So Long, Mike McCarthy
Well, it finally happened. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has often found himself the target of criticism over the last few years, and this season proved to be the tipping point. The Packers were one of the favourites in the NFC early in the year, with Tony Romo even predicted them to face the Jaguars in the Super Bowl. Now, Jacksonville hasn’t been great either so maybe there’s some sort of Romo Curse, but that’s not the point right now. With the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay coming to an end, let’s look back on his time in charge of the Packers.
* indicates NFC North title
2006: 8-8, missed playoffs.
2007*: 13-3, lost NFC Championship game to Giants.
2008: 6-10, first year with Aaron Rodgers as the starter after Brett Favre retired, unretired, demanded the starting job, wouldn’t accept the backup role, and was then traded to the Jets. Also, they missed the playoffs.
2009: 11-5, lost Wild Card game to Cardinals.
2010: 10-6, beat Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win Super Bowl XLV.
2011*: 15-1, lost NFC Divisional game to Giants.
2012*: 11-5, lost NFC Divisional game to 49ers.
2013*: 8-7-1, lost NFC Wild Card game to 49ers.
2014*: 12-4, lost NFC Championship game to Seahawks.
2015: 10-6, lost NFC Divisional game to Cardinals.
2016*: 10-6, lost NFC Championship game to Falcons.
2017: 7-9, missed playoffs.
2018: 4-7-1, fired after Week 13 loss to Cardinals.
Despite having the best quarterback in the NFL (according to Packers fans and Patriots haters), the Packers have had limited playoff success with McCarthy. Part of the problem has been the lack of a running game. Remember when Eddie Lacy was supposed to be the solution to that? Yeah, that worked out well…
It’ll be tough to fix the Packers, in large part due to the massive contract that Rodgers signed last offseason. The key to success has largely been to find a capable quarterback in the draft, and spend money to build a team around him while he’s still on his rookie contract. That’s what the Seahawks did when Russell Wilson was new to the league, and that’s what the Rams are doing right now. Rodgers is already making $20.9 million this season, and that number will get even higher over the next few seasons, reaching a height of $37 million during the 2022 season. Rodgers is getting paid, but it might come at the cost of team success.
This week featured a few upsets, but most notably the Cowboys ended the Saints 10 game winning streak. New Orleans has been dominant all season long, scoring seemingly at will, but Dallas hasn’t been giving up a ton of points this year so something had to give. For the sake of my fantasy team, I was hoping that it would be the Cowboys defense. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The Cowboys built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and had extended that to 13-0 by halftime. The Saints came back with 10 points in the third quarter, but that’s how the game would end. Dak Prescott completed 24 of 28 passing attempts for 248 yards and a touchdown, while the Cowboys held Drew Brees to just 18 completions on 28 attempts for 127 yards, a touchdown and also forced an interception.
Brees had been putting together an MVP-calibre season leading into Week 13, but after a lackluster performance against the Cowboys, the 39 year-old might have lost his chance at his first career MVP award. Instead, Patrick Mahomes looks like he’s on his way to being named NFL MVP at the end of the season. Either way, winning regular season MVP is almost a guarantee that they’ll lose the Super Bowl so maybe Brees doesn’t actually want to win it.
In another primetime game this week, the Chargers erased a 16 point deficit to beat the Steelers on a last second field goal to win 33-30. Pittsburgh owned a 23-7 lead at halftime on touchdowns from James Conner (twice) and Antonio Brown. The second half was a completely different story, and the ending was so crazy that a 73-yard punt return touchdown was the highlight of the game. Instead, it was a field goal by Michael Badgley with time expiring that got the attention of Twitter after the game, but not because it was a 50+ yarder, or because it went off the upright and in. Instead, it became the focus of the game because the Steelers ended up making the kick 10 yards shorter than it was originally going to be.
The win means that the Chargers have quietly put together a 9-3 season so far, but all of the focus in the AFC West has been about the Chiefs. The Steelers are now 7-4-1 on the season, still at the top of the AFC North, but just barely ahead of the 7-5 Ravens.
The Redskins drew some criticism when they signed Mark Sanchez after losing Alex Smith for the rest of the season, which is absolutely fair. Well, Sanchez got his first taste of game action since 2016. Colt McCoy left the game with a leg injury, which at the time didn’t seem so bad but it turned out to be a broken leg, and now all of a sudden the Sanchize is the #1 QB in Washington.
In the end, Sanchez finished with 100 yards and an interception on 13 of 21 passing. If Washington fans had any hope of playoffs after Smith got hurt, those hopes and dreams are now dead because there is absolutely no way that Mark Sanchez can lead a team to the playoffs. As for the Eagles, they’re getting hot at the right time but still face an uphill battle as they try to climb their way into a playoff position. They’re at 6-6, just a game behind Dallas, but they play the Cowboys, Rams, and Texans in their next three games before ending the season with another matchup with Washington.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 12 recap here.