Tag Archives: Replacement refs

Sometimes You Just Need to Vent

Hide your kids. Hide your wives. This is going to be aggressive. Tonight was the low-point in the NFL labor dispute with the refs. And the “low-point” is the polite way of saying the replacement refs are worse than Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight. Ugly, terrible, and simply incompetent, the replacement refs cost the Packers a hard-fought victory over the pesky Seahawks tonight.

As if it was a slow death over these last three weeks, the replacement refs have steadily regressed to the point of endangering players safety and ruining the integrity of the game. The culmination is tonight’s epic performance. Picking up from Sunday Night’s debacle, yellow flags littered the field for much of the night. Any chance of tempo was shot – not that the Packers established any. Still, a real football game had developed in the midst of this shit-show. That is until the last two possessions for the Seahawks.

Up 5 (never mind the terrible 2-point conversion play-call), Russell Wilson threw a terrible INT that should have been the perverbial dagger. But, wait. A replacement ref had a yellow flag in his pocket still. Flag out of pocket, and a phantom roughing the passer call on Walden pulls the dagger out and keeps the drive alive. Game Should Be Over Call No. 1.

Still, Wilson is at the helm and the Seahawks had yet to get a first down on their own the entire second half. Let me repeat that… the Seahawks had ZERO first downs on their own merit in the second half with less than 6 minutes to play. Thankfully they had the refs on their side tonight to make up for their incompetence.

In little more than a minute of play, the Seahawks faced a 1st-and-25. Wilson makes another pass downfield – that can only be described as a “lob-thrown-by-the-passer-in-a-game-of-500” – that is up-for-grabs. Shields sees this unfold and is looking back at the ball for the last 3/4-time it is in the air. Admittedly he has a hand on Sid Rice’s jersey. But, Rice has a full on grab of Shields’ shoulder pads. Both guys battle for the ball. The grab of the jersey wouldn’t be called in pop warner football. But, the NFL hasn’t hired pop warner refs. They are worse than that. Pass interference. Spot foul. Gain of 35 or so yards – unwarranted. Game Should Be Over Call No. 2.

Despite playing against 12 men when you include the Zebras, the Packers stopped Seattle on 4th down and got the ball back deep in their territory. Of course, three straight runs nets negative yards and a punt is forced. Wilson completes one pass to get it to around the 20. Last second play. 4th down. Wilson fades back, avoids pressure, and throws another 500-type ball for the Hail Mary to end the game. Chaos ensues.

Despite the ball being pinned to Jennings’ chest, Tate allegedly caught the game-winning TD. Dohkay.

Amidst no less than 5 Packers – and this time they are ready to defend the Hail Mary unlike last January – Golden Tate gets away with highway robbery. Check that. That’s an insult to highway patrol-men. Tate would have been caught by Chief Wiggum! Tate pushed off on Shields in a clear offensive pass interference. And somehow, Tate then proceeds to catch the ball while cradling it against M.D. Jennings’ chest. You heard that correctly. M.D. Jennings, a Packer, had the ball pinned to his chest with both hands secure around it. Yet, the candy-ass ref calls a touchdown on the field because it’s in Seattle. Replay official inexplicably says the call stands. Game Should Be Over Call No. 3. Well, the game was over. Gift-wrapped for the P.O.S. Pete Carroll.

Roger Goodell, in his quest for utter world domination, has made the game we love a farce. Power hungry, Goodell has taken an unnecessary hard-line stance in his labor dispute with the regular officials. The result is utter and complete mockery of officiating.

Lost in this mess of officiating is the fact that there are careers and jobs at stake in the cut-throat NFL. Though I expect the Packers to make the playoffs, an undeserved loss can be the difference between home-field advantage and a first-round bye, and a road wild-card game. Worse yet, it can be the difference between making or missing the playoffs. With only 16 regular seasons games, every game truly matters. To have complete shit-for-brains officials deciding these games is embarrassing for everyone involved – from the owners, players, coaches, all the way down to the fans – the people that pay big money to this multi-billion dollar industry.

They always said it would take the refs costing a team a game in order to make Goodell react and cut a deal. Well, mission accomplished. Asshole.

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What the Hell is Going On Out There?!

Both the Gophers and Vikings end the week with better records than the Badgers and Packers. As Vince said, “What the hell is going on out there?!?!?” The most disappointing aspect of the Packers loss is the fact that so little has changed from last year’s problems.

The Packers “boasted” one of the worst defenses in the league last year. Hemorrhaging yards and big plays, the defense was painful to watch. It couldn’t apply any pressure on opposing QB’s, couldn’t get off the field on 3rd downs, and sound tackling was a figment of our imagination. All pre-season, we heard about the upgrades at crucial positions and how much the fundamentals were emphasized. Things were going to be different. Well, what happens week 1 against Alex Smith – yes, that Alex Smith – & Co.? The defense allowed Smith to orchestrate 5 straight scoring drives, made Frank Gore and the player formerly known as Randy Moss relevant for one week, and still struggled tackling – I’m looking at you Morgan Burnett.

