The More Things Change...Posted:Nov 2nd, 2020 1:51 pm
2020 has been a year unlike any we have ever seen. So much has changed in the world. How ironic that one thing that has remained the same is the Pack's inability to stop the run. And if they can't figure it out, there will be no deep run through the NFC in January.
On a blustery afternoon at Lambeau, where everyone in the world knew the Vikings offense would revolve around Dalvin Cook, Mike Pettine's defense looked completely lost. And while the Packers were missing two of their best players on offense, the defense was missing just one starter (CB Kevin King). And yet the amount of missed tackles was staggering. Cook's long touchdown reception looked strikingly similar to Alvin Kamara's in week 3. It was a scary performance by the defense--fitting for Halloween weekend.
There's been so much angst about the Packers trading for wide receiver before the trade deadline, but the truth is this team would be far better served by trying to find a defensive lineman (like Geno Atkins of Cincinnati).
Watching the electric Dalvin Cook skate past defenders brought back memories of Raheem Mostert in last year's title game. You know the 49ers, who run a similar offense to that of Minnesota, are licking their chops, even though they don't have a back of Cook's pedigree. Let's not forget Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry will be coming to Lambeau later in the season. You can't be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender if you can't stop the run. Simple as that.
Credit Mike Zimmer and his staff for bouncing back from a demoralizing loss to the Falcons, and listening to a lot of noise from the outside about tanking and cleaning house. With two weeks to stew about their predicament, the Vikings played with a sense of urgency and aggressiveness that the Packers did not match. Their undermanned defense stiffened in the second half, doing all they could to dare someone other than Davante Adams to beat them.
Sure, it would have been nice to have Aaron Jones out there on a day when passing was difficult, but the Pack's offense should have been able to make do. Penalties were a problem all afternoon (nine for 95 yards). The production at tight end was solid, but in the second half it seemed like the offense was not quite in sync; it seemed like they were facing third and fourth down situations every few minutes. And on a day when they needed their other wide receivers to step, they didn't, even though they were competing against a bunch of unproven rookies.
A lot of you are probably upset that the officials picked up the pass interference flag late in the game on a fourth and nine--I know Rodgers and LaFleur were furious--but I thought it was the right call. I just feel like in a big spot like that, you got to let guys play and I didn't see much more than a hand on a hip.
We'll learn a lot about this team on Thursday night. They've yet to lose back to back games under LaFleur and have been installed as two to three point favorites against the banged up 49ers. If they can put this stinker behind them and rise up on a short week and take care of business, things will be looking up with a winnable batch of games on the horizon. But if they let Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty run all over them, this team will no longer look like one to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender.
There are re-enforcements coming on offense with the imminent returns of Bakhtiari, Jones and Lazard. But barring a trade deadline miracle, this is the defense we will see for the rest of the season. Feels like we've watched this movie before.