Packers: 3 Plays – Week 9

The grey skies over Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon were a perfect representation of the state of the Green Bay Packers’ season. A week earlier, the Denver Broncos stormed past the Packers and cast some fog about title town’s Super Bowl chances.

A victory against the undefeated Carolina Panthers would clear away the insecurity.

But, for the second week in a row, the Packers offensive line could not protect Aaron Rodgers, receivers couldn’t get open, Eddie Lacy underperformed and the defense gave up a hail of yards and points.

Damarious Randall was victimized for two big pass plays including this 52 yarder to Devin Funchess

Damarious Randall was victimized for big plays  including this 52 yarder to Devin Funchess

The game started with a ray of hope. The Panthers were held to a field goal on their opening possession that was dominated by the the athleticism of Cam Newton. The Packers answered with a well executed 11-play 65-yard drive ending with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers (the first of the two he would tally).

However, this was the only time the Packers would lead because the Panthers poured 24 unanswered points to take a 27 to 7 half-time lead.

Among the big plays:

  • A 59-yard Cam Newton to Jerricho Cotchery pass to set up a Newton one yard TD run
  • A 52-yard Newton to Devin Funchess pass, which was the centerpiece of a three play 62 yard touchdown drive
  • A 39-yard Newton to Corey Brown touchdown with 41 seconds to go in the first half
Cam Newton threw three TD passes and had another one rushing

Cam Newton threw three TD passes and had another one rushing

This monsoon would have drowned most teams, but Packers fans should take pride that their team came out in the second half and put up fight.

Which leads us to our first of three big plays…

big play 1

53-yard touchdown to Randall Cobb

At halftime, head coach Mike McCarthy told Fox-TV’s Erin Andrews that he wanted to establish the running game and the 41 yards rushing in the first half “isn’t going to cut it.” Trailing by 20 points – the largest deficit the Packers have faced all season – meant Green Bay needed more than an improved running game. Which is why the Packers’ offense did the exact opposite McCarthy said he would do – they passed the ball.

  1. 6-yard completion to Richard Rodgers (add-on the 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Roman Harper)
  2. Dump-off to James Starks for another 6-yard gain.

On a 2nd and 4 at the GB 47 just eclipsing the 14-minute mark in the 3rd quarter, Aaron Rodgers took a deep shot to Randall Cobb along the left sideline who managed to cut in front of Bene Benwikere on a wheel route. Cobb proceeded to take that 53-yard catch and run in for 6, and the Packers suddenly struck like lightening.


Damarious Randall’s clutch interception in the 4th quarter

After the Packers managed to put up 15 unanswered points to trim Carolina’s lead down to 37-29, the Panthers needed to put together a time-killing drive.

Newton, who had thrown several inaccurate passes in this game, decided to take an immediate shot to Ted Ginn Jr. in the right flat. The Packers needing a turnover got one from Damarious Randall.

Randall was a frequent target of Newton’s big passes all day, but not this time.

The rookie’s second interception in two games gave the opportunistic Packers the ball, just shy of the red zone, at the Panthers 22,  This play breathed life back into Packer Nation and left the unanswered question lingering – can the visiting team complete the comeback?

final play

Kawann Short getting in the face of Aaron Rodgers, forcing game-winning interception

After the momentum completely shifted in favor of the away team, it didn’t take long for the Packers to gradually move into a goal-to-go situation. This after converting on a 4th and 5 that, if failed, would have ended this game.

Getting pressure on Rodgers was the theme for Carolina today. Rodgers was sacked five times and hurried and hit more than twice that amount Despite the gale force applied on Rodgers he had a big day passing for 369 yards and four TDs.

But, it was his one interception that would stifle the Packers chances of a dramatic come from behind win.

The play was a pick where Cobb would go in motion to Rodgers’ right. At the snap, James Jones, lined up to the right would run a shallow cross and pickoff the defender following Cobb in motion.

The two executed the play perfectly.

But, Panthers’ defensive end Mario Addison bull rushed Bryan Bulaga and James Starks into Rodgers’ throwing lane and the MVP quickly looked away from Cobb, not realizing he was a nano second away from being wide open in the end zone.

When Rodgers looked elsewhere the pocket broke down and and defensive tackle Kawann Short grabbed ahold of #12’s sleeve forcing a bad throw that linebacker Thomas Davis intercepted.

After the game, Rodgers took responsibility.

Rodgers quote on panther intRodgers knew this was a costly defeat. The Panthers 8-0 record gives them a sunny outlook for home field advantage over the Packers in the playoffs, if the two meet again.

But, now, Rodgers and the Packers must concern themselves with a Minnesota Vikings team that is now tied with them for first place in the NFC North.

Fortunately, the immediate forecast for Green Bay gets better with the 1-7 Detroit Lions coming into Lambeau next week.

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