And even with Claymaker’s 2.5 sacks, the Packers got little pressure throughout the game. Capers was forced to bring heavy blitzes in the second half to create some sort of pressure. But even that was mostly ineffective. Perry has the bull rush, and that’s pretty much it – not to mention he is a huge liability in pass coverage. Worthy, Daniels, etc. were invisible. Moses got little run. And I barely saw Hayward or McMillian out there (though that could be a good sign as in no word from secondary players means they did their job. We can hope.) Just no help from the newcomers. As they say, some things never change.

To pile on those issues, the coaching was poor. In classic MM fashion, he stubbornly attempted to establish a running game at various points in the second half when it was so clearly obvious we weren’t running on them. And then on the first possession of the second half, MM goes for the home-run play on 3rd-and-1. I’m all for aggressive play-calling. But, only when it’s appropriate. That was the wrong spot to get aggressive. We had yet to establish any rhythm on offense and needed to sustain that drive.

The most egregious coaching errors (and one player mental error), though, were at the end of the first half. Down only six despite being dominated for most of the half, the Packers got the ball with just over :50 left at their own 20-yard line. After a short completion on 2nd down, MM called a timeout with around :30+ second left. Coaching error number 1. On the ensuing play, A-Rodg couldn’t find anyone and instead of sliding and keeping the clock running, he threw it away, preserving SF’s last timeout. Player mental error. Reminiscent of Bradshaw’s long scamper to get the G-Men into range for the fateful Hail Mary to end that first half, the 49ers sent in Colin Kaepernick – the backup QB who is well-known for his running – who proceeded to take a QB draw for around 20 yards. An obvious play call that somehow no one on the GB coaching staff saw coming. Coaching error number 2. The result was the 49ers were in “field goal range” – quoted because it was still a 63-yarder. The timeout was way too aggressive, particularly since the 49ers defense is so dominant. And how the players were so woefully unprepared for Kaepernick is unacceptable. You can’t give away free points like that. And even though the Packers lost by 8, the 3 points required the Packers going for 2 and surely made it seem like a more daunting comeback when they needed 2 TDs and 2 successful 2-point conversions.

One of the more disappointing efforts of the afternoon belonged to D.J. Smith. He took poor angles and got shoved off potential tackles. His lack of size was evident out there. Not to be outdone, Hawk was up to his normal play – making tackles 3-5 yards downfield. He made one great play behind the line of scrimmage in the 1st half to force a field goal. Just more of the same.

As for the offense, the 49ers forced the Packers to methodically march down the field with underneath plays. They took away the deep shots and easily handled the alleged Packers running game. Randall Cobb emerged as the star of the offense. Making good on my Percy-Lite comparison, Cobb lined up all over the field – slot, out wide, and in the backfield. Although he didn’t register a carry, he wreaked havoc out of the backfield on quick hits to the flat. MM will get more creative with the burgeoning stud and he will be a big playmaker for the Packers this season.

Often overlooked, James Jones also put together a nice game. He had a couple long gains, and was looked to on a few bombs. He was hosed on a completed bomb because of a phantom offensive pass interference. (Yes, I know he had two arms extended, but the alleged push off didn’t create any unfair separation. No way that’s called by the real refs.) Most impressive for Jones was his YAC. Not known for the same, he made some nice moves and created most of his YAC.

I’d be remiss not highlight the offensive line’s play. Against a formidable front 7, the line held up for the most part. Aldon Smith got his hands on A-Rodg only when Rodgers broke away from the pocket. Justin Smith was never heard from. Newhouse had a bad false start penalty early in the game, continuing a trend from pre-season. But, otherwise, his name or number were never called. All-in-all, it was a pretty solid effort by the O-line. (Of course, this completely ignores the fact they can’t run-block – but we already knew that.)

Finally, it needs to be said. The refs were absolutely horrendous. I think the Packers got the short end of the bad calls – even with that missed block in the back on Cobb’s punt return. Calls were missed all game long. The refs conferenced over almost every call, slowing the game down to a painful level at times. It is simply unacceptable because the refs absolutely had a negative impact on the game. Did they lose the game for the Packers? No. But, they made their mark on the game in a negative way and who knows how the chain of the events impacts the game.

It’s one game. Far too early to read anything more into this other than the Packers got beat by a better team. The 49ers showed last season’s playoff run is no fluke. With a quick turnaround for Thursday’s game, the Packers don’t have time to lick their wounds. A Bears team far improved on offense will be a tough opponent for this defense. Hopefully, this loss lights a fire under the team’s ass, and makes them realize this is a different season and it won’t be so easy this time around.