Halloween had it's gory sequel, so did Nightmare on Elm Street and now the Green Bay Packers have a gruesome followup to a Monday night loss at home with an eerily similar defeat only six days later. The Philadelphia Eagles put up the same number of points as did the Chicago Bears, topping the 400 yard mark as did Chicago, and beat the Pack 27-13 handing Mike McCarthy back to back home losses for the first time in five years.
Even more frightening, for the second consecutive game, the starting quarterback, this time Seneca Wallace, is done on the opening series, giving way to an unprepared backup in the person of Scott Tolzien. After completing five straight passes, Wallace yanked his groin rolling out on a third down toss to Jarrett Boykin and was done for the day. The carnage didn't stop there. Casey Hayward reinjured his hamstring and didn't return. Johnny Jolly caught the Wallace disease with a pulled groin, Nick Perry reinjured his foot. Evan Dietrich-Smith left with a knee injury forcing T.J. Lang to play center. Don Barclay went to right guard until he went down a knee injury bringing the last available offensive lineman in Lane Taylor. The 2013 Packers, Team 93 as they call themselves, are now in the intensive care unit.
You gotta give Tolzien some credit though. The former Wisconsin Badger played unfazed, yes he made big mistakes, but threw for 280 yards and a touchdown. This one doesn't fall on the backup to the backup quarterback. Breakdowns on special teams, Mason Crosby missed a pair of field goals, and on defense, yikes, have the Packers on life support even at 5-4. Just when you'd expect the entire squad to rally around Wallace, subbing for Aaron Rodgers, who won't be back for another month folks, and then Tolzien, they couldn't. Nick Foles completed only 12 passes but fired three more long touchdowns giving him 10 in 2 weeks. The first covered 55 yards to DeSean Jackson when Tramon Williams finally had a bead on the long ball but Morgan Burnett had a bead on Williams. When they collided, the ball popped up and Jackson walked backwards from the five yard line for the score. The second, went for 45 yards when Foles just heaved it into the wind and let Riley Cooper run under it while M.D. Jennings and Davon House were still looking for it. The third, to Cooper again, came after Burnett slipped in coverage, giving up a free run up the left sideline for 32 yards. This wasn't just the secondary's off day either. The run defense was pushed around for 204 yards, 155 from the NFL's rushing leader LeSean McCoy.
Mike McCarthy was well aware his team's problems go beyond injuries as he addressed the media after the game:
The Packers wound up with a more than respectable 396 yards of offense, Eddie Lacy gained 73 against a defense that stacked the box with a kid at QB. Jarrett Boykin caught 8 balls for 112 yards. Even when all seemed lost, the Packers still had a fighting chance, down 27-13 when Foles was sacked for the 5th time by Mike Daniels and Williams recovered a fumble at the 13. McCarthy actually won a challenge to get the ball with just under 11 minutes left. But a 4th down pass to Jordy Nelson in the right corner of the end zone was ruled incomplete. Jordy thought he kept his hand under the ball on the rolling catch. McCarthy challenged again but was denied on review. That's when the Eagles closed out the final 9:32 on a death march akin to the beaten rebel soldiers marching home after the Civil War. Yes, this was a day to salute the vets, the crowd did it's part before kickoff:
With only 7 games to go, the wounded Green Bay Packers find themselves in dire need of a blood drive, a tourniquet or maybe a priest. On to New York.