Ell’s NFL Weekly: Week 9

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December 22, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports

Week 9

tannehill

Bengals 20 vs. Dolphins 22

The Dolphins pull off a close one with a sack for a safety in OT by DE Cameron Wake which ended the game. QB Ryan Tannehill went 20/28 for 208yds and 1 carry for 1yd and a TD. He led the team on a nice 4th quarter drive to set them up in field goal range to go to OT. RB Lamar Miller had a good day with 16 carries for 105yds, 24yds receiving, and a fumble (loss). WR Mike Wallace led the way receiving with 6 catches for 82yds on the day; no other receiver had over 39yds. The Dolphins defense played well bring pressure all game with 5 sacks, 3INTs, a forced fumble (recovered), a safety, and a TD (pick 6 CB Brent Grimes 94yds). The defense was led by Wake with 5 tackles, 3sacks, a forced fumble, and the game winning safety. For the Bengals, QB Andy Dalton threw for a lot of yards, but couldn’t stop committing turnovers as he had 338yds and 3INTs (1 was WR Mohamed Sanu’s fault). Rookie RB Giovani Bernard was the star of the team with 9 carries for 79yds and 2TDs with and 25yds receiving; he had a nice 35yd TD run on Barry Sanders like run. However, Bernard left in the 4th quarter with a rib injury and did not return. Starting RB Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis struggled with 21 carries for 72yds. Star WR A.J. Green led the receiving effort with 11 catches for 128yds, while WR Marvin Jones added 4 catches for 66yds, and Sanu added 6 catches for 62yds giving the Bengals a nice trio. The Bengals D played well against the pass except late in the game and struggled with their run defense as they had 3sacks and forced fumble on the day. The Dolphins improve to 4-4 with a much needed home win after a string of losses. However, they must get into the end zone when in scoring range and the O-line must continue to play better. The Bengals fall to 6-3 in a game that they could have won, but costly mistakes and turnovers will lead to losses in close games.

Falcons 10 vs. Panthers 34

The Panthers win a big one against their struggling divisional rival Falcons, but the game was closer than it looked until turnovers and good defense shutout the Falcons in the 2nd half. QB Cam Newton had 249yds on the day with a TD, 2INTs, 5 rushes for 22yds and a rushing TD on the day. Backup RB Jonathan Stewart led the team in rushing with 9 carries for 43yds and 3 catches for 22yds while RB DeAngelo Williams had 13 carries for 42yds with 12yds receiving and RB/FB Mike Tolbert added 13yds receiving and 6 carries for 24yds with a 4yd TD as the 1st score of the game. WR Brandon Lafell led the team in receiving with 6 catches for 74yds and WR Steve Smith had 4 catches for 52yds. TE Greg Olsen continues to be a consistent target with 4 catches for 66yds and a TD stretching the field. The Panthers D played well with 3INTs, a sack, a forced fumble (recovered) and a TD (pick 6 CB Drayton Florence) led by star MLB Luke Kuechly 8 tackles and an INT. The Falcons struggled behind QB Matt Ryan who went 20/27 with 219yds and a TD, but threw 3 INTs (1 pick 6) in a game that was 14-10 at halftime. RB Steven Jackson led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 57 and 19 yards receiving showing a better rushing effort with a week of practice while healthy. Backup RB Jacquizz Rodgers struggled with 5 carries for 19yds, 25yds receiving, and a fumble (loss). WR Harry Douglas led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 82yds stretching the field, while TE Tony Gonzales added 6 catches for 81yds and a TD as the 2nd option in the offense. The Falcons D struggled with only a sack and fumble (not recovered), but undrafted rookie LB Paul Worrilow led the way with 19tackles tying a franchise record. The Panthers improve to 5-3 with a much needed divisional win, but the offense needs to play a little better. This team has a good balance and RB Jonathan Stewart should help out a lot as the 3rd down back. The Falcons fall to 2-6 as the season continues to get worst with poor defense and this time turnovers on offense which doesn’t help the cause, but the Falcons need playmakers to step up on both sides of the ball. They may have found one in LB Paul Worrilow, while WR Harry Douglas continues to impress.

