I was certainly not as impressed with the Packers yesterday as Gred Bedard (as reflected in his Packer Insider chat) or Mike McCarthy (as reflected in his postgame press conference). The offense played reasonably well and the special teams was uneven — spectacular on Tramon Williams return and Koren Robinson’s 67 yard return, but lacking on Mason Crosby’s two missed field goals.
But the defense turned in a subpar performance, especially given the level of talent the Panthers put on the field. The Packers allowed the Panthers to score more points than at any time during their current four-game skid; 17 this week, twice they were held to 7. At times, DeShaun Foster looked like DeShaun Foster used to look at UCLA. He averaged a healthy 4.4 yards/per carry and one of the real questions of the game is why John Fox didn’t just keep feeding him the ball, even after they were down. (It’s tempting to point out that Vinny Testaverde averaged 9.5 yards/carry, but that’s a little unfair since almost all of it came on a 16 yard run late in the game. It is, however, completely fair to ask how Vinny Testaverde could have run 16 yards anywhere on the field without a Packer catching him. Shouldn’t Ryan Pickett be able to beat him in a 40 yard dash?) Testaverde threw for 258 yards, though he was picked twice and his passer rating (69.8) was just over half of Favre’s (126.8).
It was an adequate, if somewhat lethargic performance, that was good enough to beat a really bad team. But if we’d been playing Dallas or even Detroit, it’s hard to see how such an output would amount to a win.