Since the Packers’ season was essentially over after last Monday night, I had to debate with myself if it was even necessary to comment on this past Saturday’s game against the Vikings. The only “point” of it was to play “spoiler,” since the Vikings were playing for top-two seeding in the playoffs, which seemed unimaginable when the season started. But this was an opportunity to just sit back and take in sights, since there was nothing to gain or lose. To be certain, the Packers’ defense was “game,” allowing only one touchdown and 16 points total. But the offense, well, did we expect better? Really? Being a California guy, I suppose that Brett Hundley could be “excused” for playing like he was in the process of thawing out; but then again, Aaron Rodgers is a California guy too. Bottom line was that I was “embarrassed” for Hundley, if he wasn’t enough for himself.
In front of the Lambeau Field crowd that had at least witnessed adequate play from Matt Flynn (remember his 480-yard, 6-touchdown performance against the Lions in 2011?), Hundley had his worst game of the season, completing 17 of 40 for 130 yards and 2 interceptions, as the Packers were shutout for the second time at home with him under center. Hundley completed just 7 of his last 26 passes for 81 yards. And it actually did look that bad, particularly when he was just trying to avoid throwing another interception. Hundley finished the season 1-4 at home, a 50.6 passer rating with 0 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions--and dropped passes were not to "blame" for his lousy play at home before this last game, but his inability to function in the pocket and locate open receivers (and get it to them when he did). The Packers also averaged a mere 12 points per game, which didn’t provide much excitement for the home crowd. Did they have reason to be disappointed? I think that the scattered booing was just being “charitable.”
Mike McCarthy must stop with the constant litany of tiresome excuses he has put forth for Hundley's poor play, no doubt thinking it is a reflection on his coaching; a losing season is what he deserves (but not the team) for continuing this charade. As Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said, "The final ingredient in this ignominy stew was McCarthy selling out those players who came to Lambeau Field with their work boots on by stubbornly refusing to remove his quarterback from a 16-0 loss that dropped the team to 7-8...More than likely he just obstinately refused to admit he was wrong about a guy who gets sent back to Go every time it seems like he might make it past Baltic Avenue. If McCarthy had bothered to look around and see the body language of some of his players as Hundley continually refused to maneuver inside the pocket or spot open receivers when he did leave the pocket, he would have seen a defeated team."
The Packers play the Lions in the season finale, and with their loss today Detroit also has nothing to play for save "pride," although a few of the Packer players sound like they’ve already shutdown for the season. Of course, now we hear that McCarthy still intends on starting Hundley, which only proves he has little regard for how the fans feel; for them, it's too late for "making up." For me, it is time to shutdown Hundley for the season. Sure, he has played well on the road, but he shouldn’t be “rewarded” for playing so poorly at home. Joe Callahan--who has never played a regular season snap--has sat on the bench watching all of this and wondering if he could do “better.” I’m not sure he can, but like Rudy who got a chance to play one snap with Notre Dame, maybe McCarthy can find it in his heart to put Callahan in the game. After all, it can’t hurt anymore that it already has.