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Packers Escape Their Errors, Beat Former Packer Doug Pederson’s Eagles

In a game that included historic records for Aaron Rodgers, the Packers still needed late game heroics from the defense and RB Aaron Jones to seal a victory. If you turned this game on in the last 15 minutes, you would not believe that this Packer team looked unstoppable in the second quarter. Sunday’s game uniquely displayed a different side of this Packer team in each quarter.

In the first quarter the Packers defense looked vulnerable to the run. The Eagles seemed to focus their running attack at and around Preston Smith. While faltering nearing the Red Zone, the Eagles controlled the ball for most of the quarter and led the game as the second quarter started, 3-0. The Packer’s first play on offense saw Aaron Jones recovering his own fumble on a pitch play that lost six yards. Their second play resulted in a sack by Javon Hargrave who softly planted Rodgers in the backfield for a loss of seven more. Packer fans had an uncomfortable feeling, remembering last year’s Eagle triumph.

Dec 6, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter showed the potential this Green Bay team has when they execute. Aaron Rodgers finished the first half with the best completion percentage, for a half, of his career. That is an MVP statement from an MVP candidate. Drives of 88 yards and 82 yards both led to touchdowns. Davante Adams played inspired football the entire game. Only a missed opportunity on a very difficult potential touchdown pass thrown over his head and opposite shoulder in the third quarter could keep his day from being perfect. That uncomfortable Packer fan feeling disappeared by halftime but came back with a vengeance in the 4th quarter.

Adam’s spectacular catches did not inspire his wide receiver group in the second half. If Rodgers loses the MVP race, we may look back to the second half of this game as one of the reasons. The Packers receivers left close to 100 yards off the stat sheet with drops. The drops seemed to be contagious. Marquez Valdez-Scantling’s was the worst, 55 yards wiped off the books. Tonyan then forgot to turn around on the next play and the pass sailed right by him. The Packers punted. While the Packers scored six points in the third on a devastating 99 yard touchdown drive, drops were becoming contagious in the third and fourth quarters. Before the game was done Lazard and St. Brown joined the drop party. Then Crosby missed what seemed at the time a meaningless extra point. Right?

Even when the defense gave up a touchdown after Jalen Hurts replaced the ineffective Carson Wentz the Packers still seemed to be in control. But three bad offensive plays, including a delay of game penalty, was followed by another touchdown gift by the Punt Team. Suddenly, this game was a stressful event.

In the middle of this Packer gift-fest was JK Scott’s attempted tackle. A mirror image of his attempt against the Jaguars three weeks ago. So the question needs to be asked; can anyone teach Scott how to at least try to tackle someone? Push them, reach out and try to grab them, or just get in their way. For the second time this year Packer fans watched their punter act out a scene from, “Dances with Wolves” and do not want to watch that scene again.

Green Bay Packers free safety Darnell Savage (26) celebrates his interception against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter with teammate cornerback Kevin King (20) during their football game Sunday, December 6, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Now the good news; the O-line, a patchwork group that included Bakhtiari at his usual left tackle, Wagner at right tackle, Turner at right guard, Patrick at left guard and Jenkins at center, opened a slice of a hole for Aaron Jones who slashed, dashed and whiplashed his way to a 77 yard touchdown. Darnell Savage put the icing on the cake with an athletic, leaping, interception of Hurts (the jokes pile up when your QB has a name like that and throws a game ending pick) and the Packers leave Lambeau with a record of 9-3. And, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 400 touchdown passes in the fewest games of any QB in the history of the NFL. A record to savor this week. This team will need to play four solid quarters of football to beat a team in the playoffs but Packer fans should be happy with how the team responded to the adversity. Great teams rise up, and the Packers did that Sunday against the Eagles. Next up, a Detroit team coming off a big win against Chicago.

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Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.

