Rough road dents Packers’ playoff hopes

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about his job security following the team's latest loss.Photo Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Another narrow loss put a dent in the Green Bay Packers’ postseason hopes.

The Packers are 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Bears after fading in the second half of Thursday’s 27-24 loss at the Seattle Seahawks.

Green Bay (4-5-1) could drop to as low as 10th place in the NFC depending on the results of this weekend’s games — and an inability to win on the road is a big reason why the team has yet to post back-to-back victories.

“Concerned? Maybe a little bit. I’m not going to lie to you. Maybe a little bit,” Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said after Thursday’s game. “But am I optimistic? I’m very optimistic that we can still get the job done. It’s not going to be easy as you all know but I’m optimistic that we can get the job done.”

The Packers are winless in five games away from home, including three losses in the past four weeks. During that time, Green Bay dropped a two-point decision at the Los Angeles Rams and suffered a 14-point defeat at New England, although the teams were tied in the fourth quarter.

The Packers appeared on their way to ending the road drought against the Seahawks, jumping out to a 14-3 first-quarter lead and taking a 21-17 edge into halftime.

However, they managed only a fourth-quarter field goal the rest of the way and never got the ball back after coach Mike McCarthy elected to punt on fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter.

McCarthy said Friday that his first reaction to “go for it,” but the decision not to give two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers a crack at picking up a first down led to questions about the coach’s job security Friday.

“I’m focused on what’s in front of us,” McCarthy said. “We have a 2018 commitment and that’s all I’ve ever focused on. “That’s the job. That’s the way this business has gone. That’s part of the job responsibility. We set standard here the past 12 years and it’s our responsibility to play to that standard.”

Against the Rams, Rodgers was denied a chance to lead his team to a winning field goal when Ty Montgomery elected to return a kick out of the end zone and fumbled the ball away at the two-minute mark. Montgomery was released the following day.

Up next for Green Bay is a road game at the Minnesota Vikings in prime time on Nov. 25. The teams played to a 29-29 tie in Week 2, but the Vikings currently hold down the final wild-card spot in the conference, so it looms as a must-win for the Packers.

“Of course there’s hope,” said Rodgers. “Of course we believe in each other. It’s going to take one galvanizing moment, whether that’s a speech or at practice or something happens in the game, something’s got to get this thing going. I thought we had moments tonight where that was the way we were going.

“Guys battled. Nobody gave up hope. We just didn’t play well enough when we had to play well enough.”

Comments