Mike Pettine under fire after Bucs touchdown before halftime

USA TODAY Sports

Kevin King did not have his best game Sunday. The Packers cornerback, who played after being questionable with a back injury, gave up a 39-yard touchdown to Scotty Miller on the next-to-last play of the first half and drew a penalty for defensive pass interference on Tyler Johnson late in the fourth quarter.

But King doesn’t bear as much responsibility as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for the play before halftime, which frankly has become overshadowed by the final 2 1/2 minutes of the game.

The day after one of the most disappointing losses in the Packers’ long history, tire tracks are everywhere, including down Pettine’s back.

Matt LaFleur’s comments immediately after the game invite a question about whether Pettine’s future already is decided.

“It was man coverage. Definitely not the right call for the situation, and you can’t do stuff like that against a good football team and expect to win,” LaFleur said, via Jason Wilde of Wisconsin State Journal. “When you look at it, there was 120 some-odd plays on both sides of the ball plus all the special teams. There were a lot of plays in that game that could have been made, that could have changed the outcome of the game.

“But the ones that really hurt us the most were that play, and then to come out to start the second half, [Aaron Jones] had the fumble and they score to make it 28-10. That really was the big difference in the football game. You just can’t do that stuff.

“I blame us as coaches for putting our guys in that situation. That’s inexcusable. That should not have happened. So we’ve got to take a look at it, do some self-reflection, and try to figure out ways on how that can’t happen again.”

The Bucs were ready to punt on fourth-and-four from the Green Bay 45 before rethinking it after a timeout. They picked up a first down on a Tom Brady throw to Leonard Fournette to the 39 and called their final timeout with eight seconds left.

Brady saw Miller get a step on King, who was in one-on-one coverage, resulting in a touchdown with one second left in the half and a 21-10 halftime lead.

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy was among those critical of the Packers’ coverage in that situation, writing, “That may be the worst defensive design I’ve ever seen with 8 seconds and no timeouts left. Green Bay — I’m not sure how you play inside technique man to man and [not] just play zone and protect the sideline and the end zone? Amazing.”

Pettine’s mistake could cost him his job.

105 responses to “Mike Pettine under fire after Bucs touchdown before halftime

  1. Fire Mike Pettine should of bone last year. Look at all the talent, the players Pettine wanted (Rashaan Gary & Kirksey) has there been a top 10 team defensively? Improved from Capers but this is year 3. I think he should go.

  2. It was only possible because Rodgers threw a Trubisky-level interception in the final minute of the first half.

  3. I don’t know who was calling the offensive plays, but running up the middle for no gain on just about every first down, when you have an MVP QB, is just awful.

  4. Pettine’s mistake could cost him his job.
    ———————-

    As a long time Packer fan, I hope so, Jim Leonhard, the University of Wisconsin Defensive coordinator would be s good choice for a replacement.

  5. He was kept last year so LaFleur would at least have some continuity on the staff while getting adjusted to being an HC, but as a Bucs fan I would imagine he has outlived any usefulness he had at that job. Be smart to fire him and get a bright, younger mind in charge of that defense.

  6. Pettine was trying to prevent Bucs from getting into a better position for a Field Goal. Weren’t expecting ‘noodle-arm’ Brady to throw it into the endzone.

    Seahawks did a similar thing to the Patriots in SB 49 at the end of the first half, throwing into the end zone with 2 seconds left on the clock. No one called for firing Belichick or Patricia.

  7. Adam Gase fired Greg Williams after that dismal play vs. Oakland in a pretty much meaningless game where Ruggs scored to give Raiders a win.

    If LaFleur fires Pettine his decision to trust Pettine’s D over letting the MVP take a shot from the 8 on 4th down is magnified.

    The Packers have a history of firing DCs after horrific plays in the playoffs. 4th and 26 seems like yesterday. Packers DC Ed Donatell was fired 5 days after that fateful Freddy Mitchell play.

