We all know just how rough things have seemed to be for most of this season.
For further insight into that, I’ve compiled some insightful statistics just how off they ended up being in 2015 relative to the other seasons since Aaron Rodgers became the Packers’ starter in 2008*:
- Touchdowns per drive: 13th (2008), 5th (2009), 8th (2010), 1st (2011), 5th (2012), 8th (2013), 1st (2014), 15th (2015)
- 3-&-Outs per drive: 13th, 5th, 23rd, 4th, 3rd, 8th, 2nd, 20th
- Punts per drive: 11th, 5th, 13th, 3rd, 8th, 2nd, 1st, 23rd
- Touchdowns per red zone drive: 7th, 7th, 6th, 1st, 2nd, 27th, 8th, 18th
- Points per red-zone drive: 4th, 5th, 8th, 1st, 3rd, 23rd, 9th, 23rd
While there is a lot to digest there, it should be easy to note that for the most part, this season has seen the Packers drop significantly compared to most seasons.
Usually the Packers have tended to be elite in all these areas just about every season before 2015.
Even when Green Bay saw Rodgers go down for part of 2013 with a collarbone injury, they managed to stay elite in most of these areas.
I bring these stats up because they all give huge insight into just how much the offense has struggled this season in key areas.
They have been average at best in scoring touchdowns on their drives, while being below average in terms of not being forced into punts and 3-&-outs.
Because of that, they haven’t been able to mount as many scoring drives as we have become accustomed to seeing from them.
With that being the case, it is imperative for them to make the most out of the drives that do reach the red zone.
As you’ll note above, they haven’t exactly been sterling in that regard this season, with the aforementioned Rodgers’ collarbone injury season of 2013 being the only other non-elite season during Rodgers’ starting tenure in that area.
This was emblematic of the season as well, with multiple chances in late and key moments of games seeing the offense fail in that area (examples include an interception versus Arizona after a Mike Daniels interception and the failed last-ditch win-or-tie drives against Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota).
Against Washington, however, they managed to be on the positive end of things in a big way.
Green Bay had five drives that reached the red-zone in this game:
- 12-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb (7-11)
- 10-yard TD pass to Davante Adams (17-11)
- 4-yard rush TD by James Starks (24-18)
- 2-yard rush TD by Eddie Lacy; 2-pt conversion catch by Jared Abbrederis (32-18)
- 29-yard FG (35-18)
Green Bay not only scored on all of those drives, but they scored touchdowns on the first four (they may have gone 5-5 if the game situation had necessitated it; they were already up 14 with under five minutes remaining in the game and called a run on 3rd & 9).
While it would be great for the Packers to improve in the other areas of their offense going forward in these playoffs, that is a tall order; the injuries that have piled up at offensive line and wide receiver (which are now even more dire with the MCL sprain to Davante Adams in that game) likely will continue to hold a cap on the potential effectiveness of the offense in general.
If they can manage to make things happen when they do reach the red zone though, the impact of those other issues on the offense can be lessened.
More importantly, it will allow them to have a strong opportunity to win games even with their limitations.
Next: Offensive Pieces Step Up