Vikings 23 vs. Cowboys 27

The Cowboys win a close one with a nice drive down the field by QB Tony Romo in the 4th quarter to win the game, despite a late INT, but the Vikings couldn’t capitalize. Romo threw for 337yds 2TDs and an INT on the day. RB DeMarco Murray had only 4 carries for 31yds and 6 catches for 19yds with only 8 total carries by RBs on the day. TE Jason Witten led the team in receiving with 8 catches for 102yds and a TD as the primary target. WR Cole Beasley continues to impress out of the slot with 6 catches for 68yds and star WR Dez Bryant had 6 catches for 64yds and some costly penalties in the game. The Cowboys defense played well against the pass bringing pressure, but struggled against the running game as they had 2 sacks, an INT, and 2 forced fumble (1 recovered for TD DE Nick Hayden). On the other side, QB Christian Ponder had 236yds, a TD, an INT, 2 fumbles (1 loss for TD) 4 carries for 29yds, and a TD on the day. RB Adrian Peterson had 25 carries for 140yds including an 11yd TD where he ran over a defender on the day while adding 37yds receiving 2nd best on the team. WR Greg Jennings led the team in receiving with 6 catches for 56yds and TE Kyle Rudolph added 2 catches for 35yds and a hard fought 31yd TD catch powering through defenders leading to a foot injury (he did not return). The Vikings defense provided pressure as they had 3 sacks and an INT, but they allowed a key drive late in the game and the offense couldn’t make plays in key situations. The defense was led by DE Brian Robison who had 2 tackles and 2 sacks in the game. The Cowboys improve to 5-4 with a much needed win, but the defense must stop the run and offense needs more balance, if they want to make the playoffs. The Vikings fall to 1-7 on the season and miss out on a close one as QB Christian Ponder couldn’t make enough plays as usual and the passing game was stagnant. RB Adrian Peterson continues to run hard and the defense plays well so wins could be on the horizon.

jets

Saints 20 vs. Jets 26

The Jets get a huge home win beating the hot Saints with a good defensive effort and run game as RB Chris Ivory plays against his old team and twin brothers HC Rex Ryan (Jets) and Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan (Saints)go at it defensively. Rookie QB Geno Smith struggled passing going 8/19 with 115yds, but he added 6 carries for 18yds and a TD rushing. KR/WR Josh Cribbs completed a pass for 25yds, had 3 carries for 12yds, and 2 catches for 6yds to go along with a good day on special teams with a kick return of 42yds on the day. RB Chris Ivory was the star of the game with 18 carries for 139yds and a TD. WR Greg Salas led the way in receiving with 2 catches for 57yds and undrafted rookie TE Zach Sudfeld added 2 catches for 46yds; he was claimed off waivers from the Patriots.  Kicker Nick Folk was 4/4 as he continues to impress this season even in the clutch. The Jets defense played well slowing down QB Drew Brees as they had 2sacks, 2 INTs, and a forced fumble led by OLB Calvin Pace who had 3tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Although, it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet DE Quinton Coples had a good game providing pressure in key situations even with the stop to allow the Jets to end the game. On the other side, Drew Brees threw for 382yds, 2TDs, a fumble and 2 INTs in a game where the ball kept getting tipped in the air. The running game was not used much with the Saints in passing mode as RB Pierre Thomas had 6 carries for 24yds and 7 catches for 66yds while RB Mark Ingram added 4 carries for 19yds. TE Jimmy Graham led the way with 9 catches for 116yds and 2 TDs on a hurt foot as he continues to rack up 100yd games. With WR Marques Colston out, WR Robert Meachem, almost out of the league this season, led the way with 4 catches for 93yds while WR Lance Moore added 6 catches for 70yds in his return. The Saints D got carved up by their former RB and gave up big plays in the secondary as they only produced 2 sacks on the day led by OLB David Hawthorne with 5 tackles and a sack on the day. The Jets improve to 5-4 proving that their defense can keep them in any game and their offense is willing to pound it out on the ground while Geno makes some plays. The Saints fall to 6-2 in a game in which they struggled with the defensive pressure as the Jets stopped them in key situations. However, the Saints D must play better especially against the run as the offense will not always be able to provide a lead.