    Mike Pettine should’ve been fired by now. It wouldn’t surprise me if the issue above is standing in the way causing him to wait until some time passes and then make the move hoping nobody revisits his decision.

  8. Sounds like LaFleur is trying to take some of the well deserved heat off himself by throwing others under the bus.

  9. Tom Brady vs a Mike Petrine coached Defense
    Now,

    11-3, 28 tds 8 ints 280 passing per game.

  10. Hate to say this, but the second guessing is getting a little old.

    Actually, I don’t hate to say it at all.

  11. That was a terrible job by Pettine, but still not as bad as the coaching decsion by LaFleur to take Rodgers off the field and kick the field goal. That, without question, was the worst coaching decsion of the entire season.

  12. How this guy got a job after the Browns debacle is mind boggling. This guy couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag

  13. King was already torched by Evans on the 1st td and misjudged the throw. He deserves the blame as he underestimate Scotty legit 4.3 speed.

  14. If that’s the mistake that costs Pettine his job, it will be more a matter of the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    The Packers have elite talent at all three levels of the defense–Clark on the line, Z-Smith and an emerging Gary at LB, Alexander in the secondary–and yet they do nothing with it. They can’t stop the run, they don’t pressure the quarterback (the sack numbers the last few years are deceptive–those sacks are pretty much the only times they get into the backfield at all), they routinely give up big pass plays and don’t get off the field on 3rd down. We saw all of that on Sunday.

    Mike Pettine has assembled a defense that is less than the sum of its parts, and it has cost the Packers the NFC championship for two straight seasons. He should have been fired last year; if it takes a blunder like this to finally get him the axe, then so be it.

  15. It was a bad play, but LaFleur’s decisions killed their chances far more than did Pettine. The Packers D did a lot to keep them in the game in the second half, only to have lousy offensive play calling, bad OL blocking, dropped passes, and LaFleur’s terrible decisions ruin their chances.

  16. The Packers didn’t take the buccaneers seriously they thought they fore sure were going to the Super Bowl oh well there is always maybe next year

  17. Kevin King was getting beat like a drum all day. He makes a tackle and gets up and starts dancing. That’s just not a winner. The coach can’t get out on the field and hold your hand. The Bucs had a much better roster. Better coaches too. The Bucs were without their pro bowl safety Winfield. Then the other safety got hurt, and they had 2 backup safeties in the game. So what do the Packers call? A run up the middle for no gain. That’s just a young inexperienced coach. When you have 2 backup safeties in the game, test them Geez, you have a HOF QB, and you’re running into a tough run stopping defense. I’m not usually one to point fingers at coaches. Most of the time, the players determine the outcome, and they did for the most part. But LaFleur laid a huge egg. It was maybe the worst coaching ever on a big stage.

  18. I’ve seen Rodgers score so many TDs in the last 2 minutes of a half that just take the other team’s soul. Many of those times against my own team. So to see the Packers on the receiving end was supremely satisfying.

  19. Yeah,it was bad all around,giving up a back breaker right before halftime. Pettine should go,but the head coach made a few boneheaded calls of his own. It’s like McCarthy never left.

  20. Kevin King was still hurt and should not have been on the field. Pettine should have been a long time ago, and lets not forget the special teams coach. I have not seen the special teams coach mentioned once. That bum absolutely could not have done a worse job.

  21. “It was man coverage. Definitely not the right call for the situation, and you can’t do stuff like that against a good football team and expect to win”… WHAT??!! Weren’t you there LeFleur? Do you have no responsibility here? YOU ARE THE HEAD COACH! If you don’t know what your coordinators are going to do, then you have FAILED in that role. That is a typical corporate line of throwing your underlings under the bus when YOU are not involved enough to prevent or avert such a decision. This is on YOU LaFleur. You need to be more involved than standing back afterwards and saying “wow, I can’t understand that call.” Good God man, step up and take some responsibility.

