The Green Bay Packers’ season ended on a frustrating note as Green Bay lost by three points to San Francisco, which exemplified the entire season.
Always short, just shy, almost there. There was never any comfort.
This season wasn’t destined for a Super Bowl appearance. Despite numerous comebacks and random glimmers of hope, Green Bay wasn’t meant to make it far in the playoffs. It’s surprising they won the NFC North to begin with.
And while the Packers hung in with the 49ers for the entire game Jan. 5, and managed several lead changes, an interception, sacks and containment of Frank Gore, it wasn’t enough. Just like this whole season, everything the Packers did wasn’t enough. It was always one step forward, two giant steps back.
Now don’t get me wrong, Green Bay wasn’t completely terrible this season. They overcame a 24-3 first half discrepancy in Dallas, managed to keep playoff hopes alive with a string of average backup quarterbacks and somehow won the NFC North. Eddie Lacy was a huge factor, minus his early injuries, and new players stepped up and showed their athletic worth on the field.
But the Packers weren’t stellar either, with countless injuries to critical players, a crumbling defense and a mediocre record that shouldn’t have justified a division title.
The season started with a loss at San Francisco. Sure, the 49ers were the NFC champions and the Packers were playing on the road, but the game set the tone of the season. The Packers lost by six points. They came up just short. The loss seemed acceptable based on the team the Packers played.
But what about the 34-30 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati with Rodgers in charge? Or the one touchdown loss to the Bears at home, who had a backup quarterback in? How about the tie against the Vikings, who were 2-8 at the time?
Excuses can be made for the losses. Yet Green Bay made stupid mistakes and could have won easy games. The team never gave enough.
Coming up short was the theme closing out the season, as backup quarterback Matt Flynn and the Packers couldn’t convert on a last-second play against the Steelers week 16. Again, they were just short. Fortunately, the Bears’ loss at Philadelphia gave them hope, and another win against the Bears week 17 sealed the Packers’ fate as NFC North champs. And while the last regular season game was hard-fought, the Packers only won by five points. Six points came from a controversial call on a Jarrett Boykin touchdown. The win was too close for comfort.
The Packers have had a good run since playing their January 2011 wildcard playoff game. Since then, the team had won five of its last seven playoff games, including a Super Bowl, before the Jan. 5, 2014 game against San Francisco.
But unlike the past few years, this was not the Packers’ season. Time was always running out, like the clock expiring on a Phil Dawson field goal. Until the Packers can regroup, and put up strong wins – wins with more than a touchdown separating the score – the dream season will be out of reach.
Thanks for the entertainment this year, Packers. But I’ll be waiting for you to take two steps forward, and no steps back, for the next Super Bowl run.
Read more Packers rumors, news and opinion on our Green Bay Packers page