A Game of Inches.

The setting was perfect. The snowflakes were falling, the crowd was going crazy and the Panthers were two yards away from a potential game-tying touchdown at Lambeau. The entire galaxy knew that Christian McCaffrey was getting the ball. Standing in his way: the Packers’ defense, which had just allowed the Panthers to march 89 yards down the field, setting them up for this moment.

And what do you know? The Pack got the stop, barely. After giving the Panthers extra chances with mind-numbing penalties in the closing seconds, they did just enough to keep McCaffrey short of the goal line. We think. There was no camera angle that proved that he got in, but he might have. Had they ruled touchdown on the field, they wouldn’t have been able to overturn it. Give the defense credit: yes, McCaffrey got his 100 yards, but they avoided giving up explosive plays and took the ball away a couple of times–and that was the difference in the game.

The Packers were the more productive running team on this day, led by Aaron Jones’ 93 yards on just 13 carries. Jamaal Williams chipped in another 63 and that productive running attack allowed Aaron Rodgers to hit some big plays downfield, including a huge 48 yarder to Jimmy Graham and a number of connections to Davante Adams, who finally looked like Davante Adams again.

Yes, the Pack caught a break on the roughing the passer penalty on Rodgers in the end zone in the second quarter. A punt there could have set up the Panthers in good field position. Instead, the Packers were given new life and marched down the field until they were stopped on fourth and goal on the final play of the half (I loved the aggressiveness there, even though it didn’t work out). The Panthers had caught a break earlier on the fictional offensive pass interference call on Allen Lazard, which ended a Packer drive.

Remember back when the season started, we hoped/expected that Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdez-Scantling would step into expanded roles as the #2 and #3 wide receivers. The reality is that they are afterthoughts in this offense. MVS didn’t catch a pass and Gmo caught three for six yards. Instead, Lazard and Jake Kumerow have earned Rodgers’ confidence and are earning bigger roles in this offense each week.

Defensively, the Smiths continue to be difference makers, with Preston Smith now at ten sacks, notching two more on Sunday. The Pack’s beefed up pass rush is probably the biggest reason this team is 8-2, that and the improved run game. When Matt LaFleur remembers to commit to the run, the offense hums.

It wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t perfect, but the Pack responded from their flat performance in LA with a steady performance in their only home game in November–a game they absolutely had to win as they head into their bye week. With the Vikings exorcizing their demons by winning a prime time road game against a winning team, the Pack’s lead remains just one game in the North. There’s a good chance that after week 12, both teams will be 8-3 heading into December, when the schedule turns to the Vikings’ favor.

For now, the Packers have two weeks to prepare for the unbeaten 49ers, a great test that will give us an idea how seriously we can take this team in the post-season. But sitting at 8-2 at the bye is more than we could have asked for. This team is healthy, Rodgers is playing well and their defense is making big plays when they need them. That’s the recipe for a winning team.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A Game of Inches.

  1. Rick says:

    Glad Pack was able to pull this game out. Obviously, the defense has some holes. Where are Gary and Burks and what are their roles going forward?

  2. lynndickeyfan says:

    Larry is right about the defense. I wonder about King. He has been so up and down. They really went after him and he played it safe. I saw late they flip flopped and Alexander got caught on too, but he was much closer to the receiver. I’m wondering if King might not like the snow and cold. I think we easily could have lost this game in OT. What I’m really bothered about is the delay of game calls. I thought I was told we needed to get the play in early, so we could get to the line. Something is wrong there. This season is weird. It doesn’t feel anything like the Ray Rhodes year. It doesn’t feel anything like the 15 and 1 year. If feels like the LaFleur has a lot to learn, a scary amount. At this point I neither like or dislike the guy, I just don’t know which way it’s going to go.

