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Packers bring home awful report card

Nov. 6, 2013 11:15 AM
 
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USA Today handed out its weekly team grades to the Packers, and it wasn't pretty. This is the kind of report card that would get a school kid grounded. There's a lot of 'D's, along with one big fat 'F' to the Packers' coaching staff. PASSING OFFENSE: D The lethargic Packers had to count on sparingly used backup quarterback Matt Flynn to deliver a victory after Aaron Rodgers was knocked out with a concussion late in the first half. Flynn, though, overthrew a diving Greg Jennings in the end zone on a 31-yard throw on fourth-and-1 with less than a minute to play. Flynn's most extensive action in his three-year career was more bad than good (15-of-26 accuracy), though he did throw for 177 yards and led the offense on one scoring drive. He also misfired on a pass to Donald Driver over the middle on the play preceding the potential game-winner to Jennings that went awry. Flynn's most egregious mistake came when he failed to see linebacker DeAndre Levy drop underneath and pick off a would-be 9-yard touchdown to Driver in the third quarter with the Packers up 3-0. RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus Rodgers suffered his head injury at the end of an 18-yard scramble when he chose to not slide after picking up the first down on a second-and-5 play. His 25 yards and 10 from Flynn, who converted a third-and-10 play with a 12-yard keeper, accounted for more than half of Green Bay's anemic 66 rushing yards. The Packers averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. PASS DEFENSE: B Lions third-stringer Drew Stanton was erratic throwing the football, going just 10-of-22 for 117 yards and compiling an awful passer rating of 39.4, thanks in part to two first-half interceptions. Cornerback Tramon Williams had an easy pick in the end zone on an ill-advised deep ball, and safety Charlie Peprah also received a gift on a bad overthrow along the sideline. Yet, Stanton came through with a couple clutch throws on third down and then capped the decisive 12-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter with a screen pass that tight end Will Heller turned into a 13-yard touchdown. Linebacker Desmond Bishop and safety Nick Collins had bad pursuit on the game-winner. RUSH DEFENSE: D Green Bay's front seven was repeatedly pushed around and on their heels as the Lions masterfully ran the football with seven different players and gashed the Packers for 190 yards. That nearly eclipsed the season-high 196 yards surrendered by Green Bay in the Week 7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus First-year punter Tim Masthay had a career-best day with eight punts for 50.5 yards (net of 43.4) and a long of 62. Masthay, though, spoiled a strong start with two poor hits late in the game. The coverage units held the dynamic Logan in check for most of the game on kickoff (27.5 average) and punt (9.3 average) returns, but he ran back one kickoff for 35 yards. COACHING: F Head coach Mike McCarthy and staff may have cost the Packers postseason football by not having the team ready to play against an inferior opponent and, to make matters worse, taking a loss against a 2-10 division opponent that Green Bay couldn't afford to trip up against in the final month of the season. Sunday's performance by the Packers was abominable, right down to McCarthy's play call to have the inexperienced Flynn try to throw a long touch pass to Jennings in the end zone on fourth-and-1 when Green Bay had a minute of game clock and two timeouts left. Although it's debatable whether he would have prevailed, McCarthy should have heeded the on-field plea of Jennings and thrown the red flag to challenge a diving catch by the receiver in the end zone that was ruled incomplete on third down the Packers subsequently settled for a field goal for their lone points.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.
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