No Need to Worry that Pack is Peaking Too Early.Posted:Oct 10th, 2016 11:02 am
I'm not quite sure what to make of the Pack's 23-16 win over the Giants.
Let's start with the good: the Pack's opening drive was textbook, taking more than eight minutes off the clock, a 16 play drive that mixed the run and pass and set the tone early. Eddie Lacy ran with authority all night, until an ankle injury ended things for him in the third quarter. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski played a larger role, serving as a lead blocker and being productive on his two carries. Expect to see more of him as the season rolls along.
The offensive line was once again magnificent. Rodgers had time to pen a love letter to Olivia on virtually all of his drop backs. Randall Cobb finally looked like Randall Cobb, making big time catches and showing how dangerous he can be after the catch.
The run defense continues to dominate, forcing Eli Manning's offense to be one dimensional. The pass rush was strong, mitigating the loss of the Pack's two starting corners. The Pack held the Giants' top three receivers to a total of seven catches for 70 yards.
But at the end of the day, the bad stuff sticks with me. After that opening drive, Rodgers' play was mediocre. The first interception wasn't on him, but the second one was and he could have had one or two more. He showed us a number of great throws and made some big plays with his legs, but he completed just over 50% of his passes and despite the great protection and the Giants' injuries in the secondary, he and his receivers were unable to blow the Giants out. I might feel a little differently had the Cobb touchdown not been wiped out by an illegal shift penalty. We're just accustomed to excellence in the passing game and we didn't see it.
Not much to gripe about on the defensive side of the ball, except that the secondary continues to muff chances to get turnovers. They should have had a couple of interceptions against Manning, but couldn't close the deal.
Special teams was spotty. Mason Crosby continues to be completely reliable, but the kick coverage unit had a bad night and the returners seemed unsure of themselves, particularly the kick returners.
With two games in the next 12 days, injuries are becoming a concern. We'll wait to hear the status of Lacy's ankle and Cobb took a massive shot on the game clinching reception. Hopefully, he'll be all right. After a break through performance that showed why he's the NFL's top paid slot receiver, we're anxious to see him build on it.
Bottom line, the Packers showed that with a dominant offensive line and stout run defense they are built to play deep into January. They handled a desperate Giants team despite playing without their top two corners. But we want to see more. They need to be better, with the surprising Cowboys and Falcons coming up before Halloween.
They're winning games but they're not yet playing at a level they'll need to if they want to beat very good teams. At the quarter pole, they're 3-1, which is what was probably expected. But there is work to be done. I guess we don't have to worry that they're peaking too early.