  3. larry says:

    thanks LDF, I do think THC is wrong on biggest difference this year. It’s not the pressure, even though is is better. It’s the turnovers. Our run d was a lot better last year then this also.. Last year we had 7 int’s all year, we now have 9. those turnovers decide the games, said it all year. By the way, great call on score again Dave. You were close. Can anybody tell me why you go for 2 when you can get to 7 with 10 minutes left in the game? idiot. As I said, I was wrong on score,, but said only way they would win is to be plus 2 in turnovers, what happened? We seem to be a 500 team and some how are winning. I love it, But Like LDF said. it’s seems weird. Would have been nice to see the boys win last night. They throw the ball 60 yards to get to the 12 in last drive., and then try and run twice, Idiot again. Throw the ball, that is how you beat the vikings. We may have gotten lucky, but so did the vikes. Fun games ., enjoy the season. Go Packers , stay out of trouble.

  4. shot says:

    Dave S. – what do you mean your not sure if CMC got in or not? When Van Roten reached down to grab him and try to drag CMC across the goal line, you knew he wasn’t in. The ball wasn’t close. The ViQueens had to hold off the Cowboys at the end too. The Packers defeated the Cowboys better than the Queens. I don’t see the Queens winning in Seattle Dave. Their lack of depth in the O-line is catching up to them too.

    Bye comes at a perfect time for the Packers. It allows the nagging injuries in the secondary to heal. Sinny should have had Kenny Clark on his list for game ball too. He gets to rest his calf too.

  5. Tim says:

    Dave,
    It has been a fun first season in what I expected to be a full blown rebuilding year. I still think vikings will win this division but it should be a close finish. The defense still has holes and it seems like this Lafleur offense is catching on. Aaron jones is clearly a top back in this league. Hoping for another win in SF, should be a great test!

  6. Lanes rover says:

    Didn’t like the end of first half,take the field goal after a gift penalty and also let 9 seconds run off before calling timeout,otherwise go Pack go!!

  7. Elroy from Elroy says:

    The Vikings looked UN-stoppable Sunday night in their win over the Cowboys ! ___ This has created a paradigm shift in my thinking about football. ___ I am now ‘officially’ a VIKINGS fan !__ SkÃ¥l !!!

  8. Bud Grant says:

    That’s great and smart Elroy from Elroy,they’ve never won a thing!!! Like I said it’s a real stupid fan base and organization!!!😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  9. Bud Grant says:

    Elroy from Elroy I had to go take a nap,glad to have you aboard the purple train,losers always accept losers,enjoy the ride!!!

  10. AdamZ says:

    Dave S. – what do you mean your not sure if CMC got in or not? When Van Roten reached down to grab him and try to drag CMC across the goal line, you knew he wasn’t in. The ball wasn’t close. The ViQueens had to hold off the Cowboys at the end too. The Packers defeated the Cowboys better than the Queens. I don’t see the Queens winning in Seattle Dave. Their lack of depth in the O-line is catching up to them too. Bye comes at a perfect time for the Packers. It allows the nagging injuries in the secondary to heal. Sinny should have had Kenny Clark on his list for game ball too. He gets to rest his calf too.

    shot
    —————
    Who cares if the Packers beat the Cowboys better…a Win is a Win. Did the Packers beat the Eagles? The Vikings did. It’s really dumb using arguments like that. Fact is the Vikings offense is playing better, The Vikings and Packers defense is playing worst. Your obviously bias if you don’t think it will be close at the end because the Vikings ‘Didn’t beat the Cowboys better’.

  11. lynndickeyfan says:

    Well , the game is right around the corner. This is a rare opportunity to see if LaFleur has made the right adjustments after his last trip out west. This is a much different trip in any case. This is not a trap game. It is being hyped and for good reason. Although it is not a must win for either team, it will certainly help greatly when it comes to home field and respect.
    I expect the 49ers to run a half a dozen screens in the game and it matter greatly if our linebackers can sniff them out. The Smiths need to apply more pressure than Arizona was able to and maybe Jimmy will give us one with that. Offensively we are going to need to be creative, get Jones in space and find the wide outs down the sidelines. The defense needs to make Larry question his opinion and do a little more than bend but don’t break, especially late. I think we all want to see them be able to stuff the run before we get very comfortable with them. Carolina was a shade too close to be called comfortable.

    The 49ers have a quality defense and weapons on offense. This should be a hell of a game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Protected by WP Anti Spam