Titans 28 vs. Rams 21

The Titans pull off a close one playing against former Titans and current Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher on his 1st time against his former team behind a great running effort by RB Chris Johnson; his best in a long time. QB Jake Locker struggled passing the ball going 13/22 with 185yds and 2 INTs with 3 rushes for 10yds and a TD on the day. Johnson had 23 carries for 150yds and 2TDs with 3 catches for 20yds showing off his speed and quick cut-back moves. RB Shonn Greene returned complementing him well with 9 carries for 38yds, a TD, and 28yds receiving. WR Kenny Wright led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 69yds; no one else had over 28yds receiving. The Titans D played poorly especially against the run, but star DT Jurrell Casey had 6 tackles, 2 sacks, and forced fumble (recovered) as the only impact defensive plays. For the Rams, QB Kellen Clemens had 210yds and a TD on the day finally looking comfortable in his new replacement role, but it wasn’t enough. Rookie RB Zac Stacy continues to show he is a workhorse back who can pound the rock as he had 27 carries for 127yds and 2TDs  while adding 6 catches for 51yds, solidifying his spot. WR Chris Givens led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 55yds while TE Jared Cook added 3 catches for 36yds and a TD (his 1st since week 1). The Rams D played well providing pressure behind the D-line as they had 4 sacks and 2 INTs on the day led by MLB James Laurinaitis who had 9 tackles and a sack while DT/DE Kendall Langford added 6 tackles and 2 sacks. The Titans improve to 4-4 and finally got what they were hoping for out of the running game, but Locker must play better and the defense needs to make more plays. The Rams fall to 3-6 allowing too many rushing plays and not making enough plays, but the defense continues to apply pressure and they have definitely found their new RB to replace RB Steven Jackson (Falcons).

Chiefs 23 vs. Bills 13

The Chiefs win another one despite struggling on offense, but the defense continues to show why they’re best in the league at the pass rush as the Bills give undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel his 1st start.  QB Alex Smith had only 124yds on the day and 7yds rushing, giving him his lowest totals as a Chief. RB Jamaal Charles had 17 carries on 90yds with 6yds receiving while carrying the offense. WR Dwayne Bowe led the receiving attack with 7 catches for 67yds as he finally starts to make plays again. The Chiefs D played well with 2INTs, a forced fumble, and 2 TDs (pick 6 CB Sean Smith 100yds, fumble recovery OLB Tamba Hali 11yds). For the Bills, Tuel started out playing well, but ended up with 229yds a TD, 2INTs (1 pick 6), and 17yds rushing on 3carries. RB C.J. Spiller had a good game in his return with 12 carries for 116yds and 39yds receiving while RB Fred Jackson added 16 carries for 77yds and 22yds receiving on the day, but the Bills couldn’t capitalize. Rookie WR Marquise Goodwin led the team in receiving displaying his speed as he had 2 catches for 64yds including the Bills only TD on a 59yd catch. Fellow Rookie WR Robert Woods added 4 catches for 44yds as he continues to produce.  The Bills D played well with 2 sacks on the day and a fumble while holding the Chiefs to 3 field goals on the day and keeping Charles out of the end zone, but the offense dug the team in a hole. The defense was led by star rookie MLB Kiko Alonso who continues to impress as he had 8 tackles in a sack. The Chiefs improve to 9-0 with a nice defensive effort as they continue to dominate teams, however some flaws in the offense has been exposed. The Bills fall to 3-6 and are missing their starting QB as the passing games struggles, unable to complement the running game and defense.

