You’ll be able to put a fork in the Green Bay Packers season officially next Sunday night, but Thursday night’s performance showed once again that this team is fatally flawed and looks nothing like a team ready to compete with the league’s heavyweights.
Just a complete failure on all levels. The defense was so intent on not letting Derrick Henry gash them that they basically dared Ryan Tannehill to throw, and Joe Barry’s soft zone scheme made it look like he was playing catch in the backyard with his kids. Four different Tennessee Titans receivers caught passes of over 30 yards? I’ll bet you can’t even name four Titans receivers. Remember when Jaire Alexander was so good that the Packers gave him more money than any cornerback ever? His performance the last few weeks makes that investment look as shaky as pouring money into FTX.
And the one time the defense rose up and delivered a goal-line stand by stuffing Henry at the line of scrimmage, the anemic offense couldn’t even manage one first down. What could have been the turning point in a one-point game instead put the Titans back on the attack with the ball in Green Bay territory, and they quickly scored to increase the lead to eight at halftime.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers showed that this offense has no answers without a robust running game. Unlike the Dallas Cowboys, the Titans, despite missing three starters, take pride in stopping the run and made things difficult all night for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Rodgers was not up to the challenge of beating them through the air, even though Christian Watson followed up last week’s breakthrough performance with another strong game, not to mention Randall Cobb’s productive return.
Rodgers missed several critical throws in the second half to wide-open receivers. Whether it’s his thumb or whether he is in decline, he was unable to sustain drives down the stretch with the game in the balance and continues to take low-percentage deep shots on third and fourth down and short yardage situations. It also doesn’t help that Allen Lazard has looked nothing like a reliable No. 1 receiver all season — probably because he isn’t one.
The ugly truth is this Packers team looks nothing like a tough, hard-nosed, physical playoff team like the Titans. That starts with coaching and trickles down to the players. It’s so disappointing to say that in a year where there is no overwhelming, dominant team in the NFC.
There will be a bunch of new faces in the NFC playoffs this year. After Thursday night’s clunker, it’s safe to say the Packers won’t be joining them.