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25 Comments

  1. Howard December 7, 2020

    Paul, when praising the offensive line in this game you really need to add in Mercedes Lewis. Except for Bakhtiari, Lewis was the key as explained below.
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    Howard December 7, 2020
    You just have to like the offensive game plan (or adjustment after early sack) put together by LaFleur, Hackett, Getsy, and Rodgers. They knew that the only group that could wreck the offense was the Eagles front four. So who’s hands do you put the offense in, QB#1 and Mercedes Lewis.
    .
    M. Lewis may not get a game ball for this game, but boy was he key to the Packers pass and run game. I know he only caught one pass, right. Lewis made key blocks in the run game, but more critical was Lewis’s blocking in the pass game, and Lewis did very well. It would not surprise me if Lewis is the fourth highest graded (PFF) Packer on offense only behind Rodgers, Adams, and Bakhtiari.
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    Lewis was used many times as the pass blocker man up on Brandon Graham. By having Lewis single block Graham on many pass sets, and Bakhtiari single block whom ever was on his side, the rest of the line was able to double team the other two interior defensive linemen who are no easy task. In addition it allowed the the Packer interior linemen and Wagner to be available to pickup any blitzes.
    .
    The Packers used several six man pass blocking sets (Lewis) and some seven man sets to keep QB#1 as clean as possible knowing Rodgers would find a reduced set of open receivers against a more suspect Eagles back seven.

    Reply
    1. PF4L December 7, 2020

      Howard is correct, as per usual.
      .
      To preface, his catch was a nice long 36 pass play. His longest since 2017
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      Lets make no mistake about it, Mercede’s Lewis is still employed in the NFL because of his blocking prowess. He’s not paid to run…we all saw why. :)
      I joke, but it did look kind of funny how he almost tripped over himself.
      .
      Coming later….The almost unbelievable story of Preston Smith, and his request to LeFleur before the season started. As heard this morning on The Fan.
      Thinking more about this as i write it, the more pissed off i get….stay tuned, it’s must read.
      .
      Also…where was Tavon Austin? The special teams coach (i refuse to learn his name) was talking tough about him returning punts against the Eagles. I’m guessing he was inactive for the game

      Reply
      1. Howard December 7, 2020

        Thanks PF4L. I could almost hear Chris Berman saying “rumbling, bumbling, stumbling” during the Lewis catch and run.
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        I’m very curious what Preston Smith said?

        Reply
  2. stiggy December 7, 2020

    I’ll give la fleur a game ball. Notice how our dbs were in a position to make plays? I think he may have told pettine to let our corners win their match and stop being such a pussy. As I’ve said in the past green bay opposing qbs have the 3rd lowest rating in the league when Green bay plays man to man…and the 3rd best when they play zone.

    I don’t care who was qb yesterday…Alexander was all over their wideouts and savage got a great pick playing aggressively in the roamer role he should be playing ecery snap…he’s a 4.3 free safety ffs.

    They weren’t giving up that easy 7 yard cross bullshit.

    In fact…they let up a td at the end when they started going soft again.

    Reply
  3. PF4L December 7, 2020

    Warning: I have a lot to say people. But i’ll pace myself.
    .
    First things first. We all know how i’ve hammered on Turner. More because of his first year money than anything, and that wasn’t his fault.
    But….credit when due. We barely heard Fletcher Cox’s named mentioned. I rewound Tonyans 25 yard TD about 5 times. Billy Wagner got steamrolled backwards into Rodgers, almost causing Rodgers to go to the ground. Rodgers took a step or two back…gathered himself and threw a dart to Tonyan. MEANWHILE…..Turner was busy manhandling, a man. Not only did Turner have Cox stood up, he basically relaxed himself, in essence, giving up.
    Cox had 1 solo tackle (a good one) but after that tackle, zero’s across the board. You hold Fletcher Cox to one tackle an entire game….you’ve done something. Excellent day at the office Billy T!!