  22. I’ll tell you the coach who should be under fire. Bill Belichick. We’ve been fooled into believing this guy was some sort of great coach, when the whole time it was all Tom Brady.

  23. Pettine pulled a Jets. However, this seems like finger pointing to avoid 6 points off of 3 picks that Pettine’s defense generated. Lafleur needs to come out and say it’s all on him and let’s get it next year but that won’t happen.

  24. Get rid of him. If I wanted to embrace mediocrity and celebrate futility, I’d be a Viking fan.

  25. Did Pettine decide to kick the most asinine FG in league history, too? Or was that someone else?

  26. I agree the Pack was playing to keep the receivers in front of them trying to prevent the last second field goal before halftime. Nobody expected Brady to go for it all. Extremely smart call by Leftwich, Brady. or Ariens. It totally caught Green Bay flatfooted. Green Bay played better “D” in the second half to keep the Pack in the game. LaFleur going for the field goal instead of going for it on 4th down, cost Green Bay any chance of winning the game. LaFleur cost them game more the Pettine.

  27. Packers were doomed the moment Rodgers started having an MVP type season. That trophy is cursed I tells ya.

  28. mrcneff says:
    January 25, 2021 at 8:42 pm
    So Pettine’s unit gets no credit for forcing 3 Brady interceptions?

    —————–

    No. The first and the last pass were gifts and the second was a drop by Evans that landed in the dbs lap.

  29. For 3 weeks we all had to hear how great the Packers were. We had to read about the history, the Bucs playing in the cold and how Packers had the advantage.

    You all have alot of egg on your face today. I for one think it is funny. You all make fun of the Vikings and Cousins. But your the fan of a team who has a HOF QB who can’t win the big game. So Aaron is as much a loser as is Kirk by your logic.

    What I find more intriguing is now you want to fire Pettine because of one play but a week ago you all raved how the Packers beat a broken thumb
    Jared Goff and a Cooper Kupp less offense.

    Your HOF QB Had his chances off turnovers your defense got and your MVP didn’t cash in, so whose to blame?

    Now before you chime in with 13 world championships and most successful franchise your squad just lost two NFCCGs back to back. You Packers fans need to realize what most of us all ready knew Ridgers is not a GOAT and the Packers are not that good. Polish the turd all you want but its still a turd.

  30. No matter what defense is called, a player has to have enough brain to understand the situation, and make certain no players get behind you with 6 seconds left on the clock. King needs equal blame to any coach.

  31. King did in fact mis play the 1st TD of the game to Evans. His positioning wasnt bad, he just mis played the ball. Man did not have one of his better days.

  32. Lafleur needs to be the guy on the hot seat. Throwing Pettine under the bus after kicking a field goal on 4th down with 2 minutes left is like kicking the dog for laying there. Lafleur needs to be fired.

  33. The first down play calling was pretty unimaginative to say the least. Seemed like every drive started with a run up the middle. If you look at the game on paper. Yards, time of possession, qb stats, turnovers, etc. You’d swear it was a Packers win. Still shaking my head.

  34. Pettine fell for the Bucs max protection and figured they wanted a few yards for a field gold. Bruce A. was aggressive. Packers coaches let King cover a speedster. These were the points (the Packer’s deficit) that decided the game. As Daniel J. said on NFL Network, you don’t play conservative in the playoffs…

  35. Matt LaFleur’s comments are completely out of line for a head coach to make in the situation they were in. He’s the HC. He sees the personnel coming out of the timeout. It was just terrible defense by the DB, Miller put a move on and burned him.

    I don’t see any comments about the defense or more like the lack of defense Leslie Frazier was employing in defending Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelsey (instead all I see is praise for Frazier after getting torched for nearly 300 yards by those two in the AFC Championship game). They should have had two people on each.

  36. Remember when the Jets went man coverage against the Raiders? I guess Mike Pettine doesn’t. Maybe he should read what happened to the DC the next day.

