Halftime thoughts

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 17, 2010 – 1:30 pm

The Packers are having trouble with two things that don’t bode well as this game continues — covering Brandon Marshall and stopping third downs.

Marshall has seven catches for 102 yards in the first half, and Henne continues to look for him. He’s had a handful of other passes thrown his way as well. The only time the Packers have made a play on Marshall was when Tramon Williams intercepted a pass in the first quarter.

As for the third downs, the Dolphins are 5-for-8 on third down. Allowing opponents to convert more than 50 percent on the money down is a recipe for disaster. The Packers might have been able to get to halftime with the lead, but they let Henne slip out and scramble for 10 yards to convert a third-and-10 from the Green Bay 46. The conversion put the Dolphins in FG range.

The primary reason for the third-down struggles on defense is lack of a pass rush. Matthews’ absence on defense is clearly showing in this area, as Henne hasn’t been sacked all game let alone pressured much at all. That’s why he’s been able to wait for Marshall to come open so many times.

On offense, the Packers have twice moved the ball across midfield but then had the drive stalled by a sack. That’s a killer, as both times the resulting long down-and-distance situation led to a punt. The second sack, on second-and-2 from the Miami 32-yard line, was for a crippling 12-yard loss and it looked like Rodgers simply held the ball too long. If he’s more decisive there and at least throws the ball away, third-and-2 from the 32 isn’t  a bad spot to be in. Instead, third-and-long led to a punt and Miami was able to tie the score by the half.

Nothing unusual in the NFL, but this one sure looks like a game that will come right down to the end. That’s been the case in four of Green Bay’s five games so far this season.

Posted in Packers.com Blog
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