Monday, November 09, 2015

I've Got The Two Game Losing Streak Blues: Packers Lose at Carolina, 37-29

I was expecting a lot better from the Green Bay Packers, who followed up their worst loss of the season (at Denver last week) with their worst half of the season (first half against the Panthers). The Panthers were outplaying them on the offensive and defensive lines. They couldn't get anywhere near QB Cam Newton or protect QB Aaron Rodgers. The secondary couldn't cover and the Packers' receivers weren't getting open.

The good news is that they came out in the second half and played the style of game I'd rather see them play. No more JC Tretter at tight end. Instead they spread out their receivers and started attacking down field. The offensive line still struggled but they weren't allowing free releases on blitzes up the middle anymore. The long touchdown pass to WR Randall Cobb that got them started wasn't anything exotic, a good old wheel route that left the cornerback a step flat footed, but it'd been a while since Rodgers even attempted a pass like that. What was looking like another embarrassing blowout turned into a near comeback.
There are still problems on offense, especially at tackle, and their conversion rate on 3rd down remains terrible. They had almost as many conversions on 4th down (2) as 3rd (3). The running game didn't help but it was better in their previous two games. WR Davante Adams finally came alive, which helps because spreading out with multiple receivers in the shotgun is their best formation at the moment. It would also help if WR Ty Montgomery could return next week.

As for the defense, their pass rush has vanished over the past three games and it's turned them into one of the worst (if not the worst) defense in the NFL over that time. The secondary will get better once CB Sam Shields returns but they've got to find their pass rush. They rarely made Newton move around in the pocket and they finished the game with no sacks. Their defense goes into funks, especially on the road (remember back to 2014 when they got overwhelmed by the Saints in New Orleans), but it's something they could snap out of quickly.

It's time to dump these last two games down the memory hole. It'll all be a distant memory if they win their next four games, which are all divisional, including two Thursday games. Taking care of the division and winning those four alone will win them the NFC North and put them into the playoffs.

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