In (the other) Aaron We Trust.Posted:Nov 12th, 2018 2:53 pm
Packer fans had waited a long time to watch their favorite team play a game at Lambeau; they've been waiting even longer to see Aaron Jones be featured in the offensive game plan. It was worth the wait.
Jones demonstrated the impact he can make on this offense right from the start, gashing the Dolphins defense for chunks of yards at a time, setting the tone for what turned out to be a solid win against a banged up Dolphins team.
For much of the afternoon, it looked like one of those annoying games where the Pack made some big plays, but made enough mistakes to keep an inferior opponent within striking distance. The fumble by Tramon Williams, the blocked punt: these miscues prevented the Pack from putting the Dolphins away early. Fortunately, the defense stepped up to force field goals--which was great to see, but also what you should expect to see when you're facing a backup QB who has a makeshift offensive line in front of him.
The concern with the defense is the injuries that are starting to pile up--something that gets magnified when you're working on a short week. With Kentrell Brice, Nick Perry and Bashaud Breeland all dropping out, it's safe to assume the defense will be without them in Seattle. The Reservoir Dogs re-enforcements will likely be called on again: Mr. Brown and Mr. Green. Both saw their first significant action on defense, and both Tony Brown and Raven Green made their presence felt. Their test gets a bit more difficult on Thursday when they face Russell Wilson, who rushed for nearly 100 yards against the Rams.
While the defense stepped up as hoped, it was Jones who set the tone early, rushing for 96 yards in the first quarter, fueled by a career long 68 yard run, something we haven't seen 'round these parts since the Ahman Green days. He's now averaging a league best 6.8 yards per carry and his 15 rushing attempts were a season high and seems like the right number to help ensure that his body holds up. at 5'9" and 208, he's not built to pound the rock 25 times a game.
That kind of production on the ground opens everything up for the passing game, including play action, which guys like Goff and Brees are able to flourish with because of their dangerous running games. With the passing game still not clicking on all cylinders, the kind of balance the Pack had on Sunday makes life for Rodgers much easier.
Yet despite all the good things we saw, it was a 14-12 game with 12 minutes to play and when you let teams hang around you can get burned. The Dolphins didn't have the talent to make the Pack pay. They kicked off out of bounds, setting Green Bay up at the 40 and then Rodgers hit the seldom used Marcedes Lewis for 30 yards, sandwiched between a pair of nice Jones runs and the Packers found the end zone quickly to take a nine point lead. A Breeland interception let to another quick score and finally the Pack had the breathing room they needed to waltz to their fourth win of the season and remain unbeaten at home.
But if they are really going to turn things around they're going to need to win a couple road games and with two tough ones coming up in prime time, they need to start now. Seattle will treat Thursday night as if their season's on the line, now that they've dropped to 4-5. With the Pack playing a late afternoon game and then having to board a plane on Tuesday, recovery time is reduced and they'll need to play a whole lot better than what we've seen this season when they're away from home.
With three winnable home games left on the schedule, plus a game they should win at the Jets, the season will likely come down to needing to win at least one more road game: at Seattle, at Minnesota and at Chicago. Might as well take care of that on Thursday night. Continuing to feed the other Aaron would be a good start.