What We Learned — Week 8

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At 6-0, Green Bay went into Denver to face the 6-0 Broncos on Sunday Night Football. It was expected that this would be a close and good. It was good. If you are a Broncos fan. Here’s what we learned.

What We Learned…

We learned that Green Bay’s defense is not as good as expected. The defense made 2015 Peyton Manning Look like 2013 Manning. Manning completed 21 of 29 throws for 340 yards and even though he did throw an interception, Manning looked phenomenal.

Denver running backs combined for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns. The last two games, the defense has allowed 843 yards passing. This defense needs to figure things out, and fast.

We also learned that Green Bay passing offense still cannot get separation. The entire passing offense looked bad, mustering up 76 passing yards. Seventy six. Seriously. That was all game. Not just one play. Aaron Rodgers looked as bad as he has in years.

Green Bay’s leading receiver, Randall Cobb, had 6 catches for 27 yards. Denver may have one of the best corner tandems in the league with Chris Harris Jr. and Aquib Talib, and the Packers did nothing to disprove their dominance. This was the ugliest loss after a bye week in the Mike McCarthy era.

We also learned that Casey Hayward belongs in the slot. The injuries to Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins forced Hayward to play the perimeter and Demaryius Thomas burned him several times. Hayward is best suited in his more natural position, slot cornerback. Hayward was picked on by Thomas and Manning for most of the game. Thomas had 8 receptions on 11 targets for 168 yards, many of those against Hayward.

What We Think We Learned…

We think this is Green Bay’s annual stinker game. In the McCarthy era,the Packers are good for a game they should win but don’t. Recent examples the 2014 game against the Buffalo and 2011 game against Kansas City. Let’s hope 2015 against Denver is just one of those games.

We think that the Packers’ receivers need separation. Many have called for a deep threat to emerge. For seven weeks now Packers fans have been waiting for it. And Rodgers has been waiting. And waiting. And getting sacked. We think that the offense needs to refocus on shorter route combinations that work to get the Packers receivers open without a deep threat.

What We Hope Isn’t True…

We hope the injuries to Rollins and Shields aren’t serious. Based on the showing tonight, Green Bay can ill-afford losing those two for an extended period of time.

We hope that the offensive and defensive lines figure things out. This was one of the worst performances of the offensive line of this season, and all five starters were playing.

The defensive line wasn’t great either. While Denver has one of the best defenses in the league, their offensive line leaves much to be desired. The Packers looked terrible the last two games on the defensive line. Hopefully they can snap out of their slump next week in Carolina.

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By Mark Wellner

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