The Packers ended their four-game losing streak Monday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles by a 27-14 score at Lincoln Financial Field. Here are my initial thoughts on the victory:
Impressive. Who the heck were those guys? Green Bay’s offense was rolling from the get go, and after a shaky start the defense bent but didn’t break all night. This was the type of win we knew the Packers were capable of, even in the midst of their now extinct four-game losing streak. Green Bay overcame injuries on both sides of the ball, and even made some nice plays on special teams. There is reason yet for the Packers to be optimistic.
Davante Adams. What can you say about his performance tonight? Five catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns for the kid some people wanted cut going into the 2016 season. His route running was crisp and he ran well after catches all night. When he’s healthy, he can be the go-to guy Aaron Rodgers needs.
Mike McCarthy. Once again the head coach proved that when he’s able to dictate the action with his play calling, his offense is difficult to stop. The combination of a fast start, an on-point Aaron Rodgers and a rhythmic pace put McCarthy squarely in his comfort zone tonight and it showed. The running game was effective enough, and the Packers mixed it in judiciously while staying true to their passing roots. Eight different players caught passes in the game and Green Bay got its first rushing touchdown by a running back on Aaron Ripkowski’s 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter. Also noteworthy: the Packers won the time of possession battle 35:23 to 24:37.
Injuries. Rodgers was clearly favoring his left leg in the second half. He clearly had some kind of wrap or support on the upper portion of that leg and was not as mobile as usual. It wasn’t enough to take him off his game completely, but it will be something interesting to monitor leading up to the Texans game on Sunday. Clay Matthews and Davante Adams also briefly left the field with injuries at different points in the game, but both returned. Rodgers is obviously the most notable, but losing either Matthews or Adams for a period of time would no doubt prove costly going forward.
Win the next one. There will likely be talk of the NFC North standings this week, but the Packers would do well to ignore it. The fact is Green Bay still sits a game under .500 for the season, and is still two games back of Detroit for the division lead. You can talk about the Lions or Vikings’ remaining schedules all you like, but the Packers’ is the only one that matters. Just win the next one.