Monday, November 02, 2015

Packers get smacked down in Denver, 29-10

The headline on my preview/prediction post for last night's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos noted that only one of those teams would be 7-0 after the game. Sadly, it's not the Packers.

Boy, was I wrong about this game...although I did note that I was nervous that the Packers were favored and that most pundits were projecting the Pack to win. Somehow, there often seems to be a game such as this lying just around the corner when those types of predictions are made.

In about as flat a performance as we've seen from the Pack this season, even coming off a bye week and supposedly being rested, the intensity level on both sides of the ball for Green Bay did not match that of Denver.

For the second game in a row, the Packers' defense gave up more than 500 yards to the opposing offense. Not a good trend. Conversely, the Packers' offense could do nothing. QB Aaron Rodgers took a pounding. Even when he did get the time to search for receivers, none were getting open. The results was a mere 77 yards passing for Rodgers, the lowest of his career. This ongoing lackluster performance by the offense, despite the record, has essentially been present since about the fourth game of the season.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took a pounding in last night's loss to Denver.
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

We had also made the comment in our preview that some thought Denver's 6-0 record was more reflective of a pretender than contender. Not last night. In fact, it might actually be the other way around: the Pack's record might be a reflection that in their first six games they had not played a team with a winning record. Who's the pretender? Who's the contender?

So, Packer fans, there are areas for concern. Genuine concern.

The Packers have to go on the road next weekend to play the currently undefeated Carolina Panthers. If the Pack's defense gave up over 500 yards to a supposedly immobile and lacking-in-arm-strength Peyton Manning-led team, just imagine what a quarterback such as Cam Newton might be able to roll up. Think of similar type pass-run quarterbacks and what they typically do against a Packers defense: Russell Wilson and (prior to this season, anyway) Colin Kaepernick come to mind, don't they? It could easily be another 500-yard offensive onslaught by an opponent this coming weekend.

Even more concerning, perhaps, is that the Minnesota ViQueens are now only one game behind the Packers in the NFC North after their last-second win over Da Bearz yesterday. A-whaaaaaa??? Yes, really.

The elements of this beat-down can be analyzed every which way, and are. For one of the better analyses of the game (to no one's surprise) you may wish to read this great article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn.

Nothing I can add at this point except next week is an opportunity for redemption. The young players who are being asked to step in and step up due to injuries need to start doing so...big time. We'll know what type of team this season's Packers are after this upcoming game against Carolina: pretenders...or contenders.