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Cheese Curds, 12/16: Packers found a few big plays on offense, but early miss haunts them

Although the Packers ended up winning the game, they still need more consistency in converting big-play opportunities on offense.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Green Bay Packers got outgained in terms of yardage in a victory. Seven out of the Packers’ 11 wins have come when the green and gold allowed more yards of total offense than they gained themselves, and it is a bit of a puzzling trend. Turnovers are of course the great equalizer when there is a yardage discrepancy, and the Packers forced three while giving up none against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

But perhaps the most maddening thing about the Packers’ offense is that so many perfect opportunities for big chunk plays go wanting, despite the team showing that it is capable of hitting on them. The Packers had four plays of 20 or more yards on Sunday, two of which went for touchdowns and another that set up the team’s third score. The passing game can click, but seemingly only when certain players are involved.

Davante Adams is of course the big player — the star who can turn a short gain into a big one and whose adjustments at the line and in a route make him a big-play threat at any time. Adams had a 34-yard reception on a quick slant and a 29-yard touchdown pass courtesy of a signal from his quarterback. Even Jake Kumerow got into the act, with a huge 49-yard reception to set up a score.

But outside of those two players, the big passing plays were absent. And no missed opportunity will haunt the team more than a would-be bomb on the very first offensive play of the game. On a perfect play-action fake, Rodgers dropped in an exceptional pass to an open Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was unable to pull in the pass.

It is these plays that the Packers must find a way to convert in the postseason. Being outgained and winning the turnover battle is a way to win in the regular season, but playoff teams generally protect the football better than those that sit at home in January. If the Packers want to make a deep run, they need to hit on these big plays with more consistency.

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