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2016 NFL Season Featured game analysis

Packers Beat Lions in Tale of Two Halves

After a week of criticism and perhaps premature death pronouncements, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense showed up for one half at Lambeau Field today. It was ONLY one half, but it was enough.

Bringing up memories of 2014, the Packers offense threatened to bury another opponent at home by scoring on every first half drive, including three straight touchdowns to open the game.

We need a running game? Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy continue to scoff at your ignorance. The Packers came out, spread the Detroit Lions out and threw the ball around. Their three touchdown drives to start the game featured 10 passes and four runs.

The Lions appeared to play a lot of zone defense in the first half, probably in an attempt to protect the backups they were playing at linebacker, and they paid the price for it. Twice in the first three drives they lost track of the slot receiver. On the first, Randall Cobb, on his only catch of the game, went for 33 yards to set up the Packers’ first score. On the Packers’ second possession, Jordy Nelson went for 49 yards on the first play of the drive. On the following 3rd and 8 from the 9, Rodgers found Nelson for the score that put the Packers ahead 14-3.

The lead quickly ballooned to 21-3 after a deep ball for Trevor Davis netted a pass interference call that gave the Packers the ball at the Lions’ 2. Rodgers threw his third touchdown of the game on the next play to Richard Rodgers.

It appeared to be another laugher at Lambeau against the Lions when Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a 17-yard go route to put the Packers ahead 31-3 near the end of the first half.

However, that’s when everything positive for the Packers, except for Eddie Lacy, pretty much ended for the day.

We knew the Packers’ young secondary would be tested again and that a pass rush without Clay Matthews and Datone Jones could be hard to come by. Except for the supreme efforts of Nick Perry, all that was true and then some. The Packers’ secondary seemed to take turns falling asleep, and Matt Stafford rang up 385 yards against them.

The most ridiculous failing came right before half, when a quick strike that never should have happened could have been the turning point in the game. With only 42 seconds left in the half, the Packers’ secondary inexplicably gave up a 73-yard score to Marvin Jones. Josh Hawkins, getting his first action, first stumbled and then assumed Jones would go out of bounds. Kentrell Brice, the safety on that side of the field, showed remarkably poor situational awareness by cheating up on the tight end and allowing Jones to get behind him.

The Lions got the max out of the consecutive possessions around halftime by scoring a touchdown coming out of the half. Those touchdowns changed the complexion of the second half.

Fortunately for the defense, the Packers offense managed to run out the clock to save the 34-27 victory.

Until I see a more even performance, against an at least average defense, I am going to withhold judgement on the Packers offense being “back” in any sense of the word. Obviously, all of Packers Nation is also concerned with a secondary that has given three straight quarterbacks their best games of the season so far.

That being said, winning at home and within the division is all that matters at this point. The Packers offense at least showed up for a half more than they did against the Vikings, and that is an improvement.

Ultimately, Rodgers finally put up a rating over 100 (129), even if his yardage total was more of the same (205). Eddie Lacy got over 100 yards (103), and probably most encouraging, Jordy Nelson had a good game (6, 101, 2 TDs).

As for the defense, getting some guys back healthy after the bye would help.

The Packers will now head into the bye week at 2-1 and solidly in second place in the division. Long ways to go, but before the bye is always a great time to get a win. Nothing is much worse than dwelling on a loss for two weeks.

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Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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24 Comments

  1. TyKo Steamboat September 25, 2016

    The haters were all over D. Randall last week but he showed he is one of the league’s best up & coming corners. Hard to defend the perfect pass …

    There was a PI penalty early on against Detriot that was bogus. The Kittens always seem to get screwed in Lambeau

    Tip of the cap to Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Nick Perry (the most underrated Packer) & my main man Blake Martinez who is soon going to be a cult hero.
    Don’t be so hard on our secondary, we were in “bend but don’t break” mode.