  37. So Pettine’s unit gets no credit for forcing 3 Brady interceptions?

    Forced? One was off of Evans hands, one was basically a punt and the other was a hot read that Evans failed to come back for.

  38. Scotty Miller has outrun coverage multiple times this season to catch the ball in the end zone. The catch against the Raiders was artistry. GB should have known this was coming from their film study, with 8 seconds left in the half.

  39. Wow. I will admit it was a sketchy call but that was in the first half. Pettine didn’t kick a fg down 8 or have 2 straight 3 and outs.

  40. That might be worse than the Patriots putting the undersized Ellis Hobbs — also nicknamed “toast” — on Plaxico Buress in Super Bowl 42 against the Giants

  41. The defense is a big reason why the Packers have only two rings despite having Rodgers and Favre for three decades….

  42. Idk. Seems to me as the head coach you would discuss this as that drive gets under way and as it’s going on. “Hey coach, let’s keep guys in front of us and not get beat deep” . Bad call by Pettine but the head coach bears some responsibility as well in this

  43. The Packers have elite talent at all three levels of the defense–Clark on the line, Z-Smith and an emerging Gary at LB, Alexander in the secondary–and yet they do nothing with it. They can’t stop the run, they don’t pressure the quarterback (the sack numbers the last few years are deceptive–those sacks are pretty much the only times they get into the backfield at all), they routinely give up big pass plays and don’t get off the field on 3rd down. We saw all of that on Sunday.

    Maybe the players need to be held responsible. At the end of the day, plays need to be made. I’d like to blame bills coaches for not making better in game adjustments and while that’s true, players need to make plays as well. Pack coach is good and young. He’ll learn from this and move forward as will Sean McDermott. I just hope Green Bay still has Rodgers Around or will he do a brady and go to a good team and try to ride the train to a super bowl

  44. I would have thought teams learned about end of half defense from Rahim Moore and Jump ball Joe to Jacoby Jones. That was unbelievably poor play calling by the Packers. They need to get their defense and special teams in order.

  45. So it was Dom Capers who was the problem. Then Ted Thompson was the problem. Then Mike McCarthy was the problem. Now Mike Pettine is the problem. When things consistently go wrong and you replace everybody with one man standing……do the math.
    Aaron Rodgers isn’t Jordan or Kobe. He’s Karl Malone. A fantastically gifted athlete/stat machine capable of taking a B squad to the finals but just not able to finish the job and of course it’s everybody else’s fault.

  46. Watching that play was like when you are playing Madden on easy mode and you just do things that you know you could never do in reality. But it really happened!

  47. Gee and after Pettine did such a good job in Cleveland. Who could of seen this coming?

  48. Bad play calling and Rodgers lost the game. 0 for 6 on first and goal. Inexcusable.

  49. Unfortunately for the Packers, they are not a tough team mentally. It seems that when things started to not go their way, they struggled and could not get out ahead of it (the fact that they never led is striking considering how they played the regular season). Its not a talent issue, but an attitude issue. And that does fall on the coaching staff. They all obviously got complacent with their late season run (which was dominating at times). Once the bruised egos heal, they will continue on but time will tell if the lesson was learned……

  50. Odd, but Pettine’s defense was good enough to get them to the championship game.
    How about this…the Packers match up poorly with the Bucs. In two games the Bucs out-hustled the Pack with better players at key positions, especially defense. The Packers need to concentrate on getting some blue-chip players for the defense. I’m not sure a new coordinator will bring immediate improvement.

  51. How many points did the Packers offense score on three interceptions? Why didn’t rodgers run? Enough blame to go around, stacks more to head coach and offensive play caller and quarter back.

  52. howboutthemcowboys2020 says:
    January 25, 2021 at 8:33 pm
    How this guy got a job after the Browns debacle is mind boggling. This guy couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag
    —————————————–

    If you went with more than a shallow, knee-jerk “the Browns are bad” premise, you’d understand that Pettine’s tenure with Cleveland was was based around the owner forcing Johnny Manziel on him, AND the team was doing well until our center broke his leg and the running game went away. Plus – 1.5 seasons.

