2020 Week 15

Packers 24 Panthers 16

A few observations:  Jersey Mike’s subs is stilled called Jersey Mike’s, not just Mike’s.  I think the Jersey is just redundant; we’re already in Jersey, shouldn’t it just be called Mike’s?  There isn’t a way to sync XM homegame feed with the games on TV.  For some reason, Buffalo Wild Wing decided to close at 10 on Saturday, so I had to leave and drive back to my hotel. I switched on the XM app and listened to the previous 5 minutes that I saw on the TV.  Wayne and Larry got me back to the hotel, and I watched the rest of the game on the Yahoo app on my phone.  Finally, there’s something to be said for this “one game at a time” business.  The Packer’s coaching staff would be well versed in keeping that in mind.

There’s a reason there’s a halftime in a football game.  Other than the chance to see the UW Marching Band, or the Oneida Nation traditional dance team of course.  It’s a chance, if you’re behind to adjust your scheme defensively and offensively to turn the tide and win the game.  If you’re winning, it gives you a chance to add a wrinkle and keep the opponents defense guessing and disguise coverage so their offense won’t see it coming.  Guess which team did that last Sunday.  Here’s a hint it wasn’t the guys in Green and Gold! 

The Packers came out swinging on Saturday night.  The twin Aarons (Jones and Rodgers) were humming like a finely tuned Hot-Rod Lincoln.  The second half, they came out like a model T.  This is the same thing the Packers did against Indianapolis a few weeks ago, the difference this time is that the Panthers weren’t up to the task. 

Teddy Bridgewater is not a bad quarterback.  He’s efficient, he can run if he needs to, he throws with accuracy.  He just doesn’t have enough quality players around him.  The Panthers were missing all-everything Christian McCaffrey and along with him probably half of their playbook.  The Panthers are also extremely young.  In the first half Aaron Rodgers took that young secondary to school, in the second half, they showed how much they had learned for the most part. 

Aaron Rodgers had a good night.  He threw for a TD to Robert Tonyan and rushed for another.  After the run, Aaron put on “the belt” and he, Aaron Jones, and Alan Lazard prayed to the Football Gods.  It must have done a little bit of good because later as Carolina was at the 1 yard line, Krys Barnes met Bridgewater in mid-air and knocked the ball out of his hands, Kevin King scooped it and set up the Panthers after running the fumble back about 40 yards.

Cue Aaron Jones.  Jones went 20 for 145 yards, with a long of 46 as well as a high-stepping TD that looked ridiculously easy.  A.J. Dillon came off of Covid reserve and had one hard, pounding 18 yards rush and never touched the ball for the rest of the night for whatever reason.  Jamaal Williams got a thigh contusion and was limited to just 1 run for 6 yards.  Perhaps if Dillion had been used more and the Packers had used him as the “hammer” to Jones’ “nail” we could have had this coffin shut.

Back in the mid 90’s the Panthers were called the “Cardiac Cats.”  They won with some breathtaking scores, they also famously asked then-Cowboys Coach if he, “knows where Charlotte, NC is NOW??”  Shout-out to Coach Kevin Greene who passed at 58 this week.  Greene famously coached Clay Matthews that, “It is time!” just before Matthews famously caused a fumble in Superbowl XLV, sparking the Packers to continue their march to the victory.  RIP Coach. 

The Packers have a great task in front of them, they also have an easier path.  They face a Tennessee team that boasts one of the most ferocious runners in the league.  Derrick Henry stiff-armed a Lyins defender into next week this past Sunday.  Duh Bears were victorious over the Viqueens.  We need to beat one of these teams to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs.  I’ll leave it to my writing colleague to give us the scoop on whether or not that will happen Sunday night.  We won, it wasn’t pretty, but as long as we win, we
(Ken Hill)

 Just Sayin'

Shades of 2020 . . . . wait, it is STILL 2020. Folks, as you read this, we will have less than a week left of this wretched year. OK, shades of early season 2020. You remember those games where the offense would come out in the first half and do pretty much anything they wanted. Then came the second half and the offense floundered around like a fish out of water. So, there we were again with the second half of the Panther game. It was punt after punt after punt with one solitary FG inserted in there for the whole half. If you remember, sometime early in the second half, Rodgers scrambled and was running out of bounds. He was hit as he went out of bounds. I was surprised there was no penalty for the hit. (If Tom Brady took a hit like that, the refs would probably have given the Bucs a touchdown.) But as they showed the replay, one of Rodgers’ ankles seemed to twist a little awkwardly. I never noticed him limping at all, but he was “off” for much of the remainder of the game. I think that was a real factor in the second half.