    Obviously, Super Bowl winning head coach Mike McCarthy got down in the trenches in the Don Hudson center & taught these boys the process of using proper pad level.

    1. Zwoeger September 26, 2016

      I do’nt hate Randall I just saw and said verry early in his career he would be bad in coverage and he still is.
      This game I was thinking how does he do that missing all that coverage. That interception was like that one coverage when he was thinking the ball was falling into his hands. Well it did. Needs to be replaced asap but then teams will attack Rollins. Luckely they were not exploiting hime even more.

      Liked that Montgomery knew that out of bounds rule wich I did’nt nore did the anouncers.
      I also liked AR had that confident look again and that we won altough I was thinking here we go again.You know having coaching with a tendency to screw things in the fourth quarter if not earlyier.

  2. Remedy September 25, 2016

    Sad to see Randall and Rollins look so shaky. They did not improve nearly as much as I’d hoped. Pretty clear what Shields brings to the team.

    Hyde got worked several times by Ebron, showing once again that he’s too slow to cover athletic TE’s.

    I’m not the biggest fan of Burnett, but when he’s out it seems like the secondary is usually in complete disarray. Bad situation.

  3. Kato September 25, 2016

    My biggest grievance of Mike McCarthy coached teams, they cant seem to shut teams down once they are up.

  4. gort September 25, 2016

    D. Randall had 1 great play, but didn’t look so good for most of the rest of the day. The other corners didn’t look much better and help from the safeties was too late too often. The offense had a great half, but only put up 3 points in the final 30 minutes. That was barely enough today & will not be enough against a better team. A win is always great, but the Packers got real lucky that the Lions didn’t tie the game because they had all the momentum and likely would have scored twice to steal a win.

  5. Empacador September 25, 2016

    Nice to see the fans booing about the offense in the second half. Seems as though they wanted to put the Lions away and have grown tired of the stale offense like most of us.

  6. Deepsky September 25, 2016

    Perry is going to be paid a lot of money at the e d of the season

    1. Empacador September 25, 2016

      Yes, if he can stay healthy. He has been impressive to date.

      1. TyKo Steamboat September 25, 2016

        “Stay healthy” … So if he drinks his orange juice & takes a multi-vitamin

        Or, if someone rolls up his leg from behind, albeit by a stoke of bad luck, he will then be “unhealthy”

        1. Empacador September 26, 2016

          Does remain lucky thus injury free work better? Misfortune and unlucky has been his career to date with regard to injuries. Considering he has yet to play in 16 consecutive regular season games in his career to date. But you already knew that.

          1. TyKo Steamboat September 26, 2016

            I know what you meant, man. I’m being smartass I just hate that term

            A guy falls to the ground & hits his elbow on a helmet, smashes it, is out for 3 weeks & termed “unhealthy”

            Clay Matthews hurts a thumb or a hamstring, doesn’t play & he gets a pass for some reason. Nick Perry is better against the run than clay, is younger & maybe physically stronger, yet clay gets a pass for some reason…

          2. Empacador September 26, 2016

            Tyko Steamboat-I figured as much on the smart ass thing. It’s all good. I understand the hate for a term. Mine is “gas left in the tank”. WTF these guys are running on Sunoco racing fuel?

            Funny thing is in this article http://www.foxsports.com/wisconsin/story/green-bay-packers-2012-top-pick-perry-at-crossroads-after-surgery-option-not-picked-up-061615 Perry himself said “As long as I can stay healthy, I’ll be just fine.” Vitamins and OJ it is! Ha ha!

  7. John Smith September 25, 2016

    I saw a completely different offense out there, this offense had more plays designed for Rodgers to hit those quick throws. MM probably ditched the scrambling drills and told Rodgers to just throw the ball out fast. Then they didn’t give up on Lacy. This is the offense I’ve been wanting to see, and about the second half. The Packers only scored 3 points, but they moved the ball well, plus a drop and some costly penalties made sure the packers weren’t going to be sustaining any long drives.

