The Packers hosted Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers at Lambeau Field last night. The game was a tale of two halves and left some questions for the offense. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur both acknowledged this and know that they will need to be near perfect to beat a much better opponent next week.
The game started off with pure dominance by the offense. The Packers started the game by scoring on their first three possessions. Rodgers found Tonyan for a one-yard touchdown to start the day. He also ran one in for the second consecutive week and Aaron Jones found pay dirt too. Overall the game started out looking like it would be a blowout. However, the Packers failed to score just before half twice and it carried over to the second half.
The second half by the offense had a lot to do with the struggles of the defense as well. Rodgers and company went three and out twice and punted the three possessions after. The defense, not getting much rest, kept trying to hold Carolina out of the end zone, but they struggled.
The play calling got away from the run game that was dominating in the first half with 156 yards. Matt LaFleur has to stick to what’s working. Davante Adams was double covered all game and the Packers weren’t able to do much through the air. It’s hard to imagine the Titans not doing the same next week. The Packers simply could not protect number 12 as he was sacked five times.
The defense on paper looks like they struggled all game, but it wasn’t the case. The Packers defense played what may be one of its better games of the season. It’s unfortunate that the offense played so poorly when the defense was making plays. In the first half, the Packers held the Panthers to three points and even forced a turnover at the one-yard line. However, three and outs and short fields gifted to them by the offense led to Carolina scoring 16.
Overall the defense only allowed one touchdown. The biggest reason was that the Packers stars came to play. The defense was all over Bridgewater and was making plays in the secondary. The pass rush had three sacks coming from Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos. Amos was a menace in the secondary as well. He finished with three pass deflections and seven tackles. Jaire Alexander also had a great game.
However, the biggest bright spot was the two rookie inside linebackers. Before Krys Barnes left the game with an eye injury he was making plays everywhere. He forced the fumble on Bridgewater and had a tackle for a loss as well. He and Kamal Martin both fly to the ball and make impact plays. If those two can continue to improve the Packers may have hit on two gems.
The Packers didn’t have their best performance on offense but there are a few bright spots. First, it’s very good to see the team pull off a win even when the offense has an off day. Second, Aaron Jones is still the same beast he’s always been. His usage has been down, but last night Matt Lefleur unleashed him with Jamal Williams going down. Lastly, the offense isn’t downplaying the poor performance. It’s a good sign seeing them take accountability and planning to right the ship before a heavyweight fight with the Titans next Sunday night.