Tom Oates: Grading Packers’ performance in 20-17 loss to Cardinals

December 3, 2018 GMT

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance in their 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Offense: D-minus

Aaron Rodgers can direct traffic and complete passes at the same time, but he had too many off-target throws. Aaron Jones had only 3.3 yards per carry and was replaced by Jamaal Williams in the second half. Green Bay converted its first two third-down plays, missed on the next 11 and finished 3-for-14. That doesn’t cut it.

Defense: D-plus

The Packers gave up 182 yards rushing to a poor rushing team. The defense had no takeaways for the second consecutive game. Had Eddie Pleasant held onto a Josh Rosen airball for a late interception, the Packers likely would have won. Dean Lowry and Josh Jones had sacks but the Packers had only one other quarterback hit.

Special teams: F-plus


Yes, there were swirling winds, but Mason Crosby is paid to make clutch kicks. Josh Jones could have downed a punt inside the 10 but couldn’t locate the ball. Jaire Alexander’s 24-yard punt return and Jamaal Williams’ 30-yard kickoff return were season highs for the Packers, which illustrates how bad the returns have been.

Coaching: F-plus

A draw play on third-and-10 from the 50? Whether it was called by Mike McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers, it was wrong. Going for it on fourth-and-4 from the 13 in a 0-0 bad-weather game was a poor call − right up until Rodgers threw a touchdown pass. Mike Pettine has given rookie quarterbacks fits, but he couldn’t faze Josh Rosen.

Overall: D-minus

Arizona was a warm-weather, dome team with a 2-9 record and a rookie quarterback. Green Bay had the home-field advantage, a cold, snowy, windy day and had to win to retain any hope of making the playoffs. Many thought the Packers would dominate. Instead, they couldn’t even win. The season − and, with McCarthy’s firing after the game, an era − are over.