Another factor was most likely some halftime adjustments made by the Panthers during intermission. And when it was apparent on the field that they had made some halftime adjustments, Nathaniel Hackett (our OC) made some adjustments as well. If he was in the booth, he probably changed his seat cushion. If he was on the sideline, he probably added a layer since the temperature was dropping. It was quite obvious that he made no adjustments to compensate for the Panther adjustments. (And BTW, I hate using the same word so many times so close together. But it is late, and part of my brain has shut down.)

Anyhoodles (shades of last week), the running game for the offense was in fine condition, at least in the first half. Jones wound up with 145 yards, but I think most of those were in the first half. From what I have read, LeFleur has admitted he gave up too early on the rushing game in the 2nd half. On the night as a whole, I think Davante Adams had a subpar night. I suppose his subpar game was related to Rodgers’ struggles in the 2nd half. Tonyan was 3 for 3 and a TD. As far as the defense goes, they are playing better. They only gave up 115 yards rushing. And while Mike Davis is no Derrick Henry, he is pretty good.

So, the rushing part of the defense continues an upward trend. The pass defense did give up a 40-yard reception, but they are playing pretty good football. The biggest problem with the defense is something we know all too well. I tried to look it up as best I could, and from what I could find, the last time the Packers drafted a top college linebacker, was 2006. That was AJ Hawk. While he was never great, he was more solid than most middle linebackers that came through Green Bay in the last decade or so. Many wish we had kept Blake Martinez. While he made a great many tackles, statistics show that most of them were 4 to 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. The Smith brothers each got a sack, as did Amos. And how about the turn of events as the Panthers fumble at the goal line and the Packers finish the play with the ball on the Panthers 46-yard line?

Ok, maybe as we are reaching the home stretch of the season, the Packers have gotten the bad game behind them. I hope so, but I am still a little uneasy about Derrick Henry and the Titans
Just Sayin’
(Jimmy Smith)


Well, it was a chilly Saturday night when 22 faithful Greenville Packer Backers met at Spare Time to cheer on our team.  207 Christy Papala set us up with Christmas cheer—coffee, hot chocolate with all the toppings, cupcakes, brownies, reindeer cookies, and sweets galore!  I am really feeling spoiled.  Thank you, Christy!

Seven great door prizes went home with lucky members.  219 Dan Blechl will be imbibing from his Moscow Mule Mug and 117 Nick Papala will be serving goodies from his new serving tray.  569 NanLee Weber will be comfortable traveling with her new neck pillow.  577 Bill Fant is keeping Packer time with his new watch.  The remaining prizes were “wearables.”  243 Kasi White chose a tee shirt, 127 Kent Sargent chose socks, and 504 Michael Cox chose shoes.  We filled a $1 board for the football pool.  Winners were 117 Nick Papala, 120 Neil (Clark) Petersen, and 328 Marge Bramlett (2).

The club sponsored a pajama/ugly sweater contest to honor the game time and season.  241 Tiffany Bailey was declared the winner and received $20 from the club.  After a few false starts the correct answer for the trivia contest was submitted by 243 Kasi White.  She won a $25 gift card donated by our friends and sponsors at Spare Time. 

Our next game is against the Tightens on Sunday, December 27, at 8:15 p.m. or so.  That’s right—ANOTHER night game.  I’m planning to be there, and I hope you all will join me, even if for just a while to cheer on the Pack and partake of some half-time goodies from Spare-Time!  We need to back our team even if the NFL says we play at night.  That’s part of the “through thick and thin” mantra.  I hope you had a Merry Christmas and hope to see you Sunday night. 
Marge 328

 Packers vs Tightens

This is a test.  For the next 60 minutes, we will be conducting a test of the National Football League… this is only a test.  Many of us “older” fans remember something similar to this when the TV or radio did the test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This was then followed by that hideous sound for a minute; luckily, no apocalyptic information was ever broadcast when the sound was over.

