If Ty Montgomery is looking for a job by the end of the day on Monday, nobody should be surprised — least of all him.
The Green Bay Packers running back and kickoff returner made a ridiculous decision to take a kickoff out of the end zone on Sunday afternoon. The Packers were down just two points to the 7-0 Rams, and a touchback would have given the team both the two-minute warning and a timeout available to stop the clock.
Instead, Montgomery went against the coaching staff’s “plan” and took the ball out of the end zone, fumbling the ball away and any realistic chance of a comeback going with it. But as we learned overnight and as you’ll see in today’s Cheese Curds, the situation appears even worse than just failing to follow instructions.
Indeed, several Packers players and assistant coaches confirm that Montgomery was explicitly told not to run the ball out of the end zone prior to the kickoff. This sheds more light on the decision after head coach Mike McCarthy did not clearly say in his postgame presser whether the return man received those instructions or was assumed to understand the situation on his own.
But beyond that, still more context indicates that Montgomery was disgruntled before the play, upset about being pulled off the field during the Packers’ final offensive series of the game. In a sport where strategy and emotion are often in conflict, emotion seemed to win out for him, and it cost the Packers a shot at a victory.
There are still positives to take away from the loss, particularly on defense. Although the Rams did gain 400 yards of offense and score 29 points, most came away from that game thinking that the Packers’ D did enough to win. Their exceptional start to the contest was particularly impressive, and plenty of blame can be placed on the offense and special teams for once again slowing down in the middle part of the game and being unable to keep the defense off the field.
Without further ado, here are today’s curds.
Rodgers doesn't get chance at Hollywood ending - NFL.com
Here’s the money quote from a Packers player about Montgomery’s indefensible decision to defy his coaching staff:
"They took him out (the previous drive) for a play and he slammed his helmet and threw a fit. Then (before the kickoff) they told him to take a knee, and he ran it out anyway. You know what that was? That was him saying, 'I'm gonna do me.' It's a f----- joke."
Packers drop a golden opportunity against the Rams | Packersnews.com
As Tom Silverstein notes, the Packers had two weeks to prepare, a healthy roster, and the stands half-full of your own fans despite being on the road, you have to take advantage, even against a 7-0 team. Instead, the Packers still ended up with an L, despite the best efforts of Mike Pettine and the defense.
Energized Packers’ defense just missing knockout blow | Packers.com
Finally at full strength, Pettine's unit used six defensive backs for most of the game to defend Todd Gurley and company, doing so to great effect through much of the contest.
A star is born: Packers rookie CB Jaire Alexander menacing vs. Rams | Packers Wire
One of the reasons for the defense's solid performance was Alexander's stellar day, which saw him make seven tackles and break up a whopping five passes.
NFL Week 8 recap: The 9 dumbest mistakes from Sunday, ranked - SBNation.com
With all due respect, Montgomery deserves to be higher than fourth on this list.