In what was a spectacular display of athleticism, Green Bay Packers fans everywhere endured 60 minutes of intense emotions during the rollercoaster Week 9 game against the San Diego Chargers. Ultimately, Green Bay sealed the deal with 0:33 left on the clock, marking down the Pack as the still the only undefeated team in the NFL.
Even better for the franchise, this week’s win extends their all-time longest win streak to 14 games. Considering this was an away game, this makes for eight road wins in a row as well. If it wasn’t for the nervous adrenaline I'm still trying to swallow from what I just witnessed, I would tell you this game was in the bag before it started — Green Bay has never lost to the Chargers, ever.
Despite the win, this one left Packer fans mentally drained and with potentially bleeding finger tips. It was good enough, yes, but a breakdown analysis will give us a clearer picture of what played out in Qualcomm Stadium.
Starting with my game defensive MVP, six-year veteran Charlie Peprah, strong safety, I must say that he continues to impress me. Looking at his performance, why do I think he outperformed his other players? His box score stats aren't higher, so what am I thinking?
For starters, watch the video above if you were under a rock during this game, during the news recaps later or if your Internet for some reason couldn't stream the highlights. The way he weaves in and out of the entire offensive line will amaze you.
Peprah picked off two balls during this game, doubling his career stats. On top of that, he ran in for his first career TD with his first pick. Typically a man of play assists, Peprah was in the limelight during this performance.
As for the final Chargers' play of the game, right when Lambeau lovers everywhere were holding their breath, Super Peprah comes in and saves the day with his second interception followed by a 76-yard return. Phenomenal.
In addition to all of this, a review of the numbers easily shows the absolute relevance of these two plays. Heck, did I really say defensive MVP? He's the game MVP, but we'll break that down later...
Charlie Peprah, A+ performance.
CB Tramon Williams outplayed his counterpart CB Charles Woodson, despite Woodson being up one tackle on Williams.
With the close performances that were played out in this week 9 face off, it was pivital plays such as Williams' touchdown interception that made this game a win for Green Bay instead of their first season loss.
In addition to this, Woodson had a total of 3 penalties for a loss of 23 yards. Come on Woodson, that was more than 50 percent of the total penalties and lost yards for Green Bay. He's lucky he has the highest amount of interceptions this year for the franchise.
Williams- A; Woodson- C-.
Speaking of the defense, inside linebackers are the ones responsible for blocking the running game. For Green Bay, that would be the duty of A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop for starters. How do you think they did?
The San Diego Chargers were held to a 4.0 average gain per rushing play. By comparison, their defense only held the Packers to a 5.2 average. Green Bay linebackers obviously outperformed in that area.
Not only that, but Hawk and Bishop combined for the highest amount of tackles (18) for both defenses as well. San Diego's two defensive leaders combined for 15 tackles. Props to Bishop for one sack on QB Philip Rivers as well.
Inside linebackers: A for effort. Not everyone on the defense played nearly as well, but these two did everything in their job description and put the numbers up to prove it.
Likely discussing how to save the game from the failing defense
There are legitimate reasons why the San Diego Chargers, a team coming in at 4-3, were able to gain five touchdowns, five extra points and a field goal against the defending Super Bowl champions and only undefeated NFL team.
It's defensive performances like that of Clay Matthews and Jarius Wynn that made it possible. I'd give some heat to Frank Zombo and C.J. Wilson as well, but they're not elevated to starter position for a reason so I'll let them slide a little bit.
With only one tackle for each of these players, we wonder how two of them became starters. If Week 9 was what we based their career performance on, we would be second guessing Dom Caper's defensive strategy. Oh wait, I have been all year, ever since he and Ted Thompson finalized the 53-man roster too heavy on the linebackers and left the depth chart shallow on the offense.
In case you're wondering whether or not they actually got the play time to get the numbers, they did. In fact, it was right after a few of their lackluster performances while their teammates rested that San Diego made their plays.
With Rodgers taking sacks in nearly every game, perhaps those roster spots should have gone to some better guards, tackles and fullbacks instead of underperforming defensive players. You would think having the most valuable quarterback in the NFL would be an asset to protect; but heck, I'm just a writer, what do I know?
C-. I am far from impressed.
Well, Aaron Rodgers did it again. He pulled his team together to clinch a win that, for a bit, seemed up for grabs.
When it seems that the best cannot get better, Aaron Rodgers continues to shock and awe. His QB rate for the game? 145.8. I'm not even kidding. That is just plain sick and disgusting in such an amazing way. I don't even know if one man should be allowed to be that talented.
In terms of passing yards, Rodgers played conservatively. He only threw 26 times in comparison with San Diego's 46. Quality trumps quantity though, and with 21 of those attempts being completed, he earned 247 yards and four passing touchdowns without a single interception.
Rodgers also put up more rushing yards than any game this season, totaling 52 yards on eight attempts. Although this seems great for his active participation, if he wasn't blitzed so many times in the breached pocket, he wouldn't need to put himself in harm's way.
A for Aaron.
T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton, as well as tackles Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod (now that Clifton is out), need to step up and protect the line of scrimmage. I hope Dom Capers shudders every time the line is breached and Rodgers takes a hit.
Why do I keep blaming the defensive coach for offensive faults? Because of the influence he had on the roster which left those positions lacking. If Rodgers continues to be pressured due to the shortages there, I will blame Capers. Yes, Rodgers is doing great on rushing it himself for the down, but he shouldn't have to do that.
It's amazing that Rodgers has been performing at the optimal level that he has been despite the failures of the rest of the offensive line. Sometimes I swear he and the running backs and wide receivers are the only ones on the offensive line.
Tackles and guards? D. Get your head in the game before you're out. I wouldn't reward that type of performance with a paycheck if it was up to me. You're lucky you have contracts.
Ultimately, Green Bay took home the win just like they hoped for. However, it wasn't an easy win. Honestly, if it wasn't for Williams and Peprah, I don't think they would have had it. Here's that breakdown I said I'd get to:
Fourth-down efficiency was at zero percent for the Boys From the Bay. Zero. Third-down efficiency was only at 60 percent.
Green Bay had 368 total yards in comparison with San Diego's 460, with an average gain per offensive play a tenth lower than the Chargers as well.
San Diego's red-zone efficiency was also 100 percent, with Green Bay's significantly lower at 75. The Chargers' goal-to-go efficiency? One-hundred percent as well. Green Bay's? Sixty-six percent.
With the difference in the final score being only one touchdown with the Chargers driving in the final minute of the fourth quarter, we can really see how if it wasn't for three interceptions (two of which resulted in scoring returns) Green Bay might not have the record they are lucky enough to still be defending.
As for me, too close for comfort.