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by Mark Metzler

 

With the return of Aaron Rodgers and the return of Russell Wilson, we got something we didn’t expect: a defensive game. For the first time since 2018, the Packers pitched a shutout against Seattle Seahawks, 17-0. It was the first time the Seahawks had been shutout since 2011.

The two big plays were interceptions in the end zone. The first by Kevin King and the second by Adrian Amos. King’s stopped Seattle’s only real drive of the game. Amos’ was on a desperation heave by Wilson. The defensive backfield again played very well. 

Offensively, the Packers did control the ball, and that finally wore down the Seattle defense. A.J. Dillon ran over people to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He’s a load – as we saw on his two touchdowns and that 50-yard swing pass where he kept knocking people down. Dillon is going to have to be a beast for the next few weeks. Preliminary news on Aaron Jones’ knee injury is it is a sprained MCL. That will keep him out for a number of weeks, but there is hope he will be back by the end of the season. Patrick Taylor did get several carries, and I think I he will be OK as a second back, but he’s not in Jones’ league. Few are in the NFL.

The defensive game was only a sort of a surprise because the Packers defense has continued to improve week after week. They played very well against the Cardinals in that critical win, and they played even better against the Chiefs in last week’s loss. Really, since the team’s blowout loss against the Saints in week one, the Packers have shown one of the very top defenses in the league.

Part of the good play for the Packers against the Seahawks is the Seahawks really don’t have a very good offensive line, so the defensive front was able to create consistent pressure on Wilson. Plus, Wilson was rusty because he had been injured.

But the good defensive play came at a price. There were two big injuries, to Rashan Gary and Whitney Mercilus. Those two players are key to the team’s long-term success. Let’s hope the injuries aren’t as serious as they looked on replay. That doesn’t leave much for outside linebacker. Za’Darius Smith is still several weeks away from returning. There is still hope that defensive back Jaire Alexander will return before the end of the season as well. Offensively, tackle David Bakhtiari should be back in the next two weeks.

Rodgers said he was emotional about being back. Yeh, well, good for him. I think many Packers fans have mixed emotions about Rodgers being back. They want the team to win, and Rodgers is easily the best chance for that to happen. But they don’t like being lied to, and they don’t like someone putting out the perception that he is more important than the team. That is really what we’ve gotten from Rodgers throughout this season. I see that State Farm has forgiven him, at least, airing a number of his commercials.

Jordan Love probably could have put up three points in the first half, too. But anyone can see that Rodgers is better. Truth is, he’s better than anybody in the league. Even though he wasn’t able to push the team into the end zone in the first half, he put up 160 yards in passing in the first half, and 292 for the game. 

With the Carolina Panthers taking it to the injured Arizona Cardinals, the Packers are once again in position to control their destiny. Currently, they are the top seed, and home field advantage will be so important this year.

But next week it’s the Vikings, and while the Vikings are continually finding ways to lose this year, they almost always play tough against the Packers. Plus, they beat a good Chargers team. After that, it will be the Los Angeles Rams. They are really good. I hope the defense is back to nearly full strength by then.