This week that hideous sound will be a wakeup call for the Packers.  The Tightens should be in the AFC playoffs so this will be a measuring stick as to how the Packers play against a real opponent.  The Packers are currently 1-2 against playoff teams with a very ugly game at Tommy Bay.  As other mem-bers have told me, and I am in complete agreement with them, the Packers play to the level of their opponent. 

Last Saturday’s game was almost the exception.  For the first 28:00 minutes, we played like a team ready to bring Vince’s trophy back home.  Then the last 32:00 minutes the offense managed 5 first downs and 73 total yards and 13:39 in time of possession.  Luckily, 42 yards and 3 of those first downs came on a drive that netted  us 3 points.  I don’t know what got into Aaron, the second half he looked angry; even on plays getting us first downs.  It was like he either was pissed at his receivers for not being where he thought they should be, as Jimmy pointed out, the tackle out of bounds or maybe it was that Grub Hub got his halftime order wrong.  Either way, nothing good ever happens when he has “that look” and if it wasn’t for a great overall game by the defense (3 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 7 pass defenses, including 3 in a row and of course the goal line fumble) the final score could have looked much different.

This week, the offense needs to get their groove back. Last week Jones had 145 yards was in the running for FedEx Ground Player of the week, but it was almost for naught.  Adams had 7 catches for 42 yards and Rodgers was 20 of 29 but only 145 total yards.  It may have been enough against a 4-10 team but not against a 10-4 team.  The good news is we have Aaron².  With that, the Packers have one of the most balanced attacked in the league.  It makes it hard on any defense when you must respect both the threat of the run and the pass on every play.  Being able to keep that balance should help the offense find that missing rhythm they lost in the second half.

The defense will face its biggest challenge to date as they try to contain Derrick Henry.  As I noted earlier, Aaron Jones was up for FedEx Ground player of the week; guess who won?  That’s right, Derrick Henry. As a matter of fact, 4 out of the last 5 weeks, it has been Henry (Aaron Jones being the 1 exception), providing constant highlight film of him throwing players away as they try to take him down, making them look silly in the process.  Our run defense is ranked #21 against the run, Tightens are #2 in Rushing.  What will Pettine do?  There is one thing we haven’t tried this year and that is a 4-3 defense.  We have the personnel to do it when we acquired Anthony Rush.  At 6’-4 ~ 361# along with Kenny Clark at 6’-3 ~ 314# that would make for a solid wall up the middle.  The problem is Henry is as fast as he is big (6’-3 ~ 247#). Getting our linebackers out there quick enough to tackle him is the secret.  Therein lies the problem.  Our linebackers are big enough but are they fast enough to tackle him; our Cornerbacks are fast enough but are they big enough to tackle him; thus the aforementioned highlight reels.  The Tightens are #31 in passing; being able to force them off Henry and onto Tannehill will be the true test for our defense.

Both teams still have something to play for before the playoffs begin.  Tightens have not stamped their dance card yet.  They are in a battle with the Colts for the AFC South title and the pesky Browns for a wild card spot.  Packers have a spot but could get the first dance off with a Sunday win and a seahags loss.  Game time will let us know how the hags did against the Rams.  For what it’s worth, Packers are 4.5 point favorites; but we all know the only number that counts is the W.  A win in Lambeau will most likely mean every team will need to face the Green Bay weather AND getting the #1 seed this week will allow us to beat up duh bears just for the fun of it.  See you all Sunday night where we will happily…  
Bleed Green My friends!
(Packer John)


As we say good riddance to 2020 let's wish Joe Lanteigne a Very Happy Birthday on January 1st Cheers to another turn around the sun! I'd like to wish each of my fellow Packer Backers a very Happy and Safe new year! May this year be better than the last and as always Go Pack Go!

From all of us at The Packer Backer Bits, have a safe and festive New Year’s Day.  Yeah for 2021!
Send your birthday, graduation anniversary,  or other milestone Shout-out’s to me at:
(Heather Bailey)