The Packers defense looked to me like they were playing a little more vanilla than they had in the previous two games. I think they believed that they could get the job done without a whole lot of trickery that takes more time to develop against a quarterback known for getting the ball out of his hands quickly. That strategy resulted in the defense giving up a lot of catches and yardage but they dug in close to the goal line, and no play was more significant than Damarious Randall’s game ending deflection of Philip Rivers’ final pass attempt.
All those yards that Rivers racked up were not enough to win the game and in the meantime, the Packers’ young defensive backfield got a ton of experience and a lot of tape to learn from in this game. Not that I like to see that many passes completed, because I don’t, but we learn more from our failures than our successes and this game was still a success because the Packers came away with a win.
After the bye, the Packers will face two unbeaten teams in a row in the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. They will need to play better, especially on offense. But if this defense gets BJ Raji and Morgan Burnett back, the defense could be dominant. The game Philip Rivers played yesterday was stellar. Rivers’ performance was better than anything I have seen out of either Peyton Manning or Cam Newton. With the (presumed, not certain) return of BJ and Morgan, the rush gets better and the backside protection gets better. Add to that the fact that BJ will be stout against the run and Burnett is going to be looking for his chance to stick his nose in and make a play, and offenses will once again have to struggle for every inch of field, especially in the red zone.
The bye week could not have come at a better time as the Packers need to get healthy to be able to continue the streak that they have taken through week six. Perhaps the last half of the season will offer better luck to the Packers on the injury front. It’s part of the game and the Packers need this week to get back right and rested for Denver.
In a couple weeks, we will get a great snapshot of exactly what team we will be taking on into the second half. The game against the Broncos will be much anticipated and very telling. If the offense gets in sync, and the defense gets healthy, it could be special.