The Green Bay Packers had a short week coming into Saturday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. This is a squad, though, that makes no excuses. Short week or short-handed, go get the job done.
A 24-16 victory by the Packers is a welcomed result, but the path to victory was ugly. Bowling shoe ugly.
After racing out to a 21-3 lead at the half, Green Bay found themselves in a bit of a fight with Carolina. Let’s give credit to the Panthers. They tightened up their coverage, which allowed them to get pressure off the edge and up the middle. Aaron Rodgers, who came into the game only being dropped 14 times, was sacked 5 times.
Offensively Carolina was able to sustain drives, just enough times to make it interesting. Make no mistake about it, it was their defense that kept them in this game and gave them multiple chances to take a lead. Ultimately, Green Bay’s defense and a large first half built lead were too much for the Panthers to overcome.
The Packers: passed for 96 net yards, went 5-of-12 on 3rd downs (came into the game ranked 2nd best in the NFL in that category), were out gained in yardage (364-291), and won. Adjustments were made, survival was claimed. It be like that, sometimes.
The Panthers may be 4-10, but they presented the Packers with a playoff like game. They made adjustments, got Green Bay uncomfortable, and gave themselves a chance to win the game. This was a good test for the Packers and they must build upon the lessons learned from this game.
Green Bay improves to 11-3, and inch one step closer to clinching the 1-seed, home field advantage, and the only first-round bye in the NFC.
If they thought this was a test, they’re in for a bruiser next Sunday night. They draw the NFL’s rushing leader Derrick Henry and the (currently) 9-4 AFC South division leading Tennessee Titans, at Lambeau.