Upon Further Review: Seattle 14 Green Bay 12
Yipes, stripes, the NFL needs to fix its officiating problem.
Before getting into what a review of the game tape showed, a thought about the officiating that cost the Packers the game Monday night. The NFL has been asking for trouble over this issue and it's high time it gets it. How does a league flush with cash get into an extended labor dispute with its officials?
I'm not saying lay over and play dead but the amount of money it would cost the league to reach an agreement is a pittance compared to what it generates. Crazy TV money gets even crazier with every new contract and you know who came out ahead in the latest CBA, the owners, that's who.
They feel real good about it, and while they'd never say it publicly, they feel like they were the winners in those negotiations. A league that prides itself on doing what's best for the game is doing anything but. With each week the evidence of the incompetence of the replacement officials mounts and instead of addressing that situation the NFL spends its time warning the coaches and players not to disrespect the poor excuses for officials that it has saddled them with.
And what about the fans, the NFL's customers it supposedly cares so much about? After watching a multi-billion dollar industry settle for not even second best, it's hard to argue with the premise that as long as people keep buying its product, the NFL really doesn't give a damn about them
Yours truly has covered Packer games since '88, and I've never gotten overly excited about the officiating, good or bad. It was always one of those situations where the breaks evened out over time. In the last 25 years I've never said the officials cost the Packers a game. Never. I am now, and with no hesitation what-so-ever.
The call on the final play of the game was wrong, but it was correctable. Not with the replacement refs, however, and then the league has the gall to defend the decision. Figure that one out. If there's anything good that can come out of the Packers loss that wasn't, it's the possibility that the embarrassment of it all will prompt the league to finally strike a deal with the "real" guys in stripes. It's long overdue.
Meanwhile, back on the field:
-What's with the 8 sacks in the 1st Half? It was equal opportunity. Individual offensive lineman getting beat, receivers not winning down field, and Aaron Rodgers not getting rid of the ball at times. Bryan Bulaga wasn't his normal self and the crowd noise seemed to affect him. He had to look inside to see when the ball was snapped and it seemed to affect the quality of his pass set.
-Tale of the Two Halves. The offense, thanks in large part to those 8 sacks, was lousy in the first half but another contributing factor was the running game, or lack thereof. Cedric Benson had 2 carries for 4 yards in the first 30 minutes of play. It's amazing how his production and the pass protection improved in the second half, and the main reason was Mike McCarthy calling 15 runs. There were a fair share of 4+ gainers in the group and rather than tee off the Seahawk defense had to hunker down and play the run.
-Beasty Boy. The Packers held Marshawn Lynch, who came in averaging 4.4 to 3.9 a try. They did it the old fashioned way, with good pad level, gap integrity and gang tackling. Also worth noting, Lynch's longest run was 9 yards, and that's impressive against a back of his caliber. Really liked the work of Ryan Pickett up front and at the next level, A.J. Hawk and Erik Walden also played active games.
-Player of the Week, my pick would be Sam Shields. He's covering, he's tackling, and that interference penalty was ridiculous, and that brings us full circle and back to the officials. Been there and done that. We'll be back Friday with a look ahead at the Saints game.