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Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013

Missed Scoring Opportunities, Comatose Defense Find Packers Dropping Second Straight

Looking Pack: Week 10

green bay packers scott tolzein philadelphia eagles 2013
Jim Biever / Packers.com
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Coming into Sunday’s game, the primary question in Packerland was in regard to how backup Seneca Wallace—who had not started a game since 2011—would fare in his first full game replacing injured Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That question would not be answered, unless “briefly” is an acceptable response to the veteran QB’s role in Green Bay’s 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. After completing his first five passes to get Green Bay into field goal range, Wallace was forced to exit with an injury of his own (groin) after a failed third down conversion, in striking similarity to the events of the first Packers drive in Monday’s loss.

Mason Crosby would doink a 53-yard field goal attempt off the right upright on the next play, and Packers corner Tramon Williams would tip a should’ve been interception in the hands of Philly’s DeSean Jackson for an easy 55-yard touchdown on the subsequent Eagles possession. Former Badgers quarterback, lifelong Packers fan and recent practice squad promotion recipient Scott Tolzien would be forced to take his first professional snap trailing 7-0.

After a three and out in his first drive at the helm, Tolzien led the Packers from their own four yard line all the way down to the Eagles five, including a questionable 36-yard sideline completion to Jarrett Boykin that first-year Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly neglected to challenge. However, the Eagles would be bailed out by the recent practice squader’s inexperience when Tolzien was intercepted at Philly’s five on a pass woefully underthrown to Jordy Nelson.

From there, Crosby and Eagles placekicker Alex Henery took turns missing mid-range field goals until Philadelphia’s offense eventually started to click and take advantage of the Packers’ lackluster defense. Quarterback Nick Foles—fresh off his record-tying seven-touchdown performance last week—finally found his favorite target Riley Cooper (who caught three of those touchdowns) for a long completion to set up a Henrey field goal as the half dwindled. With just 1:16 left in the second quarter, Tolzien began to catch on—captaining Green Bay 72 yards to set up a Crosby chip shot to reduce Green Bay’s deficit to 10-3 at the half.

A club-fisted Clay Matthews was finally back in action after a four-week absence, but you wouldn’t know it if you were watching the game. He managed just two tackles on the afternoon. His defensive counterparts wouldn’t perform much better, especially in the second half. Eagles star rusher LeSean McCoy ran at will, tallying 155 of the team’s 204 yards on the ground. Though didn’t match his career day from last Sunday, Foles had an efficient, if not good day with 228 yards passing and three touchdowns. Cooper caught a pair of long TDs amid a baffled Packers secondary as part of his 102-yard day.

Meanwhile, Tolzien played unexpectedly well in his debut. Though in a losing effort, he showcased a strong arm and solid rapport with Packers like tight end Brandon Bostick, with whom he connected on what would be each player’s first career touchdown. Even if Wallace is healthy by next Sunday night, Tolzien probably gives the Packers a better chance to win at this point. Apparently Mike McCarthy agrees, leaving Packer Backers with the same question for next Sunday as they had this week (with a slight modification): How will Scott Tolzien fare in his first full game in place of Aaron Rodgers?

Player Of The Game (Offense) – Jarrett Boykin

It appears as if Tolzien has found his favorite receiver in Jarrett Boykin. The second year wideout caught eight balls for 112 yards, both team highs.

Player Of The Game (Defense/Special Teams) – Datone Jones

The Packers defense was basically absent for the second consecutive week. Tramon Williams managed the only turnover (a forced fumble, which he also recovered), but he was also scorched for long pass plays a couple times. Thus, the default honors go to rookie defensive end Datone Jones, who recorded two sacks.

Up Next: Visiting the New York Giants on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 3:25 p.m.

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