R-E-L-A-X, Pack Back on Track

Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers and Kyle Fuller of the Chicago BearsFor only the second time in history, an NFL game went an entire 60 minutes without a single punt.

The Green Bay Packers won their second game of the season 38-17 against the Chicago Bears in a game that featured a combined 854 yards, 55 points, and a lack of defense by both teams.

The Packers defense showed a playing style that reminds us a lot of what we saw in 2011 and their bend don’t break mentality. Give up a ton of yards, but force turnovers. That was the case Sunday when they gave up nearly 500 yards, but only allowed 17 points. It worked three years ago, so we can only hope it will work again.

Packers’ safety HaHa Clinton Dix did make a huge play right before the half when he kept Bears tight-end Martellus Bennett from crossing the goal line as the clock hit zero. This is the second straight week that he has made an impact and second straight week that I am talking about him. After failing to receive any safety help back in 2013, it is great to see Clinton-Dix continue to make plays each week.

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved he knew what he was talking about when he told everyone in Packer nation to R-E-L-A-X. They were phenomenal in all four quarters and moved the ball more efficiently than they did against Detroit.

Rodgers had the ball in his hands for most of the offensive snaps and led the Packers to six scores on seven drives.

To win a Super Bowl in today’s NFL, a team either needs an elite quarterback or an elite defense, and lucky for the Packers, they have one of those.

Aaron Rodgers and David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay PackersRodgers is no doubt the best Quarterback in the league. His ability to move around in the pocket, throw on the run, and zip the ball into tight windows makes him more deadly than anyone in the league (Yes, even Payton Manning). If the defense can at least be average and can continue to force turnovers, this team can beat anyone.

Randall Cobb, who called his play “embarrassing” last week, stepped up big, tallying more than 100 yards and finally gave Rodgers a viable second option behind Nelson. Nelson has been the brightest spot on the offense so far and is leading the NFL with 459 receiving yards, but the re-emergence of Cobb is what makes this offense what they were against the Bears, and not what we saw against the Lions.

This Thursday marks the third straight game against an NFC North opponent for the Pack as they head back to Lambeau to play the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings (2-2) are fresh off a victory against the Atlanta Falcons and have a new starting quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. With Adrian Peterson most likely not playing, it is a game that the Packers will be favored in and should win.

What do you think about the Packers victory over the Bears? Are you concerned about the defense or do you think they’ll improve? Do you think the offense will continue to dominate like we saw Sunday? Leave a comment!

Down In the Motor City

Suh of the Detroit Lions and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay PackersIn recent years, the Packers defense and defensive coordinator Dom Capers usually get the bulk of the blame after a Packers loss. However, the script flipped Sunday as the offense fell flat and only scored seven points against a shorthanded Detroit defense.

The Packers lost their second game of the season 19-7 in Detroit on Sunday. The loss left a frustrated feeling as head coach Mike McCarthy continued his streak of questionable play calling for the third straight week.

The Packers need to get off to faster starts, but it won’t be possible if McCarthy is stuck on calling running plays on first and second down, and one passing play before they hit fourth down. The offense couldn’t stay on the field against Detroit, and the play calling was definitely one of the reasons why.

Aaron Rodgers needs the ball in his hands more often, but it seems like McCarthy doesn’t realize that he has one of the best quarterbacks in the league. It was ridiculous to watch him repeatedly hand the ball off for little to no gain on what seemed like every drive.

Eddie Lacy fell short for the third straight week, but I’m still going to blame it on bad match ups. The Lions defensive front is no doubt the strongest area of their defense led by Fairly and Suh, which is why it’s still perplexing that the Packers didn’t throw the ball more. The Lions secondary is missing a handful of starters and the Packers arguably would have been way better off trying to attack them there.

The running game needs help, and Randal Cobb could be a huge asset if the Packers would take a page out of Seattle’s book and use him the way they use Percy Harvin. Some Jet Sweeps could result in big plays and add in a whole new dimension to the offense that would give opposing defenses even more to worry about.

Something that shouldn’t go unnoticed in this loss however, is the significant improvement of the defense. The Lions may have scored 19 points, but the defense only allowed 10 of those. They forced three turnovers and kept Matthew Stafford under pressure throughout the game. They did a good job stuffing the run for the most part, and limited the big plays allowed to an explosive Lions offense.

Julius Peppers made his first huge play with the green and gold in the third quarter that kept the Packers in the game. Down 12-7 with Detroit driving and in the red zone, he stripped the ball out of Stafford’s hands and recovered the fumble, earning part of that 27 million dollar contract he signed in the offseason.

HaHa Clinton-Dix of the Green Bay Packers HaHa Clinton-Dix also made a big play early in the game by getting his first NFL pick off a tipped pass in the first quarter. It was the first interception by a Packers safety since the 2012 season and hopefully a sign of big things to come for the rookie.

The Packers will go on the road for the second straight week next Sunday as they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. It will be Peppers first game against his old team and there is no doubt he will be ready to play. It is funny to think that in one week the concern of this team has completely switched from defense to offense, but if the play calling can improve to where they can just stay on the field, this team should be just fine.

What do you think of the improved defense and sudden lack of offense? Are you frustrated with Mike McCarthy’s play calling? Do you think the Packers will be able to put it all together to go on a string of wins over the next few weeks? Leave a comment!

The Pack Come Roaring Back

Packers players celebrate after scoring against the Jets. Well that’s probably not how the coaches drew it up, but the Packers will take a victory like that any day.

