How many times have we said that you can't turn the ball over multiple times and expect to win in the NFL? Right out of the box, there were five solid reasons why the Packers lost to the Eagles. Three fumbles and two interceptions. With a roster so depleted by injuries, the Packers have virtually no margin for error and on Sunday they made a boatload of errors. The result was another depressing defeat.
To be perfectly honest, I thought the Packers had a very good chance to win this game. My biggest question was how they were going to react after their disheartening loss to the Vikings on Monday Night. Would it affect the way they came out and prepared the entire week in practice? Would they be flat against Philly? The loss took a lot of wind out of Green Bay's sails, especially coming on the heels of such an impressive victory over the Atlanta Falcons the previous week. After watching the first half against the Eagles, it was obvious that the Monday Night loss had taken a big toll.
The Packers were struggling on offense. The passing game wasn't effective and Brett Favre didn't play particularly well. He was 1 for10 passing at one point and that hadn't happened all year. I'm not saying it was all his fault but he didn't look as sharp as he has in other games. Surprisingly, the Packers were able to run the ball in the first half with Samkon Gado leading the way with over 100 yards. But it seems like the halftime adjustments that opponents are making are really killing the Packers for whatever reason and Green Bay's play drops off in the second half.
Yes, Brett didn't have one of his better games but there were several instances where his receivers didn't do him any favors. Robert Ferguson, in particular, had a couple of opportunities to make some big time catches. On one play, he didn't make the right adjustment on a fade route up the sidelines. Granted, it wasn't a great throw but had he turned around he might have been able to make the play. On another similar play, he let the ball go off his fingertips. If Brett is not absolutely perfect he just doesn't have the help he needs to get the job done. The receivers need to step up and make some things happen. The Eagles did a nice job of taking Donald Driver away for most of the game and it was just tough going from the quarterback's point of view. That was really the first time all year that the passing game was that inconsistent.
Let's not forget that the Eagles also came into this game with a ton of injuries and off-the-field issues. No Donovan McNabb. No Terrell Owens. A makeshift offensive line. No Lito Sheppard. Philly had a lot of replacement players in the lineup but they really made up for it with Brian Westbrook and the running game. Their rushing attack controlled the game in a way they hadn't been able to do all year. That really helped Mike McMahon, a quarterback who really hasn't played very much. McMahon was certainly no world beater Sunday. He played a very average game, if that, passing for only 91 yards. Unfortunately for Green Bay, McMahon was able to direct a few decent drives. He used his athletic ability, scrambled to make some plays and he had the good fortune of having Brian Westbrook revive their rushing attack.
The Packers defense gave up just one touchdown but Philly was able to pile up four field goals. Overall, though, I thought Green Bay's defense did an adequate job. There were some missed tackles but they held the big plays to a minimum. When you have five turnovers over the course of a game, you're not going to beat anybody. Two of those turnovers led to 10 easy points for the Eagles. Frankly, I can't remember a game where a team fumbled on two kickoffs in the same game but the Packers let it happen and they paid a very heavy price for it. Philly got outstanding field position and they cashed in.
The Packers are now assured of having their first losing season of the Brett Favre era. That's something that Packer fans are certainly not used to but it's something that they're going to have to accept. Nobody can stay on top and produce winning seasons forever. But I don't see the Packers giving up. Every NFL game is worth winning regardless of the circumstances. This week the Packers will have plenty of incentive - it's Bear Week. This is a huge rivalry and historically it's one of the best in all of football. Chicago is riding high right now and, no doubt, the Bears are eagerly awaiting their chance to kick the Packers while they're down. The Packers have an opportunity to play spoiler and do some damage to the Bears' aspirations for the best record in the NFC. Packers-Bears games are always fun to watch and this one should be no different.
Don "Majik" Majkowski was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame earlier this year. His career for the Packers spanned six seasons (1987-92), including being named to the Pro Bowl in 1989 when he led the NFL in passing yards. In addition to his duties with Packers.com, Majik provides football analysis for WSSP-AM, SportsRadio 1250 in Milwaukee, WDUZ SportsRadio 107.5 & 1400 The Fan in Green Bay, WTSO - ESPN 1070 in Madison, WDEZ in Wausau, and WIZD in Stevens Point. Visit Majik's Web site, www.majiknetwork.net, for more information.