Aaron Rodgers was hard on himself after the Packers squandered a golden opportunity to knock off the Tennessee Titans, the league's only unbeaten team, on the road Sunday.
Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy didn't cut his first-year starting quarterback any slack in his critical review Monday of the film from the Packers' 19-16 overtime loss.
True to what Rodgers experienced for himself, McCarthy said the performance by the offense was littered with several "minus decisions."
Although receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings had a handful of substantial run-and-catch gains in the game, Rodgers was mostly ineffective in the passing game.
He completed only 22 of his season-high 41 passes for 314 yards with just one touchdown. Rodgers was to blame for turnovers in back-to-back series in the third quarter, the first on an interception into double coverage on a downfield heave to Jennings in the end zone and the second on a fumble when he was sacked in Titans territory.
"I take this one on myself," Rodgers said. "The two turnovers, you just can't have. It takes points off the board for you and gives them points. I'm very disappointed. I just did not throw the ball as well as I wanted to, and I'm disappointed about that."
Even when the offense did make inroads against Tennessee's vaunted defense, the Packers came through with a touchdown only once in four trips in the red zone. They had to settle for three Mason Crosby field goals.
QB Aaron Rodgers
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"Disappointed offensively with the red-zone production," McCarthy said. "We had a number of minus decisions down there. We need to do a better job of taking what the defense gives us, staying within the offense. Our decision-making was poor as a whole in the red zone, and it factored in the outcome in a number of those series."
Rodgers also was 0-for-2 in trying to convert fourth-down plays on the Tennessee side of the 50 in the first half with passes.
McCarthy said Rodgers was at fault on the turnover-causing coverage sack in the pocket by defensive end Jacob Ford. The Packers went with a five-receiver, empty-backfield formation, and Rodgers should have thrown the football away when center Scott Wells lost containment on Ford.
The Titans, who didn't capitalize on the earlier interception by safety Chris Hope, came away with a field goal after the fumble to extend their lead to 16-10.
NOTES & QUOTES
RB Ryan Grant's carries plummeted from the low 30s in the previous two games to 20 in the Packers' 19-16 overtime loss at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
McCarthy on Monday said the target was to have Grant run the ball 25 times. So, what happened?
Grant had to come out of the game a few times, especially toward the end, because of a bruised hand. McCarthy said Grant was hit a couple of times on the hand.
Another reason for the drop-off in rushing attempts was McCarthy's revelation Monday that Rodgers called out of the run in some run-pass option plays.
Grant averaged 4.3 yards per carry and totaled 86 yards on the ground.
"I thought Ryan ran the ball very well. He was running hard," McCarthy said. "I thought Ryan Grant's performance was probably one of his better ones of the season. I would have liked to have got him some more opportunities." …
A stifling effort by the Green Bay defense for most of the second half convinced McCarthy to punt on 4th and 8 at the Tennessee 43-yard line after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter with the score tied 16-16.
Derrick Frost's rolling punt pinned the Titans at their 8, but the Packers defense did an about-face from the preceding six series in the half when it allowed only a field goal and forced five punts – including three three-and-outs.
Tennessee drove to the Packers’ 29, putting Rob Bironas in position to attempt a 47-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. Bironas' attempt hit the right upright.
After the Titans won the coin flip for the overtime period, they again had their way with the Green Bay defense in the opening possession and won the game on a 41-yard field goal by Bironas.
McCarthy didn't blame the defensive breakdowns at crunch time on fatigue.
"We didn't do the little things," McCarthy said. "I thought in the second half, the number of three-and-outs we were able to accomplish, just kept giving [our] offense back the football. That's a big part of the reason why I punted in that situation. My heart wanted to kick the field goal. My head told me to punt."
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