    Reply
  4. PF4L December 7, 2020

    Ok…..i’m not enjoying this, but here it is.
    .
    The Preston Smith saga. This needs to be prefaced…as some of you may know, i’ve accussed Smith of reporting to the Packers overweight, and having a tire around his waist. Well…it was true, you could clearly see it. I bring this up as it is germane to the story.
    Side note: When i heard this following story this morning, the extra 20lbs that Preston was carrying was brought up by the host of the sports show, for obvious reason.
    .
    So it seems….Smith went to visit LeFleur before this season to make a request. I guess since he was one half of the Smith Brothers he wanted to drag Za’Darius with him to help him with his request.
    .
    Well…the request to LeFleur, was that Preston no longer wanted to play in coverage. All he wanted to do was pass rush.
    Lets let that digest in a few ways…..
    1) You average 13/mill a year and you have the balls to request being a part time player?
    2) You say this to your head coach, displaying your newly earned off season belly?
    3) You drag the team’s best defensive player with you, as a means of support for your request?
    4) Za’Darius agree’s to go with him?
    5) What was the reason given? Was it medical? Was it a team request? Or was it just a personal request? At what point, is this not a selfish decision.
    ……………………………..
    My own thoughts…….
    Since when the fuck….averaging 13/mill a year…do you go to the head coach (out of shape) and request….less playing time?
    .
    At what point…did Za’Darius Smith think it would be a good idea to join Preston in his request?
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    As i commented earlier in the season because of Preston’s lower production and being out of shape…i commented that Gary should have a chance to start, but that you still have a problem. Get your #12 pick off the bench and be a starter (where he should be) or….make your 52 million dollar free agent, a bench player. Still a problem situation in my eyes.
    .
    After the request by the Smith Brothers….how soon after the players leaving, did LeFleur say out loud to himself…..”wtf just happened here?”
    .
    Citing the fact Gute created this situation, was he willing at any time to deal with it?
    Maybe explain to the players they aren’t being paid to advise the head coach when they are willing, or not willing to play.

    Reply
  5. Mick December 7, 2020

    I had read something a couple weeks ago, that P. Smith has been playing with an undisclosed injury since early in the season. The article explained why he was not as effective this year compared to last. I’ve racked my brain trying to find that article—– to no avail. At the time I read it, I thought, OK; that’s why he is struggling. All I know is, he is not the same player. If he is not the same, slightly injured, or whatever; why the hell is he starting? Gary has been outperforming him for weeks. I would have liked to have been in the room if Smith went to a coach like Lombardi and requested to only rush the passer.

    Reply
    1. PF4L December 7, 2020

      “Undisclosed” is a violation of injury reporting news that the NFL takes somewhat seriously.
      I can’t even imagine a reason why the Packers would risk keeping it secret.
      Sounds to me like a Preston Smith apologist.
      .
      I’ll agree with you on 1 thing, Gary should have been starting long ago.

      Reply
    2. Howard December 7, 2020

      Mick are you thinking of the shoulder? I know after the Tampa Bay game P. Smith showed up on injury reports for a few weeks with a shoulder. Smith also started wearing a shoulder harness after the Tampa game until the last two or three(?) weeks.
      .
      The shoulder is no excuse for Smith’s lackluster play prior to and during the Tampa game.

      Reply
      1. PF4L December 7, 2020

        See….here’s the thing….if you have Preston Smith with a shoulder injury that effects his production. Why play him?
        .
        Or the better question, why did they draft Rashan Gary?
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        Certainly… A injured Preston Smith isn’t better than a healthy Rashan Gary is he? Not from what i’ve seen. As a matter of fact, i’d go so far as to say a healthy Gary is more effective than a healthy Preston Smith. Gary plays hungry…Preston does not.
        .
        I’m sorry, but this whole situation about giving two edge rushers big money in free agency, then directly after…..they spend a #12 pick on an edge rusher…is completey F’d up.
        Who would do that?

        Reply
        1. Stiggy December 7, 2020

          Having 3 dominant pass rushers..(on paper at least) is a great strategy…..if you can stop the run.

          The problem is…none of them are dominant…and they can’t stop the run.

