The Mile High Beat Down

The Mile High Beatdown

Sell your Cheeseheads, burn your jerseys, take down your posters, drop Rodgers from your fantasy team, start ripping your hair out and find a new team, right? Wrong.

Aaron Rodgers, after Week 3 last season, after the Packers had fallen to 1-2, told all Packer fans one thing, relax.

“I have five letters for all of you out there in Packer land, R-E-L-A-X, relax”.

Rodgers’ Packers, with a losing record, who at the time were tied in last in the NFC North, was still telling the Green and Gold faithful calm down. Now, if Aaron was feeling good at 1-2, wouldn’t it only make sense for him to feel good at 6-1?

Now, was the game painful on Sunday? Yes. Were there times where we all wanted to turn the TV off and go to bed? Yes. Was this the worst display of football from the team we’ve seen in a long time? Absolutely. To try and sugar coat this game would be a waste of time. We both know, it was bad. Aaron Rodgers and the offense was on the field a total of 46 plays this game, 12 less than their average 58. However, when the offense is “running in place” 46 plays can seem like a long time. Had you just looked at Rodgers stats, you’d think he played only half the game, or maybe played with a broken leg or wore a pirate eye patch just to make things more interesting. If you watched the game, you know the Broncos defense came out of the gates flying. Rarely do you see a defense who is able to stay at that tempo the whole game. Not to mention an injured Eddie Lacy took away from the threat of the run, a lot. In a game with plenty of struggles, the third down conversion can be a huge factor. Unfortunately for Green Bay, that was a struggle, also. Green Bay converted 25% of the time, 2/8. Converting on third down is a great way to demoralize a defense, if you can’t do that, you can’t win.

If there was any positive coming from this game, it didn’t happen on Sunday, but it will happen in the future. That is, a motivated Aaron Rodgers.  We’ve seen Rodgers play through pain and struggles, just look at Week 17 against Detroit last year. You couldn’t have forgotten that. The roar of Lambeau chanting “MVP” as an injured Aaron Rodgers stormed back onto the field, only to lead the Packers to a very important, Week 17 victory. Imagine what the MVP is capable of when he is healthy with a little bit of fire under his belt. Look out, Carolina.

Obviously all Packer fans are upset with the outcome of last week. Now, are we sad that the team looked pretty bad, or that we have a loss? Losing games are part of the game. When you commit yourself to one team, you’re willing to risk despair. That’s the fun of it, sticking with a team through thick and thin. If you can’t stick with your team after a tough loss, you don’t deserve to be with them when they host the Lombardi Trophy.  Mike McCarthy said this loss was a humbling one. Adding that he had never had his ass kicked like that. It puts things in perspective.  Now you’ve been on the winning side of things, and the losing side. It goes to show that it is a long season, with lots of highs and lows. Now, however, it is time to put the pedal to the metal. With a rather difficult schedule, the Packers have some tough opponents coming up. Next week, Green Bay will head to Carolina, the only undefeated team in the NFC, knowing that with a loss, the Vikings could catch up to the them in the NFC North. Not only difficult, some very important games are still on the schedule for the Pack.  Divisional games are on the near horizon with an unprecedented four of them in a row…hosting Detroit, heading  into Minnesota, then back to host the Bears at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving, before heading to Detroit. The Packers will also host the Vikings Week 17 in a Lambeau Field that could quite frankly decide the winner of the NFC North, depending on how the next seven weeks go.

Lots at stake next week in Carolina.  Some would say the biggest game of the year so far. This game will let us know two major things. Are the Packers going to get back on track? And, can Green Bay win on the road? This game, later in the season can play a HUGE role in who will get home field advantage in the playoffs. Carolina is a good team, on offense and defense. A healthy Clay Matthews is much needed in order to stop Cam, and the run game. Cam is the type of quarterback you have to put constant pressure on. He can beat you with his arm, and his legs. Carolina’s defense is no joke, either. Having the ninth highest ranked defense thus far, allowing 342.3 yards per game. We’ve seen often how a poor run game can affect a quarterback in a negative way, and with an injured Eddie Lacy, that’s what we have been seeing recently. Hopefully, come Sunday, Eddie Lacy will be back, and will be able to help out the offense. Running the ball is a lot more effective than passing against a defense like Carolina.

So, yes, this is a tough week in Packer land, but it would be ridiculous to panic. If you don’t think Rodgers is capable of turning things around, you’re wrong. Let’s put Week 8 behind us.  We have to.  The players who gave their blood and sweat already have. With Week 9, many important questions will be answered about the team so get ready for the next battle in the journey to Super Bowl 50.

Nate is a contributing writer to Green + Gold Life and the man behind the unbelievably awesome and popular @ThePackerPage on Instagram.  Give it a follow…you’ll love it!