There were no shortage of ideas presented to explain the recent struggles of the Green Bay Packers. Was Aaron Rodgers hurt? Was it the play calling? Was it Dom Capers? Was it that McDonald’s commercial where Mike Ditka wears a Packers sweater?
Occam’s razor states: “among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” Yet what most people, myself included, failed to consider was the simple fact that sometimes teams and players have slumps.
Regardless, it’s easy to buy into a prevailing narrative. I had a terrible feeling about the Packers chances of beating the Minnesota Vikings. The green and gold came off one of their worst losses of the Mike McCarthy era and playing on the road against an up-and-coming team riding a five-game winning streak. It seemed like the reigns of the NFC North were going to be confiscated by the Vikings. Instead the Packers broke out of their funk and regained control of the division.
The game was won because the suffocating defense that propelled the Packers to a 6-0 start returned. They sacked Teddy Bridgewater six times and held Adrian Peterson to 48 yards on 13 carries. The afternoon also featured Eddie Lacy’s first 100-yard game of the season and a pair of characteristically spectacular catches from James Jones. What’s most encouraging about these performances is that we’ve seen them many times before; just not recently.
The Northwestern University basketball student section has shirts that say “MAKE SHOTS” in big, bold letters. Similarly, the solution to the Packers woes was simple: play better. On Sunday the Packers demonstrated how simple solutions are usually the best solutions.