Monday, September 19, 2016

Packers (1-1) Lose To The Vikings In Minnesota, 17-14

It was infuriating to watch the Green Bay Packers struggle to move the ball, at all, on offense in the first half, and to watch WR Stefon Diggs destroy CB Damarious Randall, but as I look back while writing this article, most of their team played great against the Vikings. Instead there were some key battles that they did not win, and it cost them.


The running game. The Packers aren't giving RB Eddie Lacy a lot of carries, and they aren't using him as a receiver at all, but he's been effective running the ball. One run in particular, LG Lane Taylor (he's no Josh Sitton) was shoved three yards backwards into Lacy, but Lacy cut it back, ran through a couple defenders, and got almost 10 yards on the play. On the flip side, for the second week in a row, their opponent was held to under 2 ypc by the re-vamped front seven (plus the first game for Kenny Clark). The Vikings offensive line didn't have much of a solution to stopping the pass rush either as LB Julius Peppers led the way on 1.5 of their 4 sacks and on 3 of their 10 QB hits. The Vikings couldn't run the ball or protect QB Sam Bradford.

While WR Ty Montgomery did block a punt, the Vikings also pinned the Packers inside the 20 yard line on FIVE other punts. The Packers were killed by field position, and the Vikings had no turnovers on offense to flip the field position in the Packers' advantage.

I don't know if QB Aaron Rodgers throws that pass if it wasn't 3rd down with time running out in the game. They'd been picking successfully on CB Trae Waynes all night for a bunch of interference calls and a TD pass. Except the pass was going WR Davante Adams, who seems to run the softest routes of any of their receivers, and Waynes was able to jump in front of him for the INT. An incompletion wouldn't have been setting up 4th and long, and if there was more time on the clock, my guess is that Rodgers puts more air under that ball where only Adams could catch it. Instead he threw it more in the field of play to give Adams a better chance, and Waynes beat him.

I wish they would take Adams out of the offensive rotation. Whatever good feelings he gave off in Week 1 against the Jaguars, he gave back in this game. And Adams was a disaster last season. In the second half, they started using two TEs as receivers, especially Jared Cook, and the offense seemed to open up. If they want to keep the defense honest with an occasional bomb, send Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb deep and keep Adams off the field.

Damarious Randall. I've been down on him since late last season, and he's still trending downward. With Quinten Rollins also struggling, and Sam Shields out with a concussion, he's at the top of a short list of options to stop their opponent's No. 1 receiver. It was appropriate that he was beaten on the game losing 3rd down attempt and committed interference against Diggs.

It's harsh to beat up two guys (Adams and Randall) for a team loss, this would have been a much different game without all those fumbles for example, but both of them were asked to step up when the team needed them at the end and they came up short. They'll stick with Randall for now, because they don't have a lot of options and he deserves time to turn it around this season, but they need to evaluate what the best role for him is on the team in the future because it might not be at corner. At receiver, they have other options instead of Adams and I hope this game proved that enough is enough with Adams.

Speaking of Adams, his lowest point as a Packer was when he was targeted 21 times for 79 yards last season in their first home loss against the Lions in forever, and next week they face the Lions again in Lambeau. This would be a good time to re-think the offense without Adams in it.

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