Packers weather another rainy day, defense propels win over Raiders, move to 10-4
By Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor
~In the Packers first visit to Oakland since the famous Monday Night in 2003 when Brett Favre was playing just a day after his father Irv died, the Packers got another important win, albeit a lot uglier, in a 30-20 win.
Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy each had bad games, but the defense picked off Derek Carr two times and sacked him three times, holding the Raiders down.
With the win, the Packers moved to 10-4 and officially clinched a playoff spot, again, for the 7th consecutive season. They remain a game up on the Minnesota Vikings, who at 9-5, whipped the Bears today.
James Starks had 51 yards on 9 carries, although he had a costly fumble. Lacy got the ball more, 11 times, for a whopping total of 23 yards, or an average of 2.1. John Crockett, once again, did not dress.
Rodgers threw an inexplicable interception late in the 4th quarter when the Packers were just trying to seal the game and the clock was their friend. He’ll find a way to blame Jeff Janis whom he appeared to be throwing to. Janis had the outside, but Rodgers pass was too far inside. The play call should have been a run anyway there as time was on the Packers side.
James Jones had six catches, including a touchdown against the team he played for last year and was cut from this off-season.
John Kuhn also scored for the Packers on offense.
Rookie Damarious Randall had a pick-six, although he was often beaten by fellow rookie Amari Cooper, who finished with 120 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Julius Peppers led the way on defense with 2 1/2 sacks and 3 QB hits.
Micah Hyde also had an interception which was almost a pick-six.
Once again, the Packers short-yardage offense was absolutely atrocious.
First and goal from the Raiders one-yard line. Bad pass, bad run, another bad pass, and the Packers had to settle for three points. One would think that from the one-yard line, three runs, including QB-sneaks as an option, would be able to get a yard for the touchdown. Not the Packers. Not even with two big backs in Starks and Lacy, and what was supposedly a good offensive line.
These failures have been a recurring theme in Green Bay regardless of who the linemen and running backs are. It kept them from the Super Bowl last year as there were two short yardage failures early in the NFC Championship games which resulted in field goals instead of touchdowns. Rodgers also in that game missed a simple short touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson on a short out to the left.
If the Packers cannot find away to score touchdowns instead of short field goals, they again will exit the playoffs short of the Super Bowl.
The Packers could get as high as the #2 seed and a bye and then home game, or they could get as low as the #6 seed with a trip to the #3-seed, which would be Minnesota. They could also get the #5 seed, which would be at the winner of the NFC East. Currently, the Redskins lead that division with a scintillating
Julius Peppers -He made big plays in the backfield and hurried Carr much of the game.
Jared Abbrederis -Only thrown to three times, it resulted in three completions for 33 yards, including a key first down catch against a big hit.
Eddie Lacy – He ran soft. His carry on 2nd & goal in the 4th quarter was disturbing as he got the ball, didn’t like what he saw and he studder-stepped, and turned it into a four-yard loss. He also, earlier in the game, had a gain of eight yards and a well-designed play. But he kept going too far outside and was ultimately pushed out two yards short of the first down, resulting in a 3rd & two, which the Packers are terrible converting, and predictably didn’t pick up. He could have easily cut it more to the right, upfield, before the sideline got him.
Aaron Rodgers – His overall passer rating was 68.8. He averaged a puny 5.2 yards per attempt, and his interception in the end zone was awful. It’s not the decision we expect from him, and his accuracy was bad on it. He also missed Jeff Janis in the red zone earlier on a third down short throw that was a foot or two, or three too high. Janis had time to get his hands way up, but in the wet conditions, that was a very difficult catch on what should have been a simple pitch and catch.
Packers at Arizona
NY Giants at Minnesota
Vikings at Green Bay
With the win today at Oakland, the Packers have bettered last year’s road record. Last year, the Packers were 4-4 on the road, and then 0-1 on the road in the playoffs. Today’s win gives the Packers a 5-2 road record, with next week’s game at Arizona to come, so a 5-3 road record is likely. Had the Packers gone 5-3 on the road last year, they would have earned the #1 seed and had home-field advantage.