The good, the bad and the ugly of the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Carolina Panthers

And then there were two.

The Green Bay Packers moved up to No. 1 in the NFC after Week 14. And the Packers knew that with three straight wins to end the regular season, the NFC’s road to 55.e The Super Bowl would go through Lambeau Field.

Green Bay picked up the first of those wins on Saturday night, reversing the visit to Carolina, 24-16. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Packers only need two more wins to lock in the NFC No.1 seed and ensure they don’t have to leave Green Bay before the Super. Bowl.

“Ah, that’s very critical,” said running back Aaron Jones. “We want everything to go through Lambeau and we know that we are in control of what happens. And so, we just have to keep playing at a high level and put four full quarters together and go out and play physical football. “

Green Bay is 11-3 and holds a half-game lead over New Orleans (10-3) in the NFC seed battle. The Packers defeated the Saints in Week 3, meaning Green Bay would win a two-team tiebreaker with New Orleans.

The Los Angeles and Seattle Rams are both 9-4.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of Green Bay’s victory over Carolina.

GOOD

AARON RODGERS: The Green Bay quarterback became the first player in NFL history to throw 40 touchdowns in three different seasons when he knocked out tight end Robert Tonyan for a one yard score in the first quarter.

Rodgers also threw at least 40 touchdowns in 2011 (45) and 2016 (40).

Rodgers was tied with Drew Brees, Payton Manning and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks with two seasons of over 40 TDs.

“Every time you do something that no one has done before, it’s pretty special,” Rodgers said. “I understand the history of the league. It’s a bit bittersweet, however. Tonight, as fun as the first two quarters were, it won’t be the easiest night’s sleep thinking about the second half.

AARON JONES: The sensational running back from Green Bay ended the year on a high note.

Jones had 145 rushing yards and one touchdown in just 20 carries against the Panthers. Jones averaged 7.2 yards per carry and led a rushing game that produced 195 rushing yards.

Jones now has 344 rushing yards in his last three games and has totaled 968 yards this season. Since 2019, Jones has now eclipsed 100 yards rushing in five of his last seven games in December.

Afterwards, Jones was asked why he apparently improves over the year.

“I just invest in my body, you know, the things you eat and the massage and the way you take care of yourself, a cold bath, all of that,” Jones said. “Just the little things. You have to learn to become a pro. I think I did a good job on this front, maintaining this and will continue to do so. I think it’s about investing in your body. This is what you need to play. You don’t have a second body. You need to be there and ready to play at all times. “

ROBERT TONYAN: Tonyan became the first tight end with a touchdown in five straight games since New England’s Rob Gronkowski did so from 2014 to 2015.

Tonyan now has 10 touchdowns this season, which is tied for the second most in team history by a tight end. Paul Coffman scored 11 touchdowns in 1983, while Keith Jackson had 10 in 1996.

“You have to give Bobby a ton of credit for the way he went into the offseason, going down to Nashville, working his tail, coming back and you can just see him in his body,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. . . “He seemed more explosive. He was bigger and stronger, and it’s translated. He’s really put to work and he plays with a lot of confidence.

KRYS BARNES: The undrafted rookie inside linebacker for the Packers continued his impressive first season.

Barnes replaced Christian Kirksey as the lone linebacker on the field when Green Bay is in his defense. And it’s easy to see why.

Carolina led to the Packers’ 1-yard line in the second quarter with the Panthers in a 14-3 hole. Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tried to dive over the stack for a touchdown, but Barnes timed his jump perfectly and knocked the ball out of Bridgewater’s hands.

Kevin King of Green Bay recovered and came back to 47 in the Panthers. Seven games later, Packers backer Aaron Jones ran for 8 yards to give Green Bay a 21-3 lead.

That 14-point swing was essential in the Packers’ victory.

“It was the game of the game, no doubt about it,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “They took us into a defense where they thought they were going to take advantage and hammer football.

“I think our guys kind of knew what was going to happen with the stealth quarterback, and that’s just a big realization and that’s why you saw him kinda there. He did a great job hitting that sucker, and it was definitely the game of the game, the turning point of the game.

THE BAD

OFFENSIVE LINE: Green Bay’s offensive line has been one of the best in football this season. The unit struggled against Carolina, however, and allowed five season-high sacks.

Panthers rookie tackle Derrick Brown won the first two sacks of his career. The Brian Burns end also had two sacks and the Efe Obada end had one.

“They played really soft in high school with a lot of two highs and even some, I don’t even know what you call it, but it’s like five guys are high,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. . “The pressure pack, I had the impression that we had picked up rather well. It was more a four-man race when we didn’t have open guys giving up on issues.

KEVIN KING: Enemies stay largely clear of Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander. Instead, they’re shooting Kevin King – and Green Bay’s No.2 corner isn’t doing well.

King missed six weeks in the middle of the season with an ATV injury and hasn’t played well since. Saturday night, DJ Moore beat him for gains of 40 and 37 yards.

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater chased King for much of the evening. King will have to resume his game if the Packers hope to make a Super Bowl run.

THE UGLY ONE

STUCK IN THE MUD: Green Bay scored touchdowns on their first three records of the game and built a 21-3 lead. The Packers went on to score five straight possessions as the Panthers moved closer to 21-13.

Finally, Packers kicker Mason Crosby ended the drought with a field goal of 51 yards with 3:39 left.

Still, the Packers have managed just three points in their last seven possessions and finished with their third fewest points this season.

“Every time you win in this league you’re always happy about it, but there is definitely a lot to improve on,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. “I don’t think it was our best performance, especially on the offensive end of the ball, but you have to give Carolina a lot of credit. A lot to clean, a lot to improve.

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