1. Terrible play calling. Let me tell you something about zone blocking. The idea behind zone blocking is creating cut-back lanes. The RB is supposed to make one cut, and then go forward. This works quite well if you do it right.
What does not work well is trying to pound a RB through the middle of a line (especially if that line excels at run-stuffing), by simply powering forward.
My problem with the play calling on the Packer's penultimate drive, which resulted in a field goal when they needed a touchdown, is not that they ran. The problem is HOW they ran.
Brandon Jackson had a great game (he's been better than Ryan Grant for a long time now) and he was instrumental in their rally today. Jackson is an excellent zone-block runner. He has good vision, he sees the lanes, and he has the speed to break long gains where available. On the goal line, what you want to do with Jackson is the same thing you want to do at the 50 yard line; isolate your blockers, see who can create a lane, and let Jackson find it.
Just because you're 2 inches away does not mean that you should stray from your fundamentals. In today's game, Jackson had carries o 24, -2 (also in a bunch formation), 2, 32, 3, 5, 1, 4, 5, 6, and 0 yards. That 0, and the subsequent run by Kuhn, were both from Power formations.
I've never understood this formation, as the field does not get any narrower as you get closer to the goal line, and the bunched formation takes all of that lateral space out of the equation. This only helps the defense.
Anyway, that series of play-calling was atrocious.
2. What was also atrocious was the run defense. Justin Harrell is supposed to be a run stuffer. Did he play today? I honestly don't know.
Injuries aren't helping, but the offense certainly played well enough to win today, however, at no point did I expect any Carolina RB to gain fewer than 5 yards.
Playoffs?! What are you talking about Playoffs? Playoffs? I mean...
It's really tough now, but still not impossible. Running the table against Texas, Jacksonville, Chicago, and Detroit is completely possible, and assuming that the Vikings win tonight, it's easy to imagine them losing to Atlanta, Arizona, and New York down the stretch. That said, everything will have to go right for the Pack. It's probably over, but maybe they can still make it interesting.
1 hour ago