Why They Won: Green Bay Wins In Oakland

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Dec 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) is defended by Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) on a 30-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter during an NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. The Packers defeated the Raiders 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Half Play

Despite the early interceptions gifting Green Bay with a relatively easy 14-0 lead, the Packers managed to only be up 14-13 due to the offense unable to establish themselves (their one decent drive in the first half ended with a James Starks fumble) and the defense allowing some plays to a decently talented Oakland offense that started to find some footing.

The 2nd half started to be just about the same really; the offense did manage to move the ball some but were held to a short field goal despite excellent field position (the drive included yet another Davante Adams drop on a likely TD).

Following that field goal was a long TD drive by Oakland, putting Green Bay behind for the first time all afternoon (20-17).

Things were not looking good. The offense was still doing little and looking listless, while the defense couldn’t manage to keep up with its early pace and was being exploited by the Carr-Amari Cooper connection.

Then all of a sudden, the script flips.

The next Green Bay drive starts with a quick Jeff Janis big return to near midfield and lasts just three plays before Rodgers exploits a terrible defensive call/miscommunication (there were three receivers running completely uncovered; a veritable take-your-pick for Aaron) to retake the lead with haste.

From that point on, the defense didn’t allow another point to Oakland. The final five drives for the Raiders? Punt, Punt, Downs, Downs, Downs.

Green Bay’s drives (from when the script flipped):

  1. Touchdown (the aforementioned drive); 24-20 GB
  2. 21-yard field goal (on a 19-play, 92 yard drive that took up over 8 minutes); 27-20 GB
  3. 33-yard field goal; 30-20 GB
  4. Rodgers’ INT (bad play, but deep in Oakland territory so damage was limited somewhat)
  5. Blocked 49-yard field goal

The team definitely still has plenty of warts to work out, but they did more than enough on both sides of the ball to give themselves a good chance to hold onto their lead and come away with their 10th victory of the season.

It will take a better effort from the offense for this team to come away with an upset win against the Arizona Cardinals next week. Though the games have been plenty ugly at times however, these guys may be closer than they seem to appear to having the kind of outing we desire.

Look at those 2nd half drives again; every single drive either resulted in points or had Green Bay in range to score. There were two turnovers on the day; this team has routinely been one of the best at preventing giveaways over the years under Rodgers, so multi-turnover days tend to not happen. The three converted field goals were all under 35 yards for the attempts, meaning another positive play or two along the way could turn those into touchdowns instead (such as that Adams drop on the 1st drive of the 2nd half).

It wasn’t pretty — though we may wish it could be, maybe that just isn’t what this team is capable of doing — but that’s okay. Maybe that is the identity of this team, to just do whatever they can to accomplish the goal of winning the game — whether or not it looks the way we became accustomed to over the years.

As the late Al Davis used to say, “Just win, baby.”