The Green Bay Packers lost more than just the Carolina Panthers game. There was little to be satisfied about for Packers fans in their 37-29 loss to the Panthers. There were problems throughout the game. Some infighting and sudden movement at the top of the NFC North standings became the story, along with the defeat.
First came the one-sided thumping, then came a spill of emotions.Apparently, an argument between veteran linebacker Julius Peppers and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix turned into some pushing and shoving (courtesy of ESPN). Nose tackle BJ Raji came to intervene. He would eventually shove Clinton-Dix. Order was restored shortly afterwards, though the damage might have been done.
All of this took place after the Packers defense gave up a 14-yard touchdown to Panthers rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess. The score became 37-14 at that point in the game.
The altercation did give the Packers a bit of a spark. They would rally to get within one possession in the Panthers game. Early inefficiencies would eventually doom them.Is this a sign of an implosion in Green Bay?
It was a frustrating day for the Green Bay Packers. They struggled on both sides of the ball for the second consecutive week.
Just to think that a couple of weeks ago the Packers were riding high going into the bye. Their 6-0 record was indicative of excellent defensive play, coupled with another MVP-caliber performance by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Coming off the bye the Packers proceeded to head into a showdown with the Denver Broncos, who were also sporting a 6-0 record. Offensive futility would hit the Packers and Rodgers. He would throw for a measly 77 passing yards. Green Bay's offense only managed 140 yards collectively in the 29-10 defeat. The Packers defense gave up 500 total yards.It was much of same for the Packers in the first three quarters of the Panthers game. They would trail 27-7 going into halftime.
Bad offense and bad defense marred the Packers in the first half. The only Packers score before the break came from a Rodgers touchdown strike to tight end Richard Rodgers. It was in the first quarter and was the only lead of the game for Green Bay.
Carolina scored 24 unanswered points to close out the half.
Some of the Packers' problems witnessed versus Denver became obvious in the Panthers game.
Green Bay's coverage was bad, leaving holes along the sidelines. Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton took advantage of single coverage and wide open receivers all game. The defense failed to register a sack on Newton. It was the second game in which Green Bay was held without a sack.
One of the criticisms of Green Bay was that teams could exploit them in the passing game. Granted, the last three quarterbacks they faced were Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Cam Newton. The trio has collectively thrown for 1,140 yards against the Packers. That is an average of 380 yards in the air.
Not only has the secondary struggled, Aaron Rodgers is beginning to have trouble finding open receivers. Having a threat like Jordy Nelson unavailable (courtesy of NFL.com) to the team is clearly the problem. The receivers on the roster, including the injury-riddled Randall Cobb, cannot gain much separation these days.
Time to throw is another issue for Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers has taken at least 10 hits in the last two games. Pass protection has played a role in the 27th ranked NFL passing attack.
The clear solution would be to revitalize the stagnant running game. Running back Eddie Lacy is getting healthy again after hurting his ankle earlier in the year. The struggles in the Packers passing game suggest that it is time to get the football in the hands of a top-10 caliber back.
The loss to the Panthers have all of a sudden made things in the NFC North tight.
The Minnesota Vikings were 21-18 overtime winners today. With the victory, the Vikings moved into a tie for the division lead. Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion near the end of their win over the St. Louis Rams, meaning he might be out of next week's game versus the Oakland Raiders.Unlike Green Bay, the Vikings can and will run the football. With Adrian Peterson taking the bulk of the carries, Minnesota should be in any game no matter who the opposition is.
The Green Bay Packers will travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings in a game that will no doubt have a say on who wins the NFC North.
[Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images Sport]