Chargers 24 vs. Redskins 30

The Redskins pull off the much needed win at home against the Chargers behind a good balanced offensive effort (finally) and the fact the Chargers couldn’t close out the game at the very end of the 4th quarter. QB Robert Griffin III went 23/32 with 291yds and an INT with 17 rushing yards on 6 carries. RB Alfred Morris led the rushing attack with 25 carries for 121yds and a TD. FB Darrel Young came in with only 2 carries on the season, but had 5 carries for 12yds and 3TDs including the game winner in OT from 4yds out. WR Pierre Garcon had a great game catching passes from everywhere with 7 catches for 172yds. WR Leonard Hankerson had 6 catches for 55yds to add to passing attack and TE Jordan Reed added 4 catches for 37yds. The Redskins D gave up a lot of yardage most from the passing attack, but they had a sack and 2 INTs on the day led by rookie CB David Amerson who had 5 tackles and a nice INT. For the Chargers, QB Philip Rivers threw for 341yds 2TDs and 2 INTs on the day just falling short of a win. RB Ryan Matthews had 7 rushes for 34yds and RB/WR Danny Woodhead had 7 rushes for 21yds and 9 catches for 77yds as the Chargers didn’t run often. Rookie WR Keenan Allen led the team in receiving with 8 catches for 128yds and a nice 16yd TD as he continues to impress and show a good connection with Rivers. WR Eddie Royal added 4 catches for 56yds and a TD on the day while TE Antonio Gates had 6 catches for 53yds. For the Chargers Special Teams, DT Lawrence Guy blocked a punt on the day. The Chargers D had an INT on the day, but other than that they got carved both on the ground and through the air. Lawrence Guy also had a key swat which led to an easy INT by DE Sean Lissemore. The Redskin improve to 3-5 and things are looking better, but the defense needs to step up and RGIII needs to convert TDs. The Chargers fall to 4-4 in a very winnable game, but they need to run the ball more and the defense needs to make more plays.

eagles

Eagles 49 vs. Raiders 20

The Eagles dominate the Raiders behind a career high 7TDs by QB Nick Foles who started In place of Mike Vick who has a hamstring injury. Foles was 22/28 for 406yds and 10yds on 4 carries also. 3rd string rookie QB Matt Barkley also got some garbage time (game over) going 2/3 with 13yds. Backup RB Bryce Brown led the team in rushing with 7 carries for 54yds and 5yds receiving while star RB LeSean McCoy had 12 carries for 44yds and 4 catches for 36yds and a TD. WR DeSean Jackson led the way in receiving with 5 catches for 150yds and a TD while WR Riley Cooper added 5 catches for 139yds and 3TDs (career day). Rookie TE Zach Ertz got in on the action with 5 catches for 42yds and a TD while TE Brent Celek added 3 catches for 27yds and a TD. The Eagles D played well with 3 sacks and 2 INTs led by CB Bradley Fletcher with 6 tackles and an INT. On the other side, Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor struggled with 288yds and 2INTs, but 10 carries for 94yds showing his athleticism. However, he couldn’t keep up with the Eagles O and backup QB Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie, got some playing time going 7/15 with 87yds. RB Rashard Jennings led the rushing attack in place of injured RB Darren McFadden who left with a hamstring injury after 5 carries for 12yds. Jennings had 15 carries for 102yds, a TD, and 7 catches for 74yds showing his play making skills. WR Rod Streater added 5 catches for 98yds and #1 WR Denarius Moore added 5 catches for 82yds.The Raiders D played horribly in the game not giving the offense a chance allowing 7TD passes and only producing 1 sack led by MLB Nick Roach who had 6 tackles and a sack. The Eagles improve to 4-5 and seem to have found Coach Chip Kelly’s new starting QB in Nick Foles who can run the offense efficiently, but we will see how he does going forward.  The Raiders fall to 3-5 in a game where the defensive effort failed and Pryor turned over the ball due to being in passing mode as he provides more as a runner. Being in the same division with the Chiefs and Broncos doesn’t help their cause, but the Raiders are record isn’t too bad so far.

Bucs 24 vs. Seahawks 27

This was a battle of former NC State QBs and QB Russell Wilson came out on top as he extended plays to help bring the Seahawks from down 21pts at home as the Bucs lose another one. Wilson was 19/26 with 217yds, 2TDs, 2 INTs, and 6 carries for 36yds and a rushing touchdown as he converted many 3rd downs. RB Marshawn Lynch continues to pound the rock for this team with a nice run to set up the game winning kick in OT by K Steven Hauschka from 27yds out. Lynch had 21 catches for 125yds and 16yds receiving on 4 catches. WR Doug Baldwin led the receiving effort with 6 catches for 75yds and a TD while preseason standout WR Jermaine Kearse added 2 catches for 43yds and a TD stretching the field. TE Zac Miller had 3 catches for 49yds finally showing off his catching ability again. The Seahawks defense struggled in the 1st half, but only gave up 3pts in the 2nd half and OT as they managed 3 sacks on the day. On the other side, QB Mike Glennon went 17/23 with 168yds and 2TDs with 13yds rushing on 4 carries. The running game was productive behind rookie backup RB Mike James who had 28 carries for 158yds, 8yds receiving on 2 catches, and a pass completion of 2yds for a TD. RB/FB Brian Leonard had 20yds on 5 carries and he was 2nd in receiving yards with 4 catches for 48yds. Rookie TE Timothy Wright continues to impress as he led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 58yds and a TD. The defense played well in the 1st half holding the Seahawks to 7pts, but they allowed 20pts in the 2nd half. The defense had only 2INTs on the day led by SS Mark Barron with 10tackles and an INT. The Seahawks improve to 8-1 on the season as they show their toughness against a very hungry Bucs team. The Bucs fall to 0-8 in a game they should have won, but the defense needs to apply more pressure and the offense need Mike Glennon to make more plays in the passing game, but he continues to get better.

