The Green Bay Packers won a thriller on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. It was a come from behind win after being down 28 to 14 in the 4th quarter. Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson had a breakout game scoring three big touchdowns. In the 4th quarter, this was the team we had been waiting for all season. Both sides of the ball were playing amazing and they really looked unstoppable. This was a game many Packers fans thought they could build on and start a winning streak. Four days later, the Packers go back to playing like they have all year long.
The Packers played on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans and lost 27-17. This team looked like a completely different team compared to Sunday against the Cowboys. The Titans controlled this entire game and were able to do whatever they wanted to. This game really summed up the entire season for the Green Bay Packers. There were times where the offense looked good in this game, but then the defense didn’t. In the fourth quarter, it was the other way around. The offense would get set up in good field position, but didn’t do anything with it. There were a couple things that really stood out in this game.
The biggest thing that stuck out was how conservative defensive coordinator Joe Barry called this game. Green Bay’s corners were playing almost 10 yards off the ball all game and the Titans took advantage of this. They would just run short routes like curls or slants and would be wide open and would pick up five to ten yards every pass play. It would make sense to be in a defense like this if the Titans were a team that threw it up and down the field and had big play receivers, but that’s not how the Titans play. This has been the Packers scheme this entire season. Don’t get beat deep and keep everything in front of them is how they have played since Joe Barry became defensive coordinator. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad scheme if it prevented the deep pass plays, but this scheme hasn’t even done that this year. There has also been too many times this season where there is blown coverages with guys being wide open down field and nobody on Green Bay is anywhere close to them. They are also one of the worst run defenses this year. Teams have been able to run all over the field against the Packers this season. That shouldn’t happen when you have one of the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL with Kenny Clark and then having two good linebackers with De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker. It has been proven over and over again this season that it doesn’t work, but Joe Barry has refused to make any changes. If it continues to be like this the rest of the season, the Packers might need to make a change at defensive coordinator this offseason.
On the offensive end, Matt Lafleur once again gave up on the run game. It really looked like against the Cowboys he had figured out what the Packers needed to do on offense in order for them to win. He decided to give up on the run game and just start throwing the ball. This has been something that has not worked all season, but he continues to keep doing it. What has been successful for this offense is running the ball to set up the play-action pass. Matt Lafleur needs to take a page out of Mike Vrabel’s book and keep running the ball even if it is struggling to get going. The Titans ran it 32 times this game and averaged 2.8 yards per carry. The Packers ran it 19 times and they averaged 2.9 yards per carry. Both teams struggled to get much going in the run game, but one team stuck with the run game and the other one didn’t. Of course the team that stuck with the run game won this game. Matt Lafleur needs to keep running the ball and stay consistent with it if they want to be able to have any success on offense the rest of this season.
The Packers would probably have to win the rest of their games in order to make the playoffs this season. This has been a really disappointing season after being so close to winning the Super Bowl the past three seasons. There are still a lot of games left to play, but the Packers will have to be perfect from here on out if they want to make the playoffs.