2019 Week 10 - That's What Cheese Said

The tight-knit locker room embraced the snow and their eighth victory of the season. Now they get a bye week to prepare for the final six-game stretch. 

The Green Bay Packers head into the bye week with an 8-2 record, sitting atop the NFC North and as the second overall seed in the NFC. Where things stand currently, the Packers would have a first-round playoff bye and host the Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. That isn’t lost on the guys in the locker room. 

“Like I said after the game, it seems like this place is becoming what it was for so long. A very difficult place to play,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “And we’re putting ourselves in position to have an opportunity to get one of these meaningful ones down the line.”

“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur of his first snowy game. “I mean you grew up watching football, you can’t think of a better atmosphere than a snowy Lambeau Field. And I thought our fans did a great job bringing a lot of energy tonight. I think our guys feed off that energy and we need that moving forward as well.”

Through the snow-filled air, the Packers put up serviceable yardage but no touchdowns. Rodgers threw for 233 yards with a long of 48. 

On the ground, however, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 156 yards rushing. Williams had 13 attempts for 63 yards with a 4.8 yard average and a long of 16, while Jones had 13 attempts for 93 yards, a 7.2 yard average, a long of 28, and three touchdowns on the day. 

“I can’t say enough about Jamaal and Aaron. Those guys continue to show up each and every week. Break a lot of tackles. Just really happy that they’re on our team,” said LaFleur. 

The balanced offensive attack looks much different than what the Packers are used to, especially if you ask the quarterback. 

“I feel like we have a different type of squad offensively this year where we have been running the ball effectively and we realize how important Aaron Jones is and Jamaal Williams to our attack,” said Rodgers. “And we’re finding ways to get them the ball in the backfield and out in space. They’ve been a big part of our success.” 

For context he referenced the 2016 season when the team didn’t score a rushing touchdown until over half way through the season. 

“I said a couple weeks ago, we’ve learned how to win different ways,” added Rodgers. “We’ve thrown the ball for 400 yards and a bunch of touchdowns and we’ve ran the ball; Jonesey’s had multiple games of over three touchdowns now. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened when I’ve been the starting quarterback.”

Truth be told, it’s never happened since Rodgers took over as the team’s starter. In fact, it hasn’t happened in Green Bay since 1962. 

“We knew if we came out and played our game, we’d give our team the best chance to win,” Jones said of his and Williams’ role heading into the Panthers game. 

Another offensive weapon on the day was Jimmy Graham who had the team’s biggest play of the day with a 48-yard catch and run. On the day, Graham finished with two receptions for 59 yards, with the 48-yard reception his longest this season. 

“You know the old man, just out there stumbling and rumbling,” Graham said of himself with a grin. 

Of the team’s performance as a whole, he added, “To do that, coming off of a loss like we had away, a special moment for this team.” 

Defensively, the Packers kept to the team’s “bend don’t break” identity on the season. This time, though, the team won the turnover battle with a forced fumble and an interception in the end zone, leaving them plus-two in turnover differential on the day. The Packers are 7-0 this season when they win the turnover battle. 

“We bent a little bit but we never broke, and that was evident at the end right there,” LaFleur said of his team’s final goal line stand, keeping MVP candidate Christan McCaffrey out of the end zone. 

“We answer through adversity,” Preston said of the team getting back to the performances it had the first three weeks of the season on defense. “Regardless of how we give up some big plays and they got close to the end zone, we always had that bend but don’t break mentality. So we always kept fighting. We kept working hard and we played for one another.”

As a whole, the defense had three sacks and nine quarterback hits on the evening, with Smith becoming the first Packer to collect 10 sacks on the season. Not only does he set a new career high, but everyone on the defense also benefits, as Preston will be buying the entire defense Rolex watches. 

Rodgers also took time at his post-game presser to praise the leadership the team’s free agent acquisitions have brought to the locker room, highlighting Preston and Za’Darius Smith specifically. 

The close-knit nature of this team isn’t going unnoticed, and it’s something felt across the entire locker room. 

