:45
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

We spent most of our postgame time in Chicago's locker room Monday night, but Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hit on a Green Bay point I was wondering about during the game.

Namely: Why, after attacking the Bears all evening with their passing game, did the Packers use three consecutive running plays prior to Mason Crosby's ill-fated 38-yard field goal in the fourth quarter?

The plays netted four yards, moving the ball from the Bears' 24-yard line to the 20. It was another example of late-game caution from the Packers' otherwise aggressive coach, Mike McCarthy. After watching Crosby botch a 46-yarder earlier in the game, how comfortable could McCarthy have been with a 38-yard attempt?

Silverstein questions whether McCarthy went conservative or lost faith in quarterback Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy responded that he has "full confidence" in Rodgers and added:

"I have no problem calling any pass play. I think it was evident from the way we threw the ball down the field. I thought we played aggressive. I thought we played to win."

If anything, I think McCarthy is guilty of underestimating the degree of difficulty on field goals. Last month, he played for a 52-yard attempt against Minnesota. Crosby missed that long-distance kick, which would have given the Packers a last-second victory. Monday night's conditions at Soldier Field, meanwhile, dictated that no distance was a sure bet.

We'll touch on this topic later Tuesday. For now, let's take a morning spin around the division:

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Of all the gut-wrenching losses the Packers have endured in a pitiful 5-10 season, their 20-17 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears Monday night at Soldier Field might be the most repulsive and bitter of them all."
  • Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I'm still not even sure what [the Bears] just did. But they're not done."
  • Minnesota coaches preach ball security in every practice, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. The team still fumbled seven times in Sunday's 24-17 loss to Atlanta.
  • Former Vikings tailback Robert Smith's evaluation of tailback Adrian Peterson, who has fumbled eight times this season: "He just wasn't holding it tight." Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains.
  • In case you missed it Monday, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin won't reveal his plans for playing starters in Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  • John Niyo of the Detroit News looks at the blessing and curse of having the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which the Lions have clinched.

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