All tied up in thoughts on Packers-Vikings
Jay Hodgson, Packers contributor
Eddie Lacy. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday's game between the Vikings and the Packers ended in a tie, which leaves an unresolved feeling. It wasn’t quite a win, but it wasn’t quite a loss, either.
What should we make of the game?
The Twitterverse and Facebook world blew up last night with all sorts of opinions, insights, and second-guessing.
Here are a few of my thoughts I have stemming from this tie ballgame, which may address some popular opinions floating about:
The 2 Point Conversion Question
I do not second-guess Mike McCarthy’s decision to attempt the two point conversion in the fourth quarter.
You have to remember, at that point, he was playing with house money. He was down by 10 points while playing the fourth quarterback in just as many weeks. The Packers may not have had many other opportunities to move the ball.
Also, the failure of the conversion may have caused the tie, but it may have prevented a loss.
Had the Vikings been down by 2 points, they would have played a different game strategy. They’d be more likely to go for it on fourth down rather than punt. With the Packers’ defense being leaky lately, the Vikings may have gained those first downs and scored game-winning points.
He made the right call, and it was aggressive. I’ll always side with aggressive game strategy.
McCarthy’s aggression made the Vikings become more conservative; the Packers were playing to win and the Vikings were playing to not lose. In that sense, a tie is what each team deserves. You could call it a detente of sorts.
On the Matters of a Tie Ballgame
I am in favor of NFL games ending after one complete overtime period, even if that means the game is tied. While college games cannot end in a tie, I think the NFL is right to allow it.
Right now, the NFL is being dominated by talks of player safety. The big hot button is brain injuries, but the NFL also has to be concerned with minimizing other injuries. How many times have we heard the words “hamstring pull” or “groin pull” this season?
The answer is a lot.
So, if the NFL is truly serious about emphasizing playing safety, they have to allow games to end in a tie. Fatigue and bodily wear and tear are real, and they are cumulative. Forcing players to play another overtime period can lead to more injuries.
While the fans don’t want to see a tie, I think they’d like to see their favorite players on the field during the next week a lot more.
Along the lines of a tie, it is inexcusable that players do not know that the game can end in a tie. Remember the infamous Donovan McNabb blunder from a few years back?
There have been reports that a few Packers players also did not know the game can end in a tie.
I’m not sure if this falls on the coaching staff, but there is clearly a disconnect here. These are professional athletes. They have one job in life, and it’s to play football. They should have read the entire rulebook from cover to cover.
The head coach should make each player accountable for knowing all the rules.
The Quarterback Turnstile
The Packers, and Packers fans, have lived a spoiled life since 1992 by only starting four quarterbacks before this season.
Don Majkowski gave way to Brett Favre, who handed off to Aaron Rodgers, and then Matt Flynn was called upon twice.
This season, the Packers have played four quarterbacks in just as many weeks: Aaron Rodgers, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn.
Welcome to the reality of the NFL. We are finally feeling what the other 31 teams have experienced time and time again.
Being a successful quarterback in the NFL is an extremely tough task. Finding one to put on your roster is also very difficult. It’s not an exact science, and personnel departments are going to get it wrong from time to time.
We can second-guess Ted Thompson about the quarterback situation until the cows come home. However, it does us no good.
But, we can now make three very important conclusions.
First, he finally got it right with Matt Flynn in the house. His off-the-bench heroics show that, and it’s better late than never.
Second, Scott Tolzien has talent. He is rough and raw, but he has potential. He was on another team not too long ago, and he was running the Packers’ scout team just a few weeks ago. He needs to develop and become familiar with the Packers’ offense.
He has a future in the NFL, and I believe he has one with the Packers. I like him.
Third, Aaron Rodgers is the Packers’ most valuable player. With him, the Packers were 5-2. Without him, they are 0-3-1.
He doesn’t play defense, but when the offense is ahead, it allows the defense to play downhill. He makes the entire team better, and the Packers hit the lottery jackpot when they drafted him.
When he returns from injury, the Packers will improve on both offense and defense. With the NFC North still being wide open, there’s always hope.