The Green Bay Packers (1-2) are only three weeks into the NFL season, but this team has proven they can't finish football games. Both of the Packers losses have been by six points or less and opponents are outscoring the Packers 39-7 in the fourth quarter this season.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and the rest of the Packers coaching staff's message to the team in practice while preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) last week was to "finish". The message clearly didn't sink in, as the Packers blew a 16-point second-half lead and saw the Bengals score 20 unanswered points to shock the Packers at Paul Brown Stadium.
"Every week we have a message and frankly the message this week was to focus through the finish," McCarthy said. "But we didn't do that."
Since Aaron Rodgers took over as the Packers starting quarterback in 2008, the Packers are 18-22 in games decided by seven points or less. Dating back to last season, the Packers have lost three of their last four regular season games by an average differential of 4.3 points.
"We have examined it, but you have to be very careful with studies with a lot of different teams and circumstances," McCarthy said about the team's close games record. "Sunday's game was one of those different games from the way it started, the injuries, the officiating, there is a lot that goes on there. We feel we are very in tune with the things we need to work on and get better at. You can believe what you want to believe, but you have to stay in tune with the individuals, especially in a team sport."
McCarthy has been criticized by NFL pundits and fans regarding his decision to go for a 4th and inches play late in the fourth quarter with the Packers leading the Bengals by three points and in field goal range. McCarthy's play call backfired in the worst way possible though, as Packers rookie running back Johnathan Franklin fumbled the football and Bengals cornerback Terrence Newman returned the fumble 58 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Asked if he second-guessed himself before Franklin's fumble, McCarthy said he carries with him some words of wisdom from former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer. "I think anybody that has called plays in any sport, a really smart coach (Schottenheimer) told me once 'there are guys who second guess themselves and guys who lie about second guessing themselves'," McCarthy said. "I've learned to look at the conversation and what leads up to each call. That is how I deal with it."
When the Packers won Super Bowl XLV in 2010, the Packers finished 7-6 in games decided by seven points or less. In the playoffs, the Packers won three of their four playoff games by seven points or less and McCarthy said the 2010 team was a great example of what it takes to win in close games.
"There is a great study we did particularly about winning close games in relation to winning championships," McCarthy said. "Our 2010 path was an excellent illustration of what you need to overcome to get through those games and what exactly needs to be done to win a championship."
The bottom line is the Packers are 1-2 heading into the bye week, but McCarthy knows it is too early in the season to look ahead to December. "It's not encouraging, but I don't pay attention to it," McCarthy said. "I don't worry about the race in week three. We are focusing on the things we need to do better to win games."
"It is not ok that we are 1-2, but lets be realistic. We've played three games and we are going to build off of strengths. Our focus is being 1-0."
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy and Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis Prior Ties Keeps Them Close
- Green Bay Packers Mason Crosby Continues Struggles, Has Poor Family Night Scrimmage Outing
- Green Bay Packers Jermichael Finley Headlines a Deep Group of Tight Ends in 2013
- Green Bay Packers’ Shuffled Offensive Line Looks to Show Improvement in 2013
- Green Bay Packers Must Move Forward Without Bulaga into the 2013 Season
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/11d4