The Packers faced off against the Jets Sunday afternoon in their home opener at Lambeau field looking to bounce back from an embarrassing showing in Seattle just 10 days earlier.

The game consisted of a less than desirable opening that included a fumbled snap on the center exchange between Aaron Rodgers and Corey Linsley on the first play from scrimmage. The Jets recovered and quickly drove a short 16 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Defense looked awful early in the game allowing three touchdowns on the Jets first three drives and soon found themselves down 21-3 in the 2nd quarter. Social media erupted with demands to fire the defensive coordinator Dom Capers as Packer fans openly voiced their frustration on poor play by the defense, along with frustration at the questionable play calling by head coach Mike McCarthy on the offensive side of the ball.

The Packers needed a big play, and it finally came with 2 minutes left in the first half when Tramon Williams intercepted a wobbly Geno Smith pass at the Packers 3 yard line. Down 21-9 the Packers offense drove 97 yards and scored their first touchdown of the game on a pass from Rodgers to Cobb to go into halftime down 21-16.

It was a tale of two halves for the defense as the Packers came out stuffing the Jets run game and swatting away passes. Unlike the first half, they were able to get off the field on third downs and give the offense their opportunities.

The offense continued to build off their momentum and completed the 18 point comeback when Rodgers tossed his second touchdown of the game to Cobb with 5:45 left in the third quarter. They converted the 2 point conversion and took their first lead of the game, going up 24-21.

Jordy Nelson scores on Dee Milliner on an 80 yard touchdown pass from Aaron RodgersThe Jets proceeded to tie the game at 24 on the next drive, but Jordy Nelson broke the game open soon after when he beat cornerback Dee Milliner with a double move and scored on an 80 yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to reclaim the lead for good at 31-24.

Rodgers finished the game completing 25 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown, while Nelson finished with a career high 209 yards and a touchdown.

The defense held for the entire 4th quarter and sealed the game by knocking down a 4th down pass from Geno Smith to Jeremy Kerley. The Packers bled out the final 3 minutes, gaining their first victory of the season.

The Packers showed all the qualities of a championship team by fighting back from a slow start, playing tough defense, and converting explosive plays on offense. The running game still needs to show some consistency, but it should improve in the coming weeks as the matchups become more favorable.

Next week the Packers will have to endure another tough test as they travel to Detroit to battle with the Lions. It will be the first divisional game of the season for the Packers and Lions, and Detroit will be looking to bounce back after an ugly defeat in Carolina. Both teams are 1-1 and will be fighting for the division lead and bragging rights.

So what are your thoughts on the Packers victory over the Jets? Are you worried about the lack of a running game or do you think the Packers will figure it out? Are you for or against Dom Capers? Leave a comment!

Packers Plummet in Seattle

Final Score: Packers 16 Seattle 36

***UPDATE*** Bryan Bulaga has a sprained MCL and should not miss much time.  

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Michael Bennett of the Seattle SeahawksThe 2014 NFL season has begun. No more excuses and no more waiting around and hoping things will get better. The time has come for results and last night in Seattle was a significant setback for the Packers who lost their third straight season opener in a row.

The Packers unraveled in the hostile environment that is the Seattle last night from a more physical and more dominant team. They allowed 207 rushing yards, committed unacceptable penalties, and did not have an answer for the physical running style of Marshawn Lynch and versatility of Percy Harvin (which the Packers better have taken note for new ways to use Randal Cobb). The offense could not get much of a running game going and also restricted themselves to only half of the field by not throwing a pass towards Richard Sherman all night. Because of this, they failed to gain and sustain momentum throughout the game.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers played average at best, but the most surprising fact of the game to most would have to be he and McCarthy ignoring the right side of the field all night. The Packers lined up Jarrett Boykin against Sherman on most plays because they and everyone else knows that Richard Sherman does not follow the best receiver. Jordy Nelson lined up against Byron Maxwell all game and finished with 9 catches for 83 yards, but when you make the number one defense in the league play only half the field, it’s just going to amplify their strengths.

Richard Sherman of the Seattle SeahawksNow I don’t believe that Richard Sherman is the best corner in the league. The collective effort of the defense which includes two top safeties and an effective pass rush makes him look better than he really is. But if you’re not even going to try to throw towards him once? It sure made him look like the best. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league and Jordy Nelson is an underrated top receiver. If the Packers wanted to beat Seattle in Seattle, they had to match up the best against the best, and it is extremely disappointing that they didn’t try.

The Packers also sustained two more significant injuries last night with the loss of Eddie Lacy to a concussion, and Bryan Bulaga to a knee injury. It is unclear how much time either will miss at the moment, but Eddie Lacy missed only one game when he sustained a concussion last year, and the common consensus is that Bryan Bulaga dodged the bullet and did not receive a significant knee injury. Based on the play of Derek Sherrod, I’m hoping he heals up sooner rather than later.

Putting this all into perspective, remember that it’s only week one and the Packers will learn from this loss. A loss like this one always stings but it’s much better that this lesson is learned in week one than in the playoffs. They did show a few good things to go with the bad on defense which included an effective and disruptive pass rush. If the defense can learn to tackle more effectively they should improve as the season continues. The offense should go back to spreading the field against the Jets weak corners next week and the Packers should be able to get their first win of the season.

What do you think of the Packers loss against Seattle? Are you worried or do you think the Packers will be fine? Do you believe that they should have matched up Jordy Nelson with Richard Sherman or do you agree with their game plan? Leave a comment!