There were only two games in the NFL this weekend, but they were big ones. And in one, a whole lot of stupid happened. Here’s a fairly full version of “This weekend in NFL stupid,” thanks mainly to Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers.
The stupidest fourth-down decision
This goes to Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers for attempting an 18-yard field goal rather than going for it on 4th-and-goal from about 18 inches out in the first quarter against Seattle.
Notwithstanding the obvious factors — Eddie Lacy is your running back and you can’t afford not to build a lead against the Seahawks in Seattle — the simple math indicates you’re insane not to go for it here. What was the worst that could have happened? You give them the ball on their own one-foot line?
The second-stupidest fourth-down decision
This goes to Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers for attempting a 19-yard field goal rather than going for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the very next drive.
Same stupidity, except in this case they had run the ball three times for 17 yards earlier in that possession.
The third-stupidest fourth-down decision
This goes to Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers for attempting a 40-yard field goal rather than going for it on 4th-and-1 from the 22-yard line later in the first half.
They weren’t as close this time, but you just can’t afford to be that conservative when you’re playing the defending champions in their house, especially with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. But this looks particularly bad combined with the previous play, where McCarthy ran it on a 3rd-and-3. Just no guts.
The stupidest offensive sequence
This goes to — you guessed it — Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers for inexplicably moving his team into the prevent offense as it tried to salvage a victory in the fourth quarter in Seattle.
In an attempt to merely survive and run the clock, the Packers seemed satisfied with consecutive three-and-outs in the fourth quarter. On those six plays, they ran five times, allowing the highest-rated passer in NFL history to throw just a single five-yard pass in an obvious passing situation. They were content with back-to-back handoffs even after a four-yard loss on 1st-and-10 to start the second drive.
Against the Cowboys last week, McCarthy let Rodgers put the game away with big throws, including two on consecutive third-down plays with the Packers protecting a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter. This time, he clammed. And that combined with some wimpy first-half play-calling is why Green Bay isn’t in the Super Bowl. This was one of the worst-coached games I’ve ever seen.
A side note: Packers who, despite what you’re being told, aren’t stupid
1. Morgan Burnett. A lot of folks thought he could have gone to the house following a fourth-quarter interception, which would have put that game away. But imagine what would have happened had Burnett fumbled? He intercepted a pass with five minutes left in a game which his team led by 12 points. The right move, especially with an offense that good, is to slide. And that’s exactly what Burnett did. I can make an exception if you have a clear path to the end zone, but Burnett still had a ton of Seahawks in front of him. He made the right call. It’s not his fault his team botched everything else.
2. Brandon Bostick. He’s a goat for mishandling Seattle’s onside kick in the final minutes, but not for attempting to catch it. Yes, Bostick dove in front of wide receiver Jordy Nelson, but don’t tell me there was another option in that moment. Hindsight is one thing, but the ball was coming right at Bostick, as were 11 Seahawks players. Did anyone really expect him to just assume Nelson was in perfect position and move out of the way here?
The stupidest defensive decision
This actually doesn’t go to Mike McCarthy. Instead, the Colts deserve heat for watching everything New England did with eligible offensive linemen last week and still failing to cover Nate Solder on this touchdown: