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Did Packers find a path forward in loss to Bills?: NFC North analysis

Well, the Packers did not get blown out on Sunday Night Football in Buffalo in opposition to possibly one of the best workforce in the league. So, they acquired that going for them. Which is sweet.

But taking ethical victories has by no means consoled Packers followers, and why would it not? Green Bay has been on the high of the NFC North for greater than a decade and has had mass quantities of goal success throughout Aaron Rodgers‘ tenure — much more so in Matt LaFleur’s.

That’s why this three-game skid and 3-5 begin is so stark for the Packers. They’re one way or the other nonetheless reeling from the loss of 1 participant on offense, a participant who does not appear too joyful in his new scenario both. But Rodgers did not simply lose a receiver in Davante Adams, he misplaced his security web. That’s been the distinction.

Couple that with the truth that his different security web, longtime pal Randall Cobb, is on IR and Green Bay misplaced rookie receiver Christian Watson in the primary quarter Sunday and the Packers are skinny on the receiver place to put it mildly.

That’s previous information, although, even when Watson was supposed to be a vital a part of Green Bay’s sport plan Sunday for the primary time in weeks. There hasn’t been a lot tangible enchancment for the Packers over the course of this season and eight weeks in, there was lastly some semblance of a step forward. 

Because of the early harm to Watson, Green Bay was pressured to ramp up its floor sport. That transfer ought to have occurred sooner provided that the Packers have among the best operating again tandems in the league with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. It was a lengthy overdue change, and in opposition to one of the crucial stout run defenses in the league, Green Bay gained 208 yards on the bottom.

Perhaps to the perplexity of some, the Packers caught with that run sport, even after they had been down by as many as 17 into the second half. It was the proper method, even when it was the flawed timing.

And run out of time the Packers did. Their lone non-garbage-time landing got here on a drive that took eight-and-a-half minutes. It was virtually a stroke of vanity to hold operating the ball, by no means thoughts it was working. But as a result of Green Bay did finally run out of time, it is honest to surprise if this was a everlasting shift in the Packers’ offensive method or if it was simply a approach to attempt to mitigate the harm incurred by Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.

Josh Allen wins QB duel vs. Aaron Rodgers

Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, Eric Mangini and Kevin Wildes speak Packers vs. Bills.

It appears each week Green Bay finds one thing that works whereas one other side of its sport goes to hell. This time, in prime time, it was self-discipline. The Packers incurred eight penalties for 58 penalty yards. Discipline additionally value them one among their defensive starters when rookie Quay Walker shoved a Bills staffer on the sideline who was making an attempt to assist him up after Walker went tumbling into the Buffalo bench. Later in the sport, the Packers actually had factors taken off the board when tight finish Robert Tonyan, initially considering he had scored in the third quarter, was known as for offensive move interference thereby nullifying the landing. Green Bay settled for a area purpose on the drive.

Safety Rasul Douglas additionally gifted Buffalo with a contemporary set of downs thanks to an unlawful use-of-hands penalty on third-and-10. (He made up for it a few performs later with an interception of Allen.)

As for the second step again, it is one which has plagued the Packers all season: fourth downs. On the primary sequence of the sport, undoubtedly to attempt to set up a tone, Green Bay went for it on fourth down in plus territory on the Buffalo 38. The Packers did not get it. They’d go for it on fourth down yet one more time in the sport, and you will not be shocked to study they did not get that, both. Green Bay is two-for-11 on fourth down this season, which is the worst conversion price in the league.

After the sport, each LaFleur and Rodgers talked about these two steps again greater than anything. Rodgers stated he felt he wanted to “take a beat” earlier than addressing the workforce. He stated he’d have extra phrases of knowledge Wednesday and that he’d have the conversations behind closed doorways the necessity to be had.

“Let me ponder it and really feel into the power of what wants to be stated,” he informed reporters after the sport.

For all of the frustration, it’s onerous to think about that the Packers can proceed like this. They have began to determine issues out. Rookie broad receiver Romeo Doubs had his greatest sport as a Packer, catching (and holding onto) a 19-yard landing move. Samori Toure, the younger participant out of Nebraska, hauled in the primary landing of his profession on a 37-yard bomb from Rodgers. The offense moved the ball behind runs from each Jones and Dillon and took the photographs they wanted to, which their younger gamers responded to.

Now we wait to see in the event that they proceed that pattern and if they will proper the opposite missteps. Because in the event that they do, they might simply flip it round but.

Related: NFC North-leading Vikings change narrative in close games

Justin Fields Finds Rhythm in Loss to Dallas

No, the Chicago Bears did not come out of Dallas with a win over the Cowboys. In reality, they misplaced by a fairly hefty 49-29 margin, however there was encouragement for Chicago in the type of second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields was decisive, environment friendly and ended with a completely respectable stat line of 17-of-23 for 151 yards and two touchdowns for a career-high 120.0 passer ranking. He additionally rushed eight occasions for 60 yards and a dashing landing of his personal.

Fields did get sacked 4 occasions, however in opposition to one of the best move rush in the league, that was to be anticipated.

He set a few profession firsts in the sport, in reality. It was his first time scoring dashing touchdowns in consecutive video games. Fields has 4 consecutive video games with a passing landing for the primary time, too. It was additionally the primary time in his profession he had three whole touchdowns in a sport.

Now certain, that is not a entire lot in the grand scheme of excellent quarterback play, nevertheless it’s tangible enchancment. That’s all that may be anticipated for a younger quarterback studying a new offensive system with shuffling items round him. Fields hasn’t had continuity on his offensive line or in the type of his receivers however at the least he has a operating sport to lean on.

The Bears are persevering with to stick to that, figuring out that it is their offensive energy till Fields actually comes on. But the nook Fields wants to flip could also be nearer than we thought.

“I believe everyone seems to be getting increasingly snug as we sport plan and put performs collectively,” Fields stated after the sport. “Luke [Getsy] and our offensive coaches have finished a nice job determining what we do good as an offense, what every participant does individually effectively. We’re figuring that out, and I believe that is a credit score to our success.”

Who would have recognized it was simply going to take a little little bit of time?

Lions Drop Another Close One

I really feel like I say it each week, however the poor Detroit Lions. They’ve performed 5 one-score video games and are 1-4 in such contests. It was the story of one more week in opposition to the Miami Dolphins at dwelling Sunday. This time stung much more as a result of at one level, Detroit had a 14-point lead. The Dolphins did not rating the go-ahead landing till the very finish of the third quarter, leaving the Lions loads of time to retake the lead, theoretically.

Only they did not. The protection did not quit one other level, however the offense, as soon as the very best scoring unit in the league, additionally did not rating one other level and the Lions dropped a heartbreaker by a rating of 31-27.

On Monday, the Lions fired their defensive backs coach, Aubrey Pleasant. Detroit is useless final in passing yards per play given up this season.

It’s not going to yield speedy outcomes, nevertheless it was a transfer to sign that there’s warmth on head coach Dan Campbell and that for as a lot as his gamers, coaches and followers could love his total demeanor, in addition they want outcomes.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can observe Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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