The Green Bay Packers (2-2) defeated the NFC North-rival Detroit Lions (3-2), 22-9 on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers won’t get away with a win in another game, however, if the offensive play-calling doesn’t improve.
Offensively, the Packers executed very well through the air and on the ground, as they nearly totaled 450 yards of offense against the Lions and failed to accumulate one turnover. The attack was balanced and the offensive line played a rather clean game, yet the Packers were only able to generate 22 points on the field.
With such great yardage numbers on Sunday, the Packers made fans remember that in football, it is not about the yards a team is able to gain but it’s about the amount of points a team is able to score. The Packers had two possessions in the red zone and failed to score a touchdown on both opportunities, as they had to settle for a pair of field goals.
Through four games this season, the Packers have scored touchdowns on 56.25 percent of their red zone opportunities (13th in NFL). In terms of rankings, it is not such a bad statistic, but in comparison to last season, the Packers have had a significant drop off in touchdown production in the red zone.
In 2012, the Packers’ offense was the best at scoring touchdowns in the red zone, as they scored touchdowns on 68.5 percent of their red zone possessions. In the last two games, though, including the Packers’ Week 3 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay is 2-for-6 in the red zone when it comes down to touchdown production.
Against the Lions, the Packers were 0-for-2 on third-and-one conversions. Instead of giving the football to rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who totaled 99 yards on 23 carries and only had one negative run against the Lions on Sunday, the Packers opted to pass on both attempts. Both passing attempts resulted in a pair of incompletions and followed up with a pair of fourth downs.
With the poor red zone and short-yardage production, the play-calling is definitely at fault and a cause for concern. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is responsible for calling the plays on the sideline, but he is not responsible for changing the call on the field.
McCarthy said on Monday he believes Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ strength is making calls on the field. Whether it is McCarthy or Rodgers making the crucial calls and decisions in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage, it must be improved by the time they face off against the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens next Sunday.
The Packers have the talent on offense to outscore any NFL opponent. It’s time to get back to normal in Green Bay and start scoring more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.