          Reply
          1. PF4L December 8, 2020

            The problem is….you spend two lottery tickets for edge rushers, then you draft a bench player at #12 who plays the same position.
            .
            Maybe……Gute thought in the near future, Gary would replace Preston as starter, which is fine if your high on Gary, i guess.
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            But why play a player 13/mill a year to be a back up.
            Because of the fact we have Gary, and he’s playing decent. Then Preston is…essentially a back up. A very expensive back up.
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            The other problem is…..If you think you have 2 dominant pass rushers, why draft another one at #12, when you have other team needs. Our great Country of NFL fans asked the same question after the pick was made.
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            Maybe Gute wasn’t/isn’t all that interested in helping Rodgers, i don’t know that for certain. But his actions the last 3 years….tell that exact story.

            Reply
  6. Mick December 8, 2020

    I wonder if Preston Smith is sulking over splitting time with Gary. Last year, the Smith boys were celebrating each others successes with high fives, and carrying on—– they were having fun—– seemed they were inseparable. Whether by design by Pettines’ scheme, or whatever; I don’t see much of that this year. I agree with the comments above, (Howard, PF4L and Stiggy); #1- Prestons’ lack of fire- #2- Gary should play more; and #3- playing pass rushers on the line of scrimmage, isn’t getting it done against the run You need beef and strength along the DL. By putting the pass rushers on the interior DL, they can get manhandled by the bigger, stronger OL-men. If they can’t reach the QB, bad things usually happen

    Reply
  7. Mick December 8, 2020

    “giving 2 FA edge rushers big money- then draft another with the 12th pick, is f’t up” Great point here! This organization just doesn’t address the real problem that is hindering the defense. Fix the DL properly, so that the edge rushers and LBs’ can do there job properly. I realize they need to keep one eye on the future when drafting but, the other eye should be focused on the needs right now. They are caught in this whirlwind of drafting for the future. Year after year with this strategy, you start losing developed players to FA if they aren’t resigned. So, what do they do? They once again, have to draft for the future!

    Reply
  8. PF4L December 8, 2020

    Do we even have an established #2 receiver yet? I don’t think we do. Some may disagree with that, but i guess that’s why we come here and voice our opinion.
    .
    Established…meaning the next word after the receivers name isn’t “but”…or “if”.

    Reply
    1. Cheese December 8, 2020

      No, they don’t. I used to get upset when Rodgers would force the ball to Adams all the damn time. After watching Sundays game against the Eagles I’m starting to come to terms with it. At least Davante catches the ball consistently. The rest of them left at least 100 yards on field due to unnecessary drops. Too bad Funchess isn’t around to fit in with his 51% catch rate.

      Reply
      1. PF4L December 9, 2020

        Yea man….thankfully we have Jones, occasionally Lazard, and especially Tonyan to help pick up the slack.
        .
        Tonyan’s on pace for 10 or 11 TD’s. When is the last time we had a tight end do that?
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        Fun Fact:…..Tonyan’s target catch rate is 87%…..41 of 47. Why he doesn’t have 75 or 80 targets, is beyond my pay grade.
        .
        I have a feeling Tonyan’s not to worried about Deguara or Sternberger taking too many of his snaps.
        .

        Reply
  9. Mick December 8, 2020

    Here, is a fact! Packers haven’t drafted a WR in the 1st round since Javon Walker——— Stunning! Now take into account that we’ve had top notch Q-backs, offensive minded coaches, good OCs’ ; lackluster defenses, suspect STs; and we have had 2 GMs. Given the circumstances listed above, you would think they would place a higher priority to get more quality help at the WR position. I like Lazard and Tonyan but the rest of the core is suspect, at best. MVS and ESB are teases. Both of them are in their 3rd seasons, it’s time to cut bait at the end of the season if these guys don’t start producing consistantly. I know injuries have hampered their progress, but come on! Adams would benefit even more with a quality 2nd or 3rd option at the position.

    Reply
    1. KazooPackan December 8, 2020

      Yeah, our passing game sucks.