Ravens 18 vs. Browns 24

Led by QB Jason Campbell and the defense, the Browns defeat the Ravens in a tough divisional matchup where they held the lead all game. Campbell had 262yds and 3 TDs with 4 carries for 20yds rushing. RB Willis McGahee struggled again with 21 carries for 31yds and a fumble (loss); he needs to be replaced. WR Greg Little led the receiving effort with 7 catches for 122yds; his best effort in a while. WR Josh Gordon added 3 catches for 44yds and a run for 10yds while stretching the field and drawing attention for Greg Little.  WR Davone Bess had only 3 catches for 24yds, but had 2TDs on the day including a nice 20yd TD run shaking up CB Ladarius Webb. The Browns defense had a good game with 5sacks and an INT led by CB Chris Owens with 5 tackles and a sack. For the Ravens, QB Joe Flacco played better in the 2nd half than the 1st, but ended with 250yds, 2TDs, and an INT including 25yds rushing on 3 carries which led the team. RB Ray Rice only had 11 carries for 17yds with 21yds receiving while backup RB Bernard Pierce wasn’t much better with 6 carries for 11yds. WR Torrey Smith led the team in receiving with 5 catches for 78yds and undrafted rookie WR Marlon Brown continues impress with 5 catches for 54yds and 2 TDs. WR/KR Tandon  Doss had a fumble on the day in the return game which didn’t help the cause. The Ravens D played well against the run as usual, but struggled against the pass getting carved by Campbell as they had 2 sacks and a forced fumble (recovered) on the day. The defense was led by ILB Daryl Smith who had 7 tackles and a sack on the day while stopping the run game. The Browns improve to 4-5 moving into 2nd place in the AFC North surprisingly and may be able to make some noise with their strong defense and the play of Jason Campbell. The Ravens fall to 3-5 losing a close one as they allowed Cleveland to take the lead early, but the secondary must improve and the running game needs to regain form.

brady

Steelers 31 vs. Pats 55

The Pats and the Steelers surprisingly was a back and forth matchup in the passing game, but the Pats came out on top thanks to better defensive play. The Pats set a lot of season highs thanks to offensive play as Tom Brady threw for 432yds and 4TDs on the day. RB Stevan Ridley had his 1st 100+ yd game of the season, as he has been sharing carries this year, with 26 carries for 115yds and 2TDs; however he did lose a fumble. RB LaGarrette Blount added 5 carries for 47yds and a TD, while RB Brandon Bolden added 3 carries for 36yds. TE Rob Gronkowski led the team in receiving with 9 catches for 143yds and a TD while dominating the secondary. Rookie WR Aaron Dobson added 5 catches for 130yds and 2TDs, while WR Danny Amendola had 4 catches for 122yds and a TD. The Pats D applied pressure all game, but gave up some big plays in the passing game. However, the Steelers points were hard fought as the Pats D had 5 sacks, 2INTs, and a forced fumble (recovered). For the Steelers, QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 400yds even with 4 TDs and 2 INTs; however he had a fumble (loss) on the day. The Steelers finally had some production from the run game as rookie RB Le’Veon Bell had 16 carries for 74yds and 65yds receiving on 4 catches, while RB Jonathan Dwyer had a run for 30yds and a catch for 23yds. WR Emmanuel Sanders led the receiving attack with 6 catches for 98yds, WR Jerricho Cotchery added 7 catches for 96yds and 3TDs on the day, and star WR Antonio Brown added 5 catches for 71yds and a TD. The Steelers D applied pressure with 3 sacks and a forced fumble (recovered), but they gave up way too many plays in the passing game, gave up over 100yds in the running game, and gave up 28pts in the 4th quarter. The Pats improve to 7-2 on a great offensive output as they prove that they can score with anybody when they have healthy weapons on offense; however the defense needs to play better. The Steelers fall to 2-6 showing that there really is a need to rebuild this defense as they are not producing to the level Steelers football is known for.