    1. ay hombre September 26, 2016

      It was all because Detroit foolishly played zone in the first half. That’s why all that stuff was working. No other reason.

  8. Vano Lucas September 26, 2016

    I too was disappointed in our second half pass defense, but with that many injured starters out and young guys with no experience being stuck in there like band-aids, I’m not so sure. Hope we can use the bye week to get these starters healthy again and then let’s see what happens with the D.

  9. ay hombre September 26, 2016

    I just want to say we’re pretty lucky to have Shawn do this stuff. I think this was without question the finest piece of journalism I read on this game. And if you haven’t checked out the podcast, his insight on that is just as glowing. Just as long as Monty has just started drinking…and not wrapping up his drinking day. Always good stuff. I highly recommend.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some news organization wised up and wanted to make Shawn a part of their team. Dude is on the money.

    1. Empacador September 26, 2016

      Ay Hombre-so what is this thing with the sssslurp replies you have going on?

      1. PF4L September 27, 2016

        Ssssssluuuurrp

        1. Empacador September 28, 2016

          Alright I give up. Makes zero sense to me but whatever.

  10. Icebowl September 26, 2016

    I am one-half convinced QB1 and the O are back…
    Very concerning that Randall continues to look totally lost and will be the focus of game film studies by high-passing opponents throughout the 2016 campaign…. He’s facilitated huge back-to-back games by Bradford, Butterball, Diggs and Jones. …

    I have no doubt Randall is a great athlete with tons of potential. Good coaching spots this problem and finds a way to deal with it, before giving up on the guy.. How often have we seen ex-Packers do well after joining other teams.

    Injuries aside The secondary seems to be GBs achilles heel right now. In general seems to play much looser than many other teams.

    I would consider hiring Sir Charles as your secondary coach to work w a group of young, potentially highly talented athletes…

    On offense, as stated by others GB needs to stop the history of going into coast mode after stacking early points… I’ve seen it happen too many times and never want to experience a repeat of The-Playoff-Game-That-Cannot-Be-Named……..

  11. Kato September 26, 2016

    Randall becoming the second coming of Ahmad Carrol is very concerning.

    1. Empacador September 26, 2016

      Marvin Jones and Stefon Diggs are currently 1-2 in receiving yards thanks in no small part to Randall. I don’t know if I’d call him Ahmad Carroll yet. I haven’t seen him getting all grabby like Carroll.

    2. Icebowl September 27, 2016

      Scary thought….

  12. Killer September 26, 2016

    Randall was a safety in college and should have remained a safety. Quick, name three college safeties who were converted to CB in the NFL and became pro bowlers. I’ll wait…

    I will say Diggs and Jones are pro bowl caliber WRs even if they have yet to make it and Randall played great in game 1. I’d like Randall on my team but only as a safety.

    Ay Hombre made a great point above about the Lions being foolish to play zone vs. the Packers. The formula has been set — play man to man and Rodgers looks like a below average QB. He has not been able to overcome it. Play zone and Rodgers is an HOFer. Incredibly, it really is just that simple.

    Why? I do not KNOW but I THINK it is because Rodgers is so reliant on hanging onto the ball — in zone it is easy for players to be “lost” by the defense and for receivers to find soft open areas. In man to man — with a couple extras running around creating wildcards — players are covered. Even further, what defenses need to do and mostly are doing, is just rushing guys, no blitz. That leaves 7 guys in coverage on 5, 4, or 3 receiving options. Essentially, many of the receiving options are double-covered.

    It is really fascinating because most QBs thrive on man to man coverage if they get a little time. Not Rodgers. In his great years teams thought they had to put a lot of pressure on him and played a lot of zone. The vast majority of his completions were uncontested. This made both him and his receivers look much better than they really were.

    I think the first half against Detroit is going to be more of an exception. The majority reality will be ugly.