      Reply
    2. PF4L December 8, 2020

      Ron Wolf has said multiple times…”if i have one regret, it’s not getting more weapons for Favre.
      .
      I don’t think Gute shares that philosophy with Rodgers.
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      I think maybe Micks point is…and i don’t want to speak for him, but……playmaking receivers are usually found in the first 2 rounds. As evidenced by where the Packers drafted their most successful receivers in the past decade or a few years beyond.

      Reply
  10. PF4L December 8, 2020

    If anyone is like me…(i’m sorry)
    .
    I always thought the Saints and the Packers were very similar…
    1) HOF QB’s
    2) High scoring offenses
    3) Bad, or average defenses held them back.
    …………………………………………………………….
    Well….for the Saints, the times they are a changin…
    The Saints have the #1 defense in yards allowed.
    They are #4 in defensive scoring.
    Safe to say…a Championship caliber defense.
    ……………………..
    The timing may be excellent for Bree’s, as i have a funny feeling this is his last year. He’s slated to come back for the last two games of the season. Then he may or may not have a bye week depending if they can beat the Chiefs, and the Packers can “run the table”
    ……………………….
    I don’t think it’s out of line to show Taysom Hill a little love. It hasn’t always been pretty, but he’s 3-0 in the 3 games he’s holding down the fort for Bree’s and his team.
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    Safe to say the best of all the reject QB’s let go by the Packers in recent history.
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    Mr. Do It All……NICE JOB

    Reply
  11. Mick December 9, 2020

    I also think this is Brees’ last year. A combination of age, salary, and durability have to come into play. This is the 2nd year that Brees has missed multiple games to injury. If I remember correctly, he missed 6 games last year and with Bridgewater at QB; they won those games. They have a jack of all trades guy with Hill and they picked up Winston this off season. Plus, they have a great coach/ Q-back guru in Payton. If this is Brees’ last year, hats off to him for a HOF career, and a great family man!

    Reply
    1. PF4L December 9, 2020

      Although i don’t like him…i feel sorry for Winston.
      .
      He has a real chance of breaking a legends NFL record.
      Brett Favre holds two records i didn’t think anyone could touch.
      His consecutive start record will last forever imo.
      I didn’t think his interception record could be broken. Then along came Jameis Winston
      But……he can’t beat it, sitting on the bench.

      Reply
      1. PF4L December 9, 2020

        Mick…the most admirable trait of Bree’s to me…isn’t his football talent, or that he’s a good family man.
        .
        Him and his wife seem to dedicate their time and money to helping people out in various capacity’s. But that’s not the most admirable either.
        .
        His most admirable trait is when he does help people, giving, raising money, etc…he doesn’t have to set up a professional video crew to document it so he can show the world what he did and reap the praise.
        .
        Sure, some of it is videoed publicly, but most of it we don’t see or hear about.
        I’m not close enough to say for sure, but it seems him and his wife dedicate most of their off time, to helping others.
        I also think their are plenty of other NFL players who do great things for their community’s without having to show the world, they are doing it.
        Those are our hero’s, doing it for the right reasons.
        .
        Since were on hero’s.
        Thank God we have Doctor’s, nurses, aids, who drive to work everyday going to work in Hell’s kitchen..Covid ICU units.
        Imagine…Entering that every day. With the hope you don’t catch it, and spread it to your spouse or children.
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        I look at those medical people the EXACT same way as i do fireman going INTO a burning building trying to save people.
        .
        I’ve talked to these workers. You cannot imagine….what life is like for these people going to work everyday. Very little off time, Working in a den of doom, stressed out, scared, not only do some have nightmares about it, they are living it. When you watch someone trying to be saved by these people, when they run around frantically trying to save that patient. Life get’s real. Real quick. When that patient can’t be saved…..You’re never the same.
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        HERO’S

        Reply
  12. Mick December 9, 2020

    Well said PF4L; I couldn’t agree more!

    Reply

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