Colts 27 vs. Texans 24

The Colts make the big comeback win behind QB Andrew Luck, as the Texans struggle with Kicker issues as K Randy Bullock went 1/4 on the day missing 2 field goals to extend the lead and one to tie the game to go into OT. Andrew Luck threw for 271yds and 3 TDs (18/40) on the day mostly in passing mode. Backup RB Donald Brown led the rushing attack with 6 carries for 49yds and starter Trent Richardson had 8 carries for 20yds and 2 catches for 33yds. WR T.Y. Hilton had some big drops in the game as the #1 WR, but he had 7 catches for 121yds and 3TDs on the day. TE Coby Fleener added 3 catches for 64yds and a nice 2-pt conversion catch over 2 defenders. The Colts D applied pressure, but only had 1 sack on the day by OLB Erik Walden. They struggled in the 1st half, but held the Texans to 3pts thanks to the missed field goals. On the other side, backup QB Case Keenum was on fire in the 1st half and had some good drives in the 2nd half killed by missed field goals or tough missed catches. Keenum threw for 350yds and 3TDs on the day with 3 carries for 26yds including a nice 22yd run. RB Ben Tate led the way with 22 carries for 81yds and rookie backup RB Dennis Johnson added 8 carries for 36yds. WR Andre Johnson had a great game with 9 catches for 229yds and 3TDs; surprisingly his 1st TDs on the season. Rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins added 3 catches for 54yds and TE Garrett Graham added 4 catches for 46yds. The Texans D played well in the 1st half, but struggled in the 2nd as they had 4 sacks on the day. However, Luck was escaping the pressure in the 2nd half making plays downfield. The Colts improve to 6-2 behind a tough divisional win to give the Texans any hope of trying to win the division. The Texans fall to 2-6 as they fall short on a good effort on both sides of the ball, but the defense needs to play better.

Bears 27 vs. GB 20

The Bears pull off the big divisional win over the Packers on the roadled by backup QB Josh McCown who got the start in place of QB Jay Cutler, but who knew this would become a game of backups when QB Seneca Wallace had to take over for star QB Aaron Rodgers. McCown threw for 272yds and 2TDs and a nice 20yd run to move the chains on 3rd down. RB Matt Forte had a great game with 24 carries for 125yds and a TD while adding 5 catches for 54yds. Backup RB Michael Bush added 7 catches for 25yds and a catch for 15yds while helping to run out the clock. WR Brandon Marshall had a good game with 7 catches for 107yds and a nice 23yd TD leading the receiving effort while WR Alshon Jeffery added 5 catches for 60yds and a TD. The Bears D struggled against the run, but applied pressure with 5 sacks, an INT, and 2 forced fumbles behind a strong D-line effort; led by DE Shea McClellin  who had 3 tackles and 3sacks including the sack that injured Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder. For the Packers, Rodgers only had 1 of 2 passes for 27yds and a run of 9yds before leaving with a shoulder injury while backup Seneca Wallace went 11/19 for 114yds and an INT while doing a lot of scrambling which led to bad plays. Rookie RB Eddie Lacy went off went 22 carries for 150yds and a TD while RB James Starks added 6 carries for 40yds and nice 32yds run. WR Jordy Nelson had 4 catches for 67yds on the day leading the way while no one else had over 34yds. The Packers D failed to make many impact plays as the only had 1 sack on the day by rookie DE Datone Jones and they struggled against the run. The Bears improve to 5-3 behind a strong effort by offensive effort and nice pressure on the QB which led to a quality win, but the run defense needs to be much better going forward. The Packers fall to 5-3 with a key loss to a divisional opponent and a bigger loss with Rodgers, but the defense needs to play better on all levels and the offense will struggle mightily if Rodgers is out an extended period.

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