The Green Bay Packers suffered an incredibly frustrating loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week Two. Despite holding a 12-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the Packers offense did not pick up a single first down in the final period, and the defense was constantly gashed for big gains.
There was a great deal of mistakes that were made by the players on the field. Jaire Alexander, Quay Walker, and Darnell Savage all dropped would-be interceptions, and Alexander’s probably would have gone for a touchdown. Jordan Love played a fairly good game but was far from perfect. His botched play call on the would-be quarterback sneak is a glaring mistake.
AJ Dillon could not stay on his feet, and one of his missteps ended up with Elgton Jenkins spraining his knee.
Had any of these mistakes not been made, the outcome of the game would have been different. However, it is the job of the coaches to put their team in a position to win, even when the players struggle. Indeed, there were two major poor coaching decisions that ended up costing Green Bay the game.
1. Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Did Not Utilize Anders Carlson
On the opening play of the game, the Packers were able to take advantage of a 44-yard pass interference penalty against Atlanta to get into good field position. Unfortunately, the offense stalled, and Anders Carlson was sent out to kick a 51-yard field goal.
For whatever reason, the Packers could not get the ball snapped in time. A delay of game penalty pushed them back five yards. Instead of having Carlson attempt a 56-yard field, LaFleur sent the punt team out.
After the game, LaFleur said that a 56-yard attempt was too long. But that does not make much sense considering Carlson’s leg strength. In the Packers’ final preseason game, outside at Lambeau Field, Carlson made a 57-yard field goal with the wind going against him.
The 56-yard attempt on Sunday would have been in a dome. Carlson certainly could have made that kick.
And if LaFleur was so concerned about the length of the kick, why didn’t he call a timeout so that they could get the ball snapped in time for the 51-yard attempt?
In a game decided by one point, that clock mismanagement and decision stands out.
2. Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry’s Entire Gameplan
Everyone and their dearly departed loved ones knew the Falcons’ game plan on offense: run the ball. Despite having a week to prepare for a heavy running attack, Barry’s defense gave up 211 yards on the ground and another 235 through the air.
Giving up 446 total yards is not going to win many games. What was most frustrating is that, after a Week One display that saw the Packers’ defense in different looks and playing better than they had in years, they looked like the 2022 Green Bay defense that couldn’t stop a stone from breaking through a wet paper bag.
But specifically, why did Barry have linebacker De’Vondre Campbell lineup 10 yards off the line of scrimmage in coverage against Falcons running back Bijan Robinson on a third and three play? Of course, it was an easy first-down conversion for Atlanta.
Why does he scheme things like this? What did he think would happen?
These are questions Packers fans have been asking since Barry was hired, and it looks like they’ll be asking them again all season.