Packers continue penalty-prone ways under McCarthy
Even for a team that’s no stranger to flying yellow flags, this
was a low point.
The Green Bay Packers were penalized an eye-popping 18 times in
Monday night’s 20-17 loss at Chicago, setting a dubious franchise
record. The penalties directly affected the game, wiping out a
potential touchdown and two possible interceptions in the second
Since Mike McCarthy took over as coach in 2006, the Packers have
become one of the NFL’s most frequently penalized teams. And after
a miserable Monday night, the problem doesn’t appear to be
”We’ll take a look at the film, but (18) penalties, that
doesn’t cut it,” McCarthy said after the game. ”You can’t play
football like that, so we need to evaluate that and apply that to
our preparation for Detroit.”
The Packers came into this season embracing Super Bowl
expectations, but showed plenty of flaws Monday night.
Their special teams units still look like liabilities; they gave
up a punt return for a touchdown by Chicago’s Devin Hester; new
punter Tim Masthay was shaky; and a field goal was blocked.
The Packers also showed for the second consecutive week that
they might not be able to run the ball without Ryan Grant, who is
out for the season. The Packers had 63 yards rushing Monday night,
getting 20 of those yards from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Brandon
Jackson, the player expected to replace Grant, had seven carries
for 12 yards.
Without all the penalties, the Packers might have been able to
overcome their other problems.
”I don’t think, overall, we are a totally undisciplined team,”
linebacker Nick Barnett said after the game. ”But we had some
undisciplined plays out there. I’m not going to say I agree with
every call out there, but bottom line is, we’ve got to clean those
Rodgers said it was ”uncharacteristic” for the Packers.
Statistics tell a different story.
Although the Packers have had plenty of success under McCarthy,
they’ve also become more penalty-prone every year. According to
STATS, they were tied for the league’s 20th-most penalized team
during McCarthy’s first season as head coach in 2006 – then became
the fourth-most penalized team in 2007, second-most penalized in
2008 and had the most penalties in the league, 118, in 2009.
Then came Monday night:
– With the Packers leading 10-7 and facing third-and-9 at the
Bears’ 15-yard line in the third quarter, Rodgers threw an apparent
touchdown pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. But the play was
called back on a holding penalty on right tackle Mark Tauscher. A
subsequent 37-yard field goal try was blocked by Chicago’s Julius
– With the Packers leading 17-14 in the fourth quarter, Barnett
intercepted a pass from Jay Cutler. But Frank Zombo was called for
roughing Cutler, allowing the Bears to keep the ball.
”You’ve got a guy beating his man on his block and getting to
the quarterback, and you get a roughing the passer call,” Charles
Woodson said. ”You can’t take that play away. As a referee, you
can’t look at that play and call that.”
A subsequent unnecessary roughness penalty on Nick Collins
extended the drive, and the Bears kicked a game-tying field
– With the game tied at 17 and the Bears driving in the final
minutes of the game, Collins intercepted a pass from Cutler. But
rookie safety Morgan Burnett was called for interference, putting
Chicago in position to eventually kick the game-winning field
”There has to be something done in this league about allowing
quarterbacks to just throw the ball up for grabs and both players
being engaged and the defensive guy getting the penalty,” Woodson
said. ”I just think it’s absolutely wrong.”
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers wasn’t complaining about
”You can’t make as many penalties on defense as we did tonight,
OK?,” Capers said. ”In a close, hard-fought game, it’s just that