3 things to love from Packers’ win over Panthers
The Green Bay Packers won their eleventh game of the 2020 season with a glowing start and some big games late to avoid a Carolina Panthers comeback offer on Saturday at Lambeau Field.
The Packers led by 21: 3 in the second quarter, but finally won by 24:16.
Here are three things you should love about the Packers victory:
The Green Bay Packers racing back Aaron Jones (33) rush 47 yards in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, December 19, 2020 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Packers ran 195 yards, including 169 on 22 designed runs and 145 on 20 Aaron Jones runs. Of the 22 scheduled runs, 13 won at least five yards, including six of eight yards or more from Jones and one 18-yard from rookie A.J. Dillon. Coach Matt LaFleur admitted he should have run the ball more, especially in the second half when the Packers relied far too much on RPOs and short passing, which were largely unproductive. Jones tore down a 46-yard run preparing a touchdown, and Dillon's run helped get another hit. While the passing game stuttered, the Packers needed chunks on the ground, and Jones and the offensive line delivered. Teams rarely lose when racing nearly 200 yards. The 195 rushing yards are the second most common in a Packers game since LaFleur was discontinued.
Dominance of the red zone
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Trips to the red zone offer the opportunity to score seven points. Teams keep track of the number of times they score touchdowns when entering the 20 yard line as setting field goals or spinning the ball essentially sacrifices points. The Packers were perfect in the red zone against the Panthers, scoring three touchdowns on three trips. The offense has now scored touchdowns on 40 of 51 rides in the red zone this season, by far the best percentage (78.4) in the NFL. The Panthers fought in the red zone on Saturday night and scored only one touchdown in five trips. Carolina went for three field goals and achieved groundbreaking sales on the goal line. If five trips in the red zone presented a chance for 35 points, the Panthers sacrificed 19 points. The packers did not sacrifice any. Matt LaFleur's team's ability to be so good at situational football wins games even when the Packers aren't at their best overall.
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The Packers looked like they had one of the NFL's best safety duos for 2020. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage took some time, but the potential is being recognized on the track. Amos was fantastic against the Panthers, breaking three passes and delivering a sack, while Savage continued to look like a differentiator, especially when playing near the scrimmage line. Together, the Packers collateral separated four passes and had two tackles against losses and four other tackles between 1 and 3 meters from the border. The improvement in defense can be closely followed along the way in which Amos and Savage were created. They're both playing at a high level as the playoffs approach.
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