Defense Rises, Rodgers Roars and Packers RollPosted:Sep 21st, 2015 4:34 am
Two weeks into the 2015 NFL season, the Packers have a three game lead on the Seahawks. How's that sound. It sounds like this year's rendition has reversed the trend of slow starts we've seen the last couple of seasons. If the Pack wants to stay at home in January, this is the kind of start they needed.
The ten point win over the Seahawks showed us a lot. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. And defensively, they aced their primary assignment: containing Marshawn Lynch, who was held to 41 yards on 15 carries. Yes, Russell Wilson scampered for 78 on the night, but we'll take that trade any day of the week. Nate Palmer handled the inside linebacker spot and proved to be strong in coverage. And Micah Hyde was solid on the back end, making play after play.
Things got ominous shortly after the Pack opened with an 80 yard TD drive. Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams were carted off with ankle injuries. Adams returned, but Lacy was done. X-rays were negative, so he dodged a major injury, but there's no word on how long he'll be out. James Starks was solid in relief (his fumble didn't prove costly, as the defense forced a punt) and proved he's one of the league's top backups.
We've come to expect near perfection from Rodgers at Lambeau and we got it once again, despite the injuries to Lacy and Adams. The offense stalled for a few drives in the middle of the game, but the Pack got creative with tempo and started moving Randall Cobb around and things starting clicking just in time. Richard Rodgers' TD catch was a great play, working his way open in the end zone. And his two point conversion catch was even better, hanging on despite the pass interference. Rodgers will be a big time red zone target for this team all season.
We can thank Jayrone Elliott for allowing us to R-E-L-A-X for the final five minutes. His interception was a thing of beauty, though coughing it up nearly caused us all to cough up our dinner. But the Pack got the ball back, tacked on a field goal and the lead was 10. Then Elliott served up the dagger with the punch out fumble to end the game. The kid is going to be a factor for this defense.
The Packers just passed a big time early semester exam. The defense responded to an opening week 'C' with a solid 'B+,' doing much better on third downs (holding the 'Hawks to 3-9) and containing Lynch for four quarters. Special teams has also been solid--I was worried that rookie returner Tyler Lockett might turn the field once or twice, but the Pack was up to the challenge.
With three of the next four at home, the Packers have a chance to make an early season statement. The defense will need to continue to grow, especially since the offense is getting more banged up by the week. We haven't sniffed 2-0 for a while. Smells nice.