The Green Bay Packers won the 11th game of their 2020 season, using a red-hot start and some big plays by the late Carolina Panthers to return to Lambeau Field on Saturday.
The Packers led 21–3 in the second quarter but were eventually held to a 24–16 victory.
Here are three things to love the Packers victory:
The Green Bay Packers, running back Aaron Jones (33), run for 47 yards in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers on December 19, 2020 at Lambo Field in Green Bay, Wis.
The Packers ran for 195 yards, including 169 on 22 design runs and 145 on 20 carries by Aaron Jones. Of the 22 designed runs, 13 carried at least five yards, six of eight yards or more from Jones and 18-yard by Rocky AJ Dillon. Coach Matt LaFelur admitted that he should have run the ball more, especially in the second half when the Packers became heavily reliant on RPOs and short passing games, which were mostly unproductive. Jones ran for 46 yards, setting up a touchdown, and Dillon’s run helped create another scoring drive. The Packers needed chunk plays on the ground, with Packers sputtering, and Jones and the offensive line distributed. Teams often do not lose when running close to 200 yards. The 195 Rising Yards are the most represented by the Packers in the second game since hiring Lafleur.
Red zone dominance
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Trips in the Red Zone are an opportunity to make seven points. Teams track how often they score a touchdown when entering the 20-yard line because settling for a field goal or turning the ball is essentially a sacrifice of pointers. The Packers were perfect in the Red Zone against the Panthers, scoring three touchdowns on three trips. Now the offense has scored a touchdown on 40 of 51 red-zone trips this season, the best percentage in the NFL (78.4) by a significant margin. Meanwhile, the Panthers struggled inside the Red Zone on Saturday night, scoring just one touchdown in five trips. Carolina settled for three field goals and had a game-changing turnover at the goal line. If five red-zone trips presented an opportunity for 35 points, the Panthers sacrificed 19 points. The Packers did not sacrifice any. Matt LaFleur’s ability to be so good at team football in situational football is winning games, even when the Packers are not at their best.
Beni CU-USA Today Sports
The Packers looked like they would have one of the NFL’s best safety pairings entering 2020. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage needed some time, but the potential stretch is realized. Amos was superb against the Panthers, breaking three passes and delivering a sack, while Savage continued to look like a difference-maker, especially when playing near the line of scrimmage. Together, the Packers Safari broke four passes with two tackles for loss and four other tackles between 1-3 yards from the line of scrambles. The improvement of defense can be tracked neatly along the route emerging from Amos and Savage. They are both playing near the playoffs at a high level.