Monday, November 02, 2015

Packers Outplayed In Denver: Lose To Broncos, 29-10

Well at least LB Clay Matthews's ankle injury doesn't appear to be serious. That's about the best thing that can be said about this game. Otherwise they were outplayed on both sides of the ball. But still, it's just one game that doesn't hurt them much (except their pride) because it was a road loss, against an AFC team (so no playoff tiebreakers). It reminded me of their Week 1 loss in 2014 against the Seahawks and obviously they bounced back from it. They'll bounce back this season by taking care of the Panthers next week (a game that does have playoff seeding implications in the NFC) and making sure they win all their upcoming divisional games.
It was frustrating to watch them get outplayed and outcoached. The defense was more outplayed then outcoached. Denver's offensive line has been a mess this season, but the bye week seemed to help them. They're probably more healthy and they also used recently signed OT Tyler Polumbus (who's generally awful) in an odd offensive line rotation that worked on Sunday night. LB Clay Matthews said they wanted to pressure QB Peyton Manning so he'd have to move around the pocket but Manning had good protection and room to step up. Denver was going to be able to run the ball against the Packers (everyone usually can) so it was going to be a long night once they got their passing game working. Losing CB Sam Shields early certainly didn't help, and a terrible game from CB Casey Hayward showed why they used their top two draft picks in 2015 on cornerbacks.

It's rare to see the Packers outplayed and outcoached on offense but it does happen sometimes (in 2014-at Seattle and at Buffalo). The Packers wanted to run the ball and throw quick passes on shorter routes, but the running game wasn't great and the receivers couldn't get open which QB Aaron Rodgers pointed out in his post game interview. Denver's D has been outstanding this season so there aren't any obvious weaknesses in coverage to attack, and they had a physical coverage plan to attack the Packers' receivers. That aggressive plan also led to a bunch of coverage penalties but it also kept the Packers' offense from getting into a rhythm. Maybe going with deeper routes or more passes to Jones and Adams on the sidelines would have helped but that strategy could have led to more hits on Rodgers.

It's disappointing, but looking at the 2015 schedule, if there was going to be one low point on it, this was going to be that low point. Nothing to do now but to forget about it and start getting ready for the Panthers.

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