“You hear everybody talking at halftime, keeping each other in it. As soon as we walk through, everybody starts barking, making sure everybody knows what a great job the defense has been doing, what a great job the offense has been doing,” said wide receiver Davante Adams. “When we have that type of togetherness I think that that’s what’s really our most useful tool.”

Adams added the way this team has been handling adversity throughout the season. When the team has needed to step up or bounce back, it’s done so. 

“I just love the grit and the grind that we have. And just how this team fights is unbelievable,” said Jamaal Williams. 

“We’re a great team that wants to be even better. I feel like the great teams, when they lose a game, they come back the next week and win,” he added. “I hear this a lot. Good teams never lose two in a row. So we took that to heart and we came with a W and we’re just ready to go into this bye week happy with a W.”

The Packers take the next week off to rest and get healthy before the final six-game stretch of the season that has them playing teams with a combined 25-30-1 record. 

“The reality is, we’re sitting in a pretty decent spot. But you can’t take that for granted,” said LaFleur of the team’s 8-2 start. “As soon as you start getting comfortable, you’re gonna get beat. I think everybody within our football team will have that urgency to continue to press, to get better each and every day. And not take it for granted.”

Rodgers highlighted specifically part of a conversation he had with fellow veteran Jimmy Graham and what a season like this means for some of the older men in the locker room.

“I will share that we both are pretty excited about the opportunity, being older players, and just understanding how special this feels,” he said. “And it doesn’t happen like this all the time. We’ve both been through rough seasons over the years, where you’re just not quite in the mix, and this feels different.” 

Of the snow, Rodgers added, “Those are the fun ones that, you know, you’re going to think about in 20 years probably. Remember that night where it was snowing and we were playing a big game coming off a disappointing loss that hopefully galvanized us and sent us on our way.”

The Packers are on their way now at 8-2. With three division games remaining and all NFC opponents left on the schedule, the team is ready to get healthy during the bye week and prepare for the final stretch of the regular season.

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (8)

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Charvid's picture

November 12, 2019 at 03:46 pm

Is it possible that this Packer team is just better than we give them credit for being? We scrutinize them so closely and agonize over every flaw. Every team has weak spots. We just see ours more closely and read about them so much. Maybe we are just better than we think.

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Bure9620's picture

November 12, 2019 at 07:09 pm

Every team is flawed and has holes, it's execution.

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Lare's picture

November 12, 2019 at 04:54 pm

Fairly confident about the offense this season. The defense, well that's a different story.

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splitpea1's picture

November 12, 2019 at 05:39 pm

Better keep winning; it might take 11 wins just to get the last playoff spot--and we want to do better than that.

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4thand1's picture

November 12, 2019 at 05:43 pm

Go back 4 months and all the speculation about this team. Everyone had an opinion , and a lot of them were negative. Nobody predicted 8-2 at the bye. I was thinking above .500 around 6-4. The biggest thing that got this team going was the FA signings and the new coach and new system. AR bought in and the results speak for themselves. We will be back in the playoffs, hopefully a home game or two. GOPACKGO

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Turophile's picture

November 12, 2019 at 06:41 pm

Well I have no idea what has changed, but it seems improbable that the health of this team (compared to the McCarthy years) is ONLY down to luck. After so many seasons when the high number of injuries bit deep into the depth and other years when cluster injuries at one position really messed up the team, it's nice to see (so far) a pretty healthy squad.

I mean PART of staying healthy is luck, but it seems something else has changed too, I just don't know what that something else was.

Now just because there are very few players out, it doesn't mean there aren't plenty of bruises pulls and strains between them, there always are at this time of year. But, with a bye week coming, and it's arrival so late in the season, it is great for allowing players some time to heal before the final stretch. I sure hope our coaches can come up with a quality gameplan against the 49ers with the extra time they have.

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ricky's picture

November 12, 2019 at 06:53 pm

Any team is only as good as it's last game. This is all rehearsal for the playoffs. Because no one is going to look back at the week four game and go, "Oh, they got lucky on that call on that play, and that's why they're in the playoffs." It's a balancing act, and right now, the scales are tipping in the direction of the Packers. And why not? What team deserves it more then them?

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rtrt54's picture

November 12, 2019 at 11:32 pm

best match all night, really incredible

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