It’s easy – and true – to say the loss of Clay Matthews completely changes the defensive line, but the fact is that he is injured and that’s that. Without the Claymaker’s presence, the Packers were only able to get one sack on stupid-faced Eli Manning and very little pressure besides.
Manning had all the time in the world to throw to his receivers. The inability to get pressure on the quarterback is brutal on the secondary. The Packers secondary is decent, but a lot was asked of them to be able to cover receivers like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks for extended periods of time.
I can’t even talk about how horrible the Packers’ run defense is. More and more, teams are starting to realize, hey, it’s really easy to run against the Packers. Green Bay is apparently still learning how to tackle (A.J. Hawk, take notes!) And the scary thing is they’re a lot better than they were last year.
The Packers were also without safety Charles Woodson, who is often effective when he’s brought to the line to blitz, and they lost defensive end C.J. Wilson during the game. This game brought back shades of last season, when the Packers were unable to generate any – any – pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
This year, the Packers brought in some help for Matthews, but a big part of that help, rookie linebacker Nick Perry, is now sitting on the injured reserve. Getting Matthews back will go a long way towards improving this line, but somebody not named Clay Matthews has to step up.