12 Nov We Good
“We good” was what was tweeted out by Packers’ rookie cornerback Damarious Randall following the Packers second consecutive loss. Very similar to Rodgers telling Packer fans to “Relax” last season. So, if someone from inside the locker room is telling us, on the outside, that everything is going to be OK, we should feel at ease. Shouldn’t we?
This is one of the games where looking back on it, we don’t really know how we should feel. At first glance, this looks bad. Really bad. A second straight loss, with another less than average offensive performance and a defense who continues to struggle. But, is it really as bad as what all us fans are thinking? Probably not. At least, Damarious Randall doesn’t think so.
The loss for the Packers means bad things down the road most likely. The game puts the Panthers two games ahead of the Packers in the race for the NFC. Meaning that later on, the Panthers will probably be at home for the entire playoffs. The Panthers, who have a rather easy schedule remaining, look to have taken full control of the NFC, and it doesn’t seem like they’re likely to let up any time soon. The loss for the Packers also puts them in a tougher position than they were hoping for in the NFC North battle. The Minnesota Vikings won on Sunday, 21-18, over the St. Louis Rams, putting them at 6-2 and tying the Packers for the top spot in the NFC North. An ugly situation, yes. However, this makes Week 17 at Lambeau Field a whole lot more exciting. The Packers have four divisional games in the next four weeks. Two against Detroit and one against Minnesota and Chicago. The games against Detroit shouldn’t be a challenge, and should give the Packers a boost of confidence. However, there will be a challenge in Minnesota Week 11.
The first and second half on Sunday looked like two totally different teams. First half was a struggle for Green Bay. Another slow start. At the start, things were looking good, as the Packers led 7-3 after the 1st Quarter on a laser beam pass from Rodgers to Rodgers. In the second half was where things got out of hand, as the Panthers put up 24 points. A real stab to the heart when Cam Newton connected on a 39 yard pass to Corey Brown with 49 seconds left. A lot of Packer fans were ready to throw in the towel at the half. It seemed hopeless, not only was the team losing, they looked defeated. The Packers had four 3 and outs in the first half, and you could see the defeat in their eyes as they walked to the sideline. They needed a spark, they needed something to get going. They needed something to remind them of what Green Bay Packers’ football is all about. The first minute of the second half, they got what they needed.
Whatever went down in the locker room at half time seemed to pay off. The first drive of the second half showed Packers’ fans everywhere exactly what they wanted to see; The Pack were back. On a three play drive, the Packers put up seven points, fast. On a perfectly placed pass from Rodgers to Cobb, Cobb was off to the races. A foot race he will win nine times out of ten. Cobb left a trail of Panthers defenders on his long touchdown pass, as a fired up Aaron Rodgers ran down the field celebrating. This was something we were ALL happy to see. Not long later, Packers’ running back James Starks stepped on the field with some fire in his eyes. A thirty-six yard pass from Rodgers to Starks had the ball on Carolina’s thirty, then another long pass to Starks where he dodged a few defenders before diving into the end zone. These along with some rather impressive stats. Ten carries for a total of 39 yards, along with six receptions, 83 reception yards and a receiving touchdown. This posing the question ‘Should Starks start over Lacy?’ Eddie Lacy, with an ankle injury has been struggling. He said today would be a ‘bounce-back’ game for him and the team. For him, it was quite the opposite. Running for only 10 yards and a fumble, Lacy was benched for a large part of the game following the fumble, which was when Starks took over.
Just when things looked over for the Packers, Damarious Randall made an interception on the Panthers 26 yard-line. Randall said later that if he had caught the ball cleanly, he could have returned it for six. However, after bobbling the ball, he was lucky to get both feet down. The Packers came close many times to getting the touchdown, but the Panthers defense held them down. On fourth and goal on the Panthers’ four, Rodgers dropped back, wishing he had more time than what the O-Line was providing. Turning around, Rodgers was under pressure, forcing him to throw it up and hope for the best. It was intercepted, and the rest was history.
Despite the loss, Packers fans should be feeling pretty good. The Packers played well the second half. As fans, we just have to accept that it was “Too little, too late”. The second half reminded us of the passion we know Green Bay carries, and looking forward, we hope to see more of it. Statistically speaking and in terms of our rankings in the conference and division, this was rough. But it’s about next week now, a game that will be a lot easier than the last two.
Someone told me before the game that “We’ll be OK in Carolina, and even if we aren’t, we’ll still be OK”. So, was Randall right? Are ‘we good’? My answer. Yes. We are very good. We’ve lost two in a row, however, they were both to undefeated teams both on the road. It’s a long season, and this is just another bump in the road. We’ll be back soon. Besides, a team’s true identity isn’t really discovered until December.