Packers made Mike McCarthy the scapegoat for a lost season
3rd December 2018

Anyone interested in coaching Aaron Rodgers?

The head job in Green Bay opened up Sunday evening, shortly after the Packers fell to the Cardinals, 20-17 on a missed field goal by Mason Crosby to end the game. It was the Packers’ third straight loss and fifth in six weeks. After 13 seasons in his position and 125 wins, including a Super Bowl, the soundtrack to McCarthy’s final day at Lambeau Field included boos from the crowd.

“I did not do a good enough job,” McCarthy said after the game but before he was informed of his dismissal. “We did not do a good enough job as a football team.”

Management laid all the blame at McCarthy’s feet.

“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,” team president Mark Murphy said in a statement. “As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”

Now 4-7-1, the Packers will be led in the interim by Joe Philbin, the offensive coordinator and a former head coach of the Dolphins. The job will be attractive for prospective hires as Rodgers remains under contract. In McCarthy’s final game, Rodgers, who won that Super Bowl title with McCarthy in 2011, was 31-of-50 for 233 yards and a touchdown. It was not enough to keep McCarthy on the job as Arizona (3-9) picked up its first win since Oct. 28.

“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field,” Murphy said. “We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”

There will be plenty of parties interested in McCarthy, as well. He reached the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons with the Packers, but failed to keep pace with the Bears and Vikings this season.

The Packers were already preparing to move on. The only surprise was Murphy made his dismissal with four weeks left in the season.

Hot in Texas

When it was over — after Houston linebacker Zach Cunningham recorded a pick-six, tailback Lamar Miller rushed for more than 100 yards and the Texans beat the Browns, 29-13 — wideout DeAndre Hopkins reflected on a ninth straight win.

“It means a lot, especially from where we came from at 0-3,” he said, “but it’s not the Super Bowl. So we keep on fighting.”

No one saw Hopkins or Houston as Super Bowl contenders after Week 3, but here they are, the hottest team in the NFL. The Giants — of all teams — beat the Texans, 27-22, in late September to leave Houston winless at 0-3.

What appeared to be rock bottom proved to be a launching pad as the Texans have won every game since to improve to 9-3. They have done it with an opportunistic defense anchored by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney and an offense led by the battery of quarterback Deshaun Watson and Hopkins, who went for 91 yards on Sunday.

Fresh off the best game of his career, Baker Mayfield was limited by the Texans as he completed 29-of-43 passes for 397 yards and four interceptions.

“He probably wasn’t feeling too dangerous in the first half,” Watt said, “but he was feeling a little more dangerous in the second half.”

Third time’s a Charge’

Rare is the team that jumps offsides three times in a row, but that was the case at the end of the Chargers’ 33-30 win in Pittsburgh.

Los Angeles kicker Michael Badgley missed his first attempt at a game winner but was given another chance when offsides was called. The second attempt was blocked, but offsides was called again. He nailed his third try as an offsides penalty was called once more. Los Angeles declined the penalty to accept victory.

It all capped a late comeback by the Chargers, who trailed 23-7 at the half and didn’t gain a lead until the fourth quarter. Quarterback Philip Rivers finished with 299 yards and converted a pair of two-point conversions down the stretch to lead the Chargers to victory.

Los Angeles (9-3) proved it can compete with the Steelers (7-4-1) and anyone else in the AFC for the right to play the Patriots or Chiefs in January.

If given three tries to kick a game winner, Los Angeles sure seems fit to compete come playoff time.

Jagtime dandy

The Andrew Luck Revival Tour endured its first big blow Sunday when the Colts failed to score a point in a 6-0 loss to the Jaguars. Luck completed 33-of-52 passes for 248 yards, but the Jaguars pounced on him often with three sacks and an interception.

“I didn’t feel very sharp,” Luck said. “I didn’t feel I was putting the ball in the right places to give the guys a chance to catch them, but again, give credit to their coverage. I think all the guys in the locker room right now feel that we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain as players. I know I can be sharper. I know I need to be sharper. I’m discouraged, but in a sense I’m also encouraged to get back to work and improve on things.”

The Colts are now 6-6 and will need help to reach the playoffs. It gets no easier as a road game in Houston awaits next week.

Battering Ram

Maybe he felt at home with the name Lombardi appearing everywhere in Green Bay, but that was former Fordham running back Chase Edmonds churning his way to 53 yards — a career high — and a pair of touchdowns on five carries in Arizona’s victory at Lambeau Field. Edmonds broke free for a 29-yard run and received three carries inside Green Bay’s 10-yard line, scoring twice.

Play of the Day

It was first-and-10 with the Lions looking to score on the Rams’ 11-yard line. Quarterback Matthew Stafford took the snap under center, dropped back and faked a handoff. Lined up at left tackle, Taylor Decker blocked for a second before rolling out to his left and looking back for Stafford, who swung the ball out to him. The Rams were completely fooled as Decker ran toward the goal line with his right hand raised in celebration before he scored. Once over the goal line, Decker threw the ball in the stands. Detroit pulled within a field goal, but failed to duplicate the magic as the Rams won, 30-16.

Three Stars

1. Phillip Lindsay: The rookie was off and running for the Broncos when he broke off a 65-yard scamper, and his 157 yards were a career high as Denver stayed alive in the playoff chase with a 24-10 win over Cincinnati.

2. Andrew Adams: Tampa’s safety played catch with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, picking him off three times. Adams joined Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber as the only two other Bucs to pull off the defensive hat trick. Tampa tallied four interceptions on the day.

3. Travis Kelce: The Wrestler in Chief hauled in 12 catches for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 40-33 win over Oakland. To celebrate his first score, he got up from the ground and performed a Stone Cold Stunner on fullback Anthony Sherman.

Quote of the Day

“You called me a b—h, though. I’ll catch you. Trust me, I’ll catch you. I’ll catch you. Guaranteed.”

— Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes to an official in the tunnel beneath the stands at Hard Rock Stadium after Buffalo fell to Miami, 21-17

Fantasy Insanity

  • Browns WR Antonio Callaway had a ho-hum fantasy day (three catches, 84 yards, one fumble, 9.4 PPR points). But it could have been much better. He caught a 76-yard touchdown pass that was called back. Two plays later, he hauled in a 71-yard catch and was on his way into the end zone before fumbling at the 2. That type of explosiveness demands a spot on fantasy rosters.
  • The Cardinals shocked the Packers despite little from David Johnson (20-for-69 rushing, 1-for-3 receiving, 8.2 PPR points). Chase Edmonds, however, had 5-for-53 rushing with two TDs and 2-13 receiving (20.6 points). Worse, both Edmonds TDs came on runs inside the 10. If Johnson is not going to be used near the goal line, that is a huge blow to his fantasy prospects.
  • We are expecting bad news regarding injuries to Bengals WR A.J. Green and Panthers TE Greg Olsen. Track down Buffalo’s Zay Jones to replace Green. Olsen backup Ian Thomas is as good as any on a barren TE waiver wire.

Drew Loftis

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