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Packers looking for answers to 4th-quarter woes

Nov. 11, 2013
 
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy walks off the field after Sunday's 27-13 loss to Philadelphia at Lambeau Field. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy walks off the field after Sunday's 27-13 loss to Philadelphia at Lambeau Field. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

The “recurring issue” Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was referring to following Sunday’s 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles had to do with the team’s performance in the fourth quarter of games.

McCarthy declined to go into specifics immediately after the loss, but said there was “something” he needed to fix. During his Monday news conference, McCarthy revealed the team’s continued struggles in the fourth quarter were the impetus for his mandate.

He didn’t specify whether it was the offensive or defensive side of the ball, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers said the fact the Packers’ defense again struggled to get off the field was disconcerting.

A week after Chicago drained 8 minutes, 58 seconds off the clock in the waning moments of a 27-20 Packers’ loss, the Eagles’ offense took over the ball with 9:32 left in regulation and never relinquished possession.

The Packers were already trailing 27-13 at that point, but it certainly put Philadelphia’s win on ice.

“What I’m disappointed in, and it’s gone on all year is our fourth-quarter performance,” said McCarthy, whose team is being outscored 83-46 in the fourth quarter at the season’s halfway point

“We’re not playing our best football when it counts. I’m obviously frustrated with it. We’ll continue to, we don’t have a drill for it, particularly on Mondays, but it’s something we’ve been emphasizing and to see it happen again (Sunday) is obviously disappointing and frustrating.”

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles proved effective against the Packers, completing 12-of-18 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns for a near-perfect 149.3 quarterback rating. More than half of that production came off over-the-top touchdown passes to DeSean Jackson (55 yards) and Riley Cooper (45, 32).

Philadelphia finished the game by running the ball 15 of the 16 plays for 67 yards during its final series to drain the clock. During that drive, running back LeSean McCoy tallied 50 of his 155 rushing yards after gaining only 147 on the ground over his last three games.

“We’ve certainly tried to address it,” said Capers of the fourth-quarter issues. “I can just tell you this: In the last two weeks, we’ve had third-down situation – third-and-9 a week ago and third-and-8 yesterday – and we missed tackles on both those situations. You come down, you’ve got to make those plays. If you’ve got legitimate shots to get a guy on the ground, you’ve got to get him on the ground. And we haven’t done it.

“You let them line up again, get three or four more shots, that’s a lot of time off the clock.”

The Packers aren’t planning any big defensive overhauls. M.D. Jennings will continue to work across from Morgan Burnett in the safety package with Capers adding he “wouldn't read too much into” backup rookie Chris Banjo’s 11 relief snaps.

Jennings was one of the culprit’s the Eagles’ second touchdown – the 45-yard touchdown to Cooper – when DeSean Jackson came across the middle to draw Jennings up, allowing Cooper to beat Davon House and get behind Jennings’ coverage.

“They’re going to take their shots,” Capers said. “As you see, they’ve got a running back (McCoy) there who’s going to get a lot of attention running the ball, he’s a guy that a couple times we had people in position and quite frankly, he just juked us and we missed.

“And then the next thing they’re going to do is they’re going to play-fake to him and throw the ball over the top and they’ve got a couple speed guys, namely Jackson, who can run by you if you’re not careful.”

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