The good teams play well, but the best teams adapt. Even if it is minor adjustments, a notable trait amongst Super Bowl winning teams have all been able to adapt and change throughout the game. Even though the Green Bay Packers now hold a two game winning streak, their current play won’t be enough for postseason gold.
I’m not saying the Packers can’t win the Superbowl, but they can’t be complacent with the week three victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Buccaneers have a notoriously good defense, the Packers proved in the first 28 minutes of the game that no task was too big, as they won down two receivers in their already short receiving room. Rodgers had excellent play recognition against Todd Bowles’s defense, coupled with great instincts by some of the pass catchers in critical third-down scenarios; the Green Bay Packers stormed the Buccaneers to a comfortable 14-3 lead. This came to a screeching halt with 2 minutes and 8 seconds left in the first half when Aaron Jones fumbled at the goal line. During this run the Packers could have scored a field goal or even a touchdown had Jones not fumbled. But among the points lost out on that possession, the greatest loss came at the stop in momentum.
The Packers scored zero points from that point forward and only crossed the fifty-yard line once; of the Packer’s next eight drives in the second half, the farthest they managed to reach is the Buccaneers’ 45. Let me reiterate,they managed only to get a meager four total first downs in those eight drives. While the Packer’s first half is undoubtedly a positive sign, to ignore the second half would be plain ignorance by the players and coaching staff. After Aaron Jones fumbled, the Buccaneers efficiently drove down the field to score at the end of the half. That is until Russell Gage of the Buccaneers also fumbled the ball, giving possession back to the Packers. While that must have been weighing down on him mentally, he could put that behind him and score what could have been the game-tying touchdown had the Buccaneers converted the two-point conversion. Despite losing, Gage stepped up and provided help to the struggling Tampa Bay offense. The same can not be said for Aaron Jones, who, after the fumbled, only produced 20 all-purpose yards. To be fair, nobody on the Packers offense stepped up, and the problem lies bigger than just Jones’s lack of production.
Shutting down on a sucker punching, a drive-killing, momentum-stopping play is nothing new to the Green Bay Packers. It’s a relatively common occurrence for the offense to collapse after a mistake, and that mentality of giving up won’t do the Packers any favors. If the Packers make the playoffs and play against the top teams in the league, teams that can adjust accordingly, the Packers stand no chance. Matt Lafleur can game plan and scheme his offense against any defense, and he proved that last week against a fierce Buccaneers defense. But if he can’t rally his team to push past mistakes and put it behind them, it questions how great this Packer’s team can be.