    Pettine was never given a fair shot. And apparently his D was good enough to get the Packers to the Championship game.

  53. Must have gone to the Adam Gase school of “ignore all the bad offensive plays that put us in that situation did you see the one bad play call by the DC”. Somewhere Butch “fire your DC while winning a blowout playoff game which you then lose by a TD” Davis is smiling.

  54. I am sure North Penn High would welcome Mike back with open arms. His family’s football legacy in Bucks and Montgomery County is well known.

  55. It wasn’t exactly cover 0, but still a bad call in that situation. Still Kevin King is to blame on that, whether or not it was man to man or zone. It just looked like his feet were in cement off the snap and he didn’t recognize that he was in deep trouble. Playing with an injury can impact your focus.

  56. Pettine deserves to be called out for that play, but that play didn’t cost them the game. How about getting 3 second half INTs from Brady and not capitalizing on that? The Packers offense blew many more chances than the D did.

  57. Well Greg Williams lost his job for the same exact situation and playcall. But everybody makes mistakes.. If Pettine has been doing a good job for a couple years now and has his unit playing at a high level do you fire him over 1 play?

    I mean its also a head coach responsability to oversee strategy in critical situations and make sure to be a safety net for some of these. LaFleur needs to point at himself and how HE didnt take charge at that moment. They DID still have a TO. Im not sure if LaFleur is a “head coach of the offense” type but this isnt a good way to go. Head Coach needs to be in control at all times and be invested on offense, defense and special teams.

  58. Pettine should have been fired last year, that defense is s-o-f-t. Also, LeFleur is like a kid at take your child to work day when they get into the big games. They got shellacked by San Francisco last year, and but for Brady coming unraveled in the second half this year, they would have been shellacked again. In a way they got lucky, had they made it to the Super Bowl Rodgers would have been sacked 8 times and they would have lost by more than three touchdowns.

  59. With all the talk about Brady the GOAT. Just think if it wasn’t for brady and his 3 picks the packers would have been blown out.

  60. The two series before and after halftime were essentially the deciding factor in the game.

    If Pettine stays, so be it. If they can him, I’m fine with that too.

    He has done a solid job here. His defense works when they are getting pressure. The coverages leave me scratching my head sometimes, but they have also been pretty weak at corner outside of Jaire.

    I think a problem they have right now is timing. They’re picking from the scraps if they move on at this point. Unless they have someone on the staff they like.

  61. Fire him as he costed us the game Sunday on that play before halftime! He should have been fired years ago as the defense has been that bad for years. Only 1 sack against an 43 year old that can’t move is a disgrace! Zone coverage before half to protect the end zone would have only made sense. 9 guys back. All the good teams go right down the field passing the ball cuz they know our receivers lay off by 5-10 yards all the time. And only rushing 3-4 guys all the time and ya wonder why we didn’t get the sacks. Hopefully he’s gone by the end of the day Tuesday.

  62. So it was Dom Capers who was the problem. Then Ted Thompson was the problem. Then Mike McCarthy was the problem. Now Mike Pettine is the problem.
    =====

    Yes, Capers was a problem. He had no answers to fix his defense, given AMPLE time to do so
    Yes, Thompson was a problem. The defense lagged behind the offense, and cost them. Huge!
    Yes, McCarthy was a problem. He had no answers to fix what was ailing his team

    I am not sure where Pettine lands on that scale. I think he has been solid overall. But the lapses Sunday are alarming, and cost the team a Super Bowl trip.

  63. slyder1969 says:
    January 26, 2021 at 9:04 am
    Pettine should have been fired after last season.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Fire this, fire that .. .just let it go. Brady BEAT the Saints and there defense was one of the best. Dennis Allen
    isn’t getting fired, is he – Brady is just good and players STEP UP in key situations

    End of Story. all this second guessing , hind sight 20/20 crap – ENOUGH!

