The Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 30-16 yesterday and now are just two wins away from clinching the NFC North title with a 9-3 record. The Packers built a big lead but a change of quarterback and another special teams gaffe let the Eagles pull within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Packers struck back, however, with a 77-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones to provide the winning margin.
It was another stellar effort by the Packers offense. They got off to a terrible start with a fumble on their first play and a sack on their second play, but after that they found their way and the usual suspects had their usual great games. It was a game of milestones for Aaron Rodgers, he threw his 400th touchdown pass and also became the first quarterback in NFL history with five seasons of 35 or more touchdown passes. He had a total of three against the Eagles.
The Packers have now played three good defenses in a row and put up 31, 41 and 30 points against the Colts, Bears and Eagles, respectively. The Packers’ offense is really starting to come together now that they are 30 games into the Matt LaFleur changeover. This was not an easy offense to learn coming off the Mike McCarthy system that was run here for 13 years. It’s not like they could just call a college essay writing service and have their work done for them. This took hard work and for everybody to buy in. Now that they have, it is tough to stop and fun to watch.
And the amazing thing is the Packers are doing it with what seems like a new offensive line every week. Against the Eagles they once again had to adjust to the absence of center Corey Linsley. And once again, no problem, Rodgers was only sacked one more time after that second play. And late in the game they opened the hole that Jones used to ice the game.
This was also the second straight good performance by the Packers’ defense. The destroyed the Eagles offensive line, racking up seven sacks and driving Carson Wentz from the game. It was the kind of pass rush the Packers had last year when the Smith Bros. wrecked havoc on the league. Za’Darius Smith has picked up right where he left off last year with 10.5 sacks so far. But it’s second year man Rashan Gary who is proving the most help to Z. He has four sacks and every week seems to be getting better and better. He’s always around the quarterback it seems.
Coming together on both sides of the ball in December is a very good thing. It would be huge if the Packers, currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC, could wrestle the one seed away from the Saints. More on that later.