Touchdowns harder for Packers on extended drives : Packers Insider

Touchdowns harder for Packers on extended drives

October 3, 2010 by  
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Oct 3, 2010 ~ by Tom Silverstein

~Here’s the thing about the classic, take-what-the-defense-gives-you, 10- to 12-play touchdown drive that so many people associate with offensive dominance:

It’s a lot harder to pull off than its shorter, deep-ball influenced relative.

Though it’s difficult to find empirical evidence of that throughout National Football League history, it certainly appears to be the case where the big-play Green Bay Packers are concerned.

Through the Packers’ three games this season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ longest completion is only 34 yards. Last season, Rodgers had 17 completions of 40 yards or more.

Take a look at their scoring drives from a year ago and you’ll find that the shorter the drive, the better odds the Packers had of scoring a touchdown rather than a field goal. It was part of their offensive personality under talented quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his many capable targets to strike quickly.

So what happens when a defense starts dictating that it’s going to make you use 10 or 12 plays to get into the end zone?

Well, that’s what the Packers are starting to figure out.

Following a half of football in which the Chicago Bears completely ignored the Packers’ ineffectual running game and spread seven defenders deep down the field in zone coverage – thereby forcing a shift to a punchless dink-and-dunk offense – the Packers may experience a shift in the way opponents play them.

“There will be games down the road where we’re going to have to run the ball more times and more effectively, and I think we can do that in a situation like that where I was efficient and the ball was coming out good,” Rodgers said last week. “I had a good feel, the receivers were doing a nice job getting open and making plays and the defense was playing a bend but don’t break scheme. You have to take what they’re giving you.”

The problem is that despite Rodgers completing an impressive 19 of 22 passes for 144 yards in the second half, the Packers had just four possessions and scored just once in a 23-20 loss at Soldier Field. The Bears blocked a field goal to end one drive, forced a punt on another and caused a fumble on the other.

The Packers will point to the fact they committed a holding penalty that negated a touchdown and committed several other penalties that doomed drives, but, as the Bears will tell you, that’s the whole point of making a team use that many plays to score. The odds are it is going to make a mistake along the way.

“That’s the scheme that Chicago wants to play,” Rodgers said. “They want you to go 10 plays to get the ball in the end zone. And we had a couple drives over 10 plays and one got no points and had a field goal blocked and we had a 12-play to score and take the lead.

“I think we have the ability to quick strike like we did a lot last year or if it takes 10 or 12 plays, I think we can do that.” 

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