The Green Bay Packers were a perennial winner for a long time under Mike McCarthy, but it appears like the extended honeymoon is finally over.
The frustration with the veteran coach has intensified over the past calendar year. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked as sharp as he has in years past and McCarthy’s once solid game management has made a sudden disappearance. It’s felt like the relationship between him and his quarterback has steadily cooled for the past couple of years. Being able to continue winning has kept the serious problems at bay.
Now here they are. The Packers missed the playoffs last season and despite having Rodgers all year long, they’re 4-5-1 and rank third in the NFC behind Chicago and Minnesota. It feels like one more loss would basically end their season and their next games is against the Vikings on the road. Green Bay is 0-5 now away from Lambeau Field after a crushing loss in Seattle. One where a series of McCarthy decision (or non-decisions) cost them the game.
Mike McCarthy made two critical mistakes that cost Packers the game
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There were a number of questionable calls in that game, but two stood out that were baffling. Both happened in the 4th quarter. The first was a failure to challenge a catch by Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett. The replay showed he clearly did not maintain possession of the ball through the process when hitting the ground. McCarthy didn’t risk it with one timeout left. Seattle scored a touchdown shortly afterward.
Then when the Packers had the ball and were driving, they bogged down on a 4th and 2 with four minutes to play. Rather than go for it with Rodgers at QB, McCarthy made the shocking decision to punt. This despite the fact that his defense was clearly tired and getting gouged by Russell Wilson at that point. Sure enough, the Seahawks gained two big first downs and ran out the clock.
There have been other mistake-filled games for McCarthy, but none with more on the line than this one. The general belief is he may survive the season but the Packers are likely to move on unless he can pull another rabbit out of his hat like he did in 2016. It’s asking a lot. The division is much stronger this time around and the roster isn’t as good.