  64. Matt Lefeur is not a head coach. I said it last year said it this year and he proved it Sunday.

  65. Rushing only four play after play vs a 43 yr old qb is a poor strategy. i don’t even remember an attempted stunt. KC is not going to use this scheme. They will get Brady off the spot.

  66. Fire the coaches and the front office. Packers coaches are learning on the job and there is not time for that. The front office….tired of draft picks like Jordan Love. It would be one thing to draft him if he falls to you but to trade up for this guy? No one was going to draft him ahead of the Packers.

  67. Defense out hustled and out muscled and out coached! Here’s a name to consider: Jim Leonhard. Get him now before another team grabs him!

  68. No doubt it was terrible, but it’s on a list of terrible decisions. LaFleur kicking the FG. Rodgers not running for the TD. A bad AR interception. Brady threw three picks and the Packers still could have won. But they just made too many mistakes.

  69. Pettine under fire? Please. That says oh we want to slap his hand but if we fire him were admitting current GM and Coach picked the wrong guy so we will just work around it.
    Under Ted T they did this a lot keeping bad coaches so Ted wouldnt look bad when in fact Ted was bad, a terrible GM who too should have been fired so its on Murphy to clean house and he refuses.

  70. I’ve beaten Pettine like an old mule on several packer sites and have no problem doing it here. His prevent defense is really his way of saying, I have slow defensive backs who cannot cover one on one, lack tackling skills, and were guys no one else drafted.
    Hey a d back picked at the end of the first, and they have two, were turned down by at least 27 other teams. So much for a great find.

  71. It’s always embarrassing to have it revealed on national television that you don’t know what you are doing

  72. I am torn to fire or keep. His defense was pretty good the last 10 games, but that call was egregious. The other thing who do you replace him with?

  73. Pettine under fire? Please. That says oh we want to slap his hand but if we fire him were admitting current GM and Coach picked the wrong guy so we will just work around it.
    Under Ted T they did this a lot keeping bad coaches so Ted wouldnt look bad when in fact Ted was bad, a terrible GM who too should have been fired so its on Murphy to clean house and he refuses.
    =====

    I don’t think we’ll ever know what the problem was with the Ted/Mac/Capers defense?.. Scheme? Talent? Execution?

    Ted and the scouts got players; CMIII, Raji, Hayward, Daniels, Clark, Hyde, Martinez… somehow they never put it together after 2010.

  74. Gregg Williams made the call to be a fool. Pettine probably thought TB was going to try to get 5-8 more yards to set up a FG attempt and he was outcoached by Brady and Leftwich

  75. Enough already !! There are more articles on GB than warranted – First Rogers future, followed by where he could land, questionable play calling, and now this….

    Judging by coverage on other teams including Bills who also lost over the weekend, guess it is becoming more clear on how tight the ship is being run at Green Bay !!

  76. Greg Williams ran a cover zero blitz. Pettine ran man coverage. He also called a game in which they intercepted Brady 3 times and the defense kept them in the game the entire second half.
    The offense was the problem in this game.

  77. jrterrier5 says:
    January 25, 2021 at 8:05 pm
    Pettine was trying to prevent Bucs from getting into a better position for a Field Goal. Weren’t expecting ‘noodle-arm’ Brady to throw it into the endzone.

    Seahawks did a similar thing to the Patriots in SB 49 at the end of the first half, throwing into the end zone with 2 seconds left on the clock. No one called for firing Belichick or Patricia.
    _________________________________________________________

    Where to begin? Let’s unpack this comment: 1st off, defending this call is as foolish as the call itself. Secondly, if you are calling Brady “noodle arm” you obviously haven’t been watching any highlights this season. And thirdly, the comparison of Pettine to Patricia and Bellichick is just laughable. With all of their success, why would you call for their firing after a poor outing?

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