The Green Bay Packers ultimately pulled off a narrow 33-30 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
While the offense thrived with another brilliant performance from Jordan Love, who was complimented with a healthy Aaron Jones for the first time this season, the Packers defense continued to struggle.
The Packers were efficient on offense in the first half, scoring on their first four possessions to build a comfortable 23-10 lead by halftime. That should be enough of a cushion for the defense, especially against a rookie quarterback who came into the game with the second to worst QBR in the NFL behind only Zach Wilson of the New York Jets, but instead Joe Barry’s unit allowed Bryce Young to have a career day.
Young finished the day connecting on 23-of-35 of his throws for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
Even after Love and company put together an impressive drive around the two-minute mark that resulted in what ended up being the game-winning field goal, the Panthers offense came close to tying it up and forcing overtime.
Young completed a 22-yard pass to Chark on the sideline to stop the clock and then threw over the middle to Thielen for 22 yards. But the Panthers, without any timeouts, were unable to spike the ball before time expired.
Simply put, the Carolina Panthers hadn’t scored 30 points all season, and only scored more than 20 points in three of their games heading into the matchup with the Packers.
Green Bay Packers Fans And Media Want Joe Barry Gone Now
Despite the victory over a clearly sub-par opponent, Packers fans and media didn’t shy away form once again calling for the franchise to move on from their defensive coordinator immediately.
“Packers win because the Panthers ran out of time to keep embarrassing the Packers defense,” Andy Herman of Packer Report posted to X. “Green Bay wins. Matt LaFleur needs to do the thing. There’s absolutely zero excuse at this point.”
Herman was not the only media member who said the time for LaFleur to act is now.
“The most points scored by the Panthers this season,” Peter Bukowski of The Leap wrote on social media. “Joe Barry cannot be the #Packers defensive coordinator by Christmas Day. Just can’t do it.”
As Green Bay fans have learned, LaFleur has been fiercely loyal to Barry when anyone with two eyes and a brain can tell his defense just isn’t working.
If the Packers are going to win the final two games and actually plan on making a run in the playoffs, it feels like a change is almost necessary at this point.
LaFleur stood by Barry after last week’s effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which Baker Mayfield threw for 381 yards, 4 touchdowns and became the first visiting quarterback to earn a perfect rating of 158.3 in the history of Lambeau Field.
“If I thought that [firing Barry] was the best solution today, then we’d make that decision,” LaFleur said during a December 18 press conference.
The communication didn’t get any better on Sunday in Carolina, which calls into question the message LaFleur sent to the media six days before.
But as Matt Schneidman of The Athletic pointed out after the embarrassing defensive performance against one of the worst teams in the NFL, will LaFleur budge on his plan?