If there is a common theme that the Green Bay Packers are hoping to improve on for the rest of the season, it is successfully executing in the fourth quarter.
Being unable to do so cost the Packers games to the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in the last two weeks. Being unable to do so leaves the Packers at 3-4-1 and losing ground on the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.
It also makes getting to 10 wins challenging since now Green Bay must win seven of its last eight games starting with next Sunday’s home game against the Miami Dolphins.
In last week’s loss at Los Angeles, Green Bay went scoreless in the final seven minutes and took a 29-27 loss. Besides being unable to score, the Packers messed up a punt, allowed the go-ahead field goal and fumbled the ensuing kickoff after the Rams regained the lead.
On Sunday night, the Packers forged a 17-17 tie on a 15-yard touchdown by tight end Jimmy Graham with 11:18 left in the third quarter but could not score again and things went south in the fourth.
On the first play of the fourth, Green Bay was getting into scoring position only to see running back Aaron Jones fumble at the New England 24.
Shortly after the turnover, New England scored the tiebreaking touchdown and added another TD to give Green Bay a 31-17 loss.
Of course, maintaining possession in the final 15 minutes also is troublesome. In their last two fourth quarters, the Packers have only had 22 plays.
“We’re not hitting on all cylinders,” Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Monday. “We’re hurting ourselves with negative-yardage plays and missed throws and turnovers at the wrong time and not being on the same page too many times, whether I’m missing a throw or we’re not in the spot I think we’re going to be at, it’s happening in the worst times. When we have to play our best in those crunch times, we haven’t been playing our best.”
–CB Kevin King exited Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and it seems unlikely King will play against Miami. On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said King would be “hard pressed” to be ready in time.
–RT Bryan Bulaga exited Sunday’s game with a knee injury but it appears he avoided a significant injury. On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said Bulaga could play against Miami.
–WR Geronimo Allison did not play Sunday due to a groin injury he sustained at practice on Thursday. Now it’s possible Allison might need to undergo surgery.
–LB Blake Martinez exited Sunday’s game with an ankle injury but returned for the final couple of series. He was injured when he stepped on QB Tom Brady’s ankle.
–S Kentrell Brice suffered a knee injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s game at New England. As of Monday, the extent of Brice’s injury is unknown.