I referenced the other Drew Carey show, Cleveland, taking the back roads to mediocre sports jokes. The Packers won another ugly one, but they made enough plays to justify the return of Aaron Rodgers, should he be cleared. The Packers survived eight games without their star quarterback, which is all you can ask of this team. The Vikings are built to survive without a quarterback, the Packers are built to survive via their quarterback. Here’s our thoughts.
A win’s a win. Like last week, it took overtime to get the dub, but that only proves the fight this team has. Down 21-7 going into the fourth quarter, many teams would have given up and called it a day. Because the Packers need to win out and get a little help to sneak into the playoffs, giving up was never an option. The Packers needed to win, and win they did. It was great to see Brett Hundley have his best game as the starting quarterback, 265 yards on 35 completions with three touchdowns. Davante Adams had two of those three touchdowns, one forced overtime and one to win it. He has been clutch during the Brett Hundley era, and today was no different. He has proven to the world that he is the lead man in a deep receiving corps.
The defense looked mediocre, like it always does, at times, allowing the laughable Browns drive down the field on three separate occasions. But when it mattered most, they came up clutch. The overtime drive for the Browns led to an interception for Josh Jones after Clay Matthews forced a bad throw from Deshone Kizer. It was a clutch moment for a defense that has not lived up to the hype at all this season. If the Packers want to make a playoff run, the defense and its playmakers NEED to step it up. The way the defense has played this season, horrible pass coverage, lack of pass rush, and the inability to stop the run, needs to improve during the final stretch of the season.
After opening the game with a nice touchdown drive, the Packers offense stalled until their season was on the line. The Browns have a nice defense, Cleveland had the right formula to beat the Brett Hundley led Packers. With their back against the wall, down two touchdowns with the third quarter near end, Green Bay went into their no-huddle offense, and Hundley killed it again. It would have been difficult to play no-huddle with Hundley the whole time, as the defense was already drowning from a lack of oxygen on the sidelines throughout the eight game stretch. Would have been interesting to see, but does seem like it had a high bust potential. Hundley and the Packers were (3-0) against teams they should beat, and (0-5) against teams who have playoff aspirations. They sure were flirting with going (0-8) during that stretch, but back up QB wins, are equivalent to a four touchdown 400 yard passing expedition, no matter how they come.
The running game was mostly clogged up, so the Packers took advantage of the Browns soft coverage on Jamaal Williams by checking it down to the rookie, picking up medium gains again and again. They were essentially run plays, but very smart playcalling. It allowed the Packers to move down the field without relying on Hundley throwing twenty yard outs.
The Packers run defense has been losing it’s battles the past two weeks. Kenny Clark is playing injured, which may be affecting his ability to tighten the gaps. Maybe the biggest difference has been Blake Martinez, who has still been playing well, but doesn’t seem to be flying all over the field as much. Carolina just beat the Vikings with their running game, so it’s an important week to get back up to speed. Even with Aaron Rodgers, if the defense doesn’t play well, the Packers season is likely over.
Davon House went down with a back injury reported by Ian Rapoport, meaning the Packers will probably start Damarious Randall and Josh Hawkins next week. That could become a tall order against the former MVP Cam Newton, but Damarious Randall did come up with a clutch interception on Newton in his rookie season. He’ll enter confident. Go Pack.