The Packers and their fans found this out when the team took on the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Broncos defense has been stout all season, but they were completely impenetrable on Sunday night. The Broncos run game was almost nonexistent, but on Sunday night they walked all over a good Packer defense. A Bronco run game that was struggling throughout the first part of the season cranked it up a notch against the Packers. And, Peyton Manning who had looked pathetic all season was the Peyton Manning of old.
Much of that was talent, But a good deal of that stemmed from emotion. Following week of festivities celebrating Broncos history, Denver came out fired up.
The Packers could be on the verge of funneling some of their own emotion into the coming game against Carolina. If you watch some of the locker room interviews, it doesn’t take long to see the anger that the embarrassing loss has sparked. If the Packers can positively channel their rage, the outcome could be disastrous for the Panthers.
How might that anger be the difference maker on the road in Carolina?
Aaron Rodgers chided himself this week for missing some throws he felt he should have made. If the embarrassment of the loss brings Aaron’s laser focus back… watch out! Aaron is unparalleled at extending plays and finding open receivers. If he gets his swagger back, it could be a long night for the Panthers.
Randall Cobb placed a great deal of the blame for the fact that Aaron had no targets to throw to on himself. It was clear in a face to face interview that he did not want to have to deal with reporters’ questions about the difference between the 2014 Randall Cobb and the 2015 Randall Cobb. He was visibly frustrated when trying to answer those questions. If he gets a fire under himself on Sunday, Carolina defenders could have a great deal of trouble keeping track of him in routes and catching him when he has the ball.
If the defense unleashes their fury on the Panthers run game, the day could be a very long one for Cam Newton and his receiving corps. The Panther’s run game is tops in the league, but the Packer defenders have shown they can stop a premier running game, and a little bit of anger and embarrassment from the loss to Denver might cause Jonathan Stewart to get that deer-in-the-headlights look.
While unbridled rage just clouds players’ judgment, well focused emotion can be the difference between just good and scary good.