The Packers Lost, Not the Referees

As recently as yesterday afternoon, I used to think, "Man, I love these replacement refs. It's hilarious to watch them screw up call after call and look like idiots." I even researched Replacement Ref Fantasy Leagues I enjoyed watching them so much. It was more entertaining than some of the actual games they were officiating. But there was this part of my brain that kept saying, "It's not going to be funny at all when the time comes where they actually cost someone a game, because it will happen, and it could go against the Packers." I just think things like that will happen to my team because I have that kind of luck. I tried to ignore  it, thinking, "The chances of that happening in a Packer game when there are 15 other games a week for 17 weeks is slim to none, there's no way that will really happen." Now, I don't even know what to say.

The Packers didn't deserve to win that game last night because they played like crap. I have to say that. But they didn't deserve to lose it because of piss-poor officiating, either. The entire fourth quarter was the worst job of officiating I think I've ever seen. From Erik Walden's invisible roughing the passer call to Sam Shields getting raped and somehow being called for defensive pass interference to the offensive pass interference by Golden Tate on the last play or the ridiculous call on the catch. All these calls were just mind-blowingly bad. These replacement refs clearly have to go, it's an embarassment to the NFL. When they're arguing for less than $100,000 per team and the NFL makes hundreds of billions of dollars a year, why aren't we giving them the money? And don't blame Roger Goodell, either. He works for the owners of the 32 NFL teams (The Packers, ironically after what happened last night, are the only team without an owner). And the most pathetic part of all? Last night Wont. Change. A. Thing.

All that being said, the Packers offense didn't play well enough to win, and we can't forget about that. They just didn't. The offensive line couldn't block, Rodgers held onto the ball way too long, and we were too one dimensional. McCarthy refused to call a running play for the almost the entire first half. Literally. We had 3 called running plays in the entire first half. Three. What do you think is going to happen when you drop back in the shotgun with 4 or 5 wide receivers every single play? The defense is going to come after the quarterback, because they know there's no chance in hell you're going to run the football. McCarthy even admitted he should have made adjustments sooner. Hindsight's 20/20, huh Coach? It was the most terribly called offensive first half I've ever seen by a coach. In order to slow down a pass rush, you have to throw screen passes (which clearly weren't working, ask Randall Cobb) or run the ball. Then, in the second half, he finally did make adjustments and we ran the ball down their throats on that first drive. We were going for 4 or 5 yards a pop every single play. What does he do then? Goes back to throwing the ball like it never happened. For the life of me, I don't understand it. He can't help himself and it's costing us.

The refs screwed us over, no doubt. I just don't want Packer fans to sound like a bunch of babies all week, whining about how unfair it was that we didn't win. If we played better for the 59:52 before that final play, we would have. And what can we do, anyway? It sucks, but it happened and there's nothing any of us can do to fix it. Boycotting the NFL isn't going to change anything, and people aren't going to do it. As Packer fans, we need to stop pouting like a bunch of two year olds and go out an support our team. Make the G-Force even louder at the Saints game this Sunday. Make Lambeau rock even more than it usually does. Yell at Drew Brees as he's changing the play until your throat hurts. Be an even better fan than you were before last night, because you can bet the players are already thinking about how they can do the same thing.

A few additional things that are getting lost in the outrage of this game:
  • If this game takes place in Green Bay, I'd bet a ridiculous sum of money that that call is an interception. The NFL will deny it, but the crowd has a ton to do with what these replacement refs are doing every week. That's not a touchdown if they're in Green Bay.
  • The Packer offense has looked downright bad in their last 4 games dating back to the Giants loss in the playoffs last year. The most points we've scored in that span? 23. Last year, we were averaging almost 40 points a game. Add in 7 turnovers, when one of our strengths has been the fact that we didn't turn the ball over. This year, we're only converting on 3rd down 40% of the time, as opposed to almost 50% last year. In the red zone, we're only scoring touchdowns 57% of the time, when last year we were above 65%. We're just not as good. Our receivers can't get separation and our offensive line can't block. A game plan has clearly developed to stop our offense: bump and run, man-to-man coverage with 2 deep safeties and get after Rodgers with the front four. I don't even know if defenses prepare for the run against us, anymore. And McCarthy, who's supposed to be some kind of offensive/play calling genius, can't seem to adjust to it. Like at all. RUN THE DAMN FOOTBALL.
  • Our worst offensive down and distance? 3rd or 4th and 1. It's supposed to be the easiest thing for an offense to do in football, but we can't gain one single, solitary yard when we need it. You can't win a Super Bowl like that, it's not going to happen. Granted, when your only 2 calls in that situation are run up the middle with Kuhn or line up in the shotgun with 5 wide receivers, you're making it ten times harder on yourself. Again, RUN THE DAMN FOOTBALL.
  • We're an overrated team at this point. Our offense isn't what it was, but we're still waiting for them somehow, magically snap out of it. That doesn't happen. We need to change what we're doing, because we're pounding our head against the wall over and over by running the same offense. Teams have changed their approach against us, so why aren't we changing ours in response?
These are the things we should be concerned about, not the referees.

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