Star Ratings: Packers vs. Panthers
This game did not live up to the expectations that Packers fans had in their heads when the game started. People thought this would be the beginning of Green Bay’s march to the Super Bowl, and instead, they’re probably looking out on the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It’s a surreal feeling. Last night watching Patriots-Steelers, I realized that I may not have January football to care about and it bummed me out. Panthers did whatever they wanted to this defense as the Packers come away with their seventh loss.
David Bakhtiari – For all things considered, David Bakhtiari did a great job keeping Aaron Rodgers upright on the blindside. He graded it out as the best player on the field for Green Bay according to Pro Football Focus, and you can tell out there. He contained the Carolina pass rush pretty well on the left side of the offensive line. He deserves some credit for keeping Rodgers upright.
Richard Rodgers – You know what? I came away pretty impressed with Richard Rodgers for the most part. The guy basically is an afterthought in the offense through the whole year, and somehow, he ends up being a difference maker in the second half for this team. He had a big touchdown grab along with three other catches for 77 yards. If Green Bay had won this football game, Rodgers would have been the unsung hero.
Damarious Randall – Pro Bowl gets announced on Tuesday, and Damarious Randall will probably not make it yet he certainly has a case to be there. Again, Randall shut down the top wide receiver in an offense with Devin Funchess doing next to nothing on Sunday with only one catch for 19 yards. Randall is becoming a shutdown corner which should give some promise to Packers fans for years to come.
Davante Adams – Man. What does this game look like if Davante Adams doesn’t get a crackback block from Thomas Davis on an interception? The offense stalled quite a bit without Adams in the second half. To add salt to the wound, Geronimo Allison’s route would have been Adams’ in the usual offense. It’s likely we will not see Adams for Minnesota, and it wouldn’t shock me if the team kept him out for the season.
Aaron Rodgers – Here’s the thing about Rodgers. He did what he could. The more I think about this game, the more mad I get that Green Bay believed he could do usual Aaron Rodgers things. I’m trying to figure out how that happened? Did Mike McCarthy buy into all of the stuff the quarterback told him the last two weeks? Did Rodgers end up doing more than he thought he could? The lack of running game to support Rodgers really hurt him. He threw three picks for the first time since 2009.
Aaron Jones – Another player where you wonder, what if? Jones rushed the ball for 47 yards which seems like nothing, but then when you add in, he only needed three carries, the eyes get bigger. Then you wonder where the fuck was the coaching staff with Jones in this game? How does he not get several carries and try to break this Carolina defense. Instead, they relied solely on Rodgers. This coaching staff needs to realize they have a good running game, and it’s okay to use them once in awhile.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Man, there are so many what if’s in this game, I might start crying by the end of writing this one. Ha Ha could have changed the game with Damarie Byrd’s ridiculous butt touchdown. Clinton-Dix could have stopped in the back of the end zone and had a shot at picking the ball off. Instead of playing the ball, he played the man leading to Byrd catching a touchdown. That could have been intercepted under the right circumstances.
Clay Matthews – After one of his best games of the year, Clay Matthews struggled mightily against the athleticism of Carolina. I still contend he’s had a pretty good year, but Carolina made him look very old out there. Matthews slipped a couple times plus a missed tackle or two, it did not go well for him.
Jason Spriggs – On the podcast this week, I said to Mitch that Jason Spriggs did pretty well the last couple of weeks. And then this week happened. Spriggs fell apart in the final quarter of this game leading to Rodgers having all sorts of pressure from the right side. He’s not a starting tackle in the NFL.
Josh Jones – Like Matthews, Jones took a step back in this one. He got baptized by Greg Olsen all game along as the veteran Panthers tight end washed him for 116 yards on nine catches. Green Bay had been good versus tight ends all year long, but it appears Olsen had the right ingredients to beat up this team.
All eyes head to Tampa tonight.