Sunday's victory over the Ravens was another costly victory for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers lost arguably their best weapon on offense, Randall Cobb, to a broken fibula and consequently he will be lost for the next four weeks at least. They also lost outside linebacker Nick Perry to a broken foot, the time table for his return is still being set, however, it is not expected to be a season-ending injury. Finally, the Packers were forced to play without wide receiver James Jones for the majority of the game after he suffered a knee sprain, but he may have a chance at playing this week against the Cleveland Browns.
Sunday's victory was another roller coaster ride for the Green Bay Packers and their fans.
The first half was about as brutal as a football game could be. The Packers "high-powered" offense could only muster up just over 100 yards of total offense and six points. Normally that would be a cause for concern, but thanks to the defense's great performance in the first half, the Packers maintained a 6-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the game completely changed.
Both head coaches made outstanding halftime adjustments and both teams were finally able to move the ball on one another. The Packers made a few more plays at the end of the day, including an impressive 12-play, seven minute, 35 second drive late in the fourth quarter capped off by a 31-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to put the Packers up for good, 19-10.
Lets take a look at some of the winners and losers from Sunday's impressive victory.
Before exiting the game with an ugly knee injury before the half, Cobb was having an excellent game. He finished with a grade of (+1.4) the highest offensive grade given out on the day for the Packers. Cobb finished the game with four catches for 53 yards on four targets. After Cobb's exit from the game, the Packers continued to struggle in the passing game, until quarterback Aaron Rodgers was able to find Jordy Nelson on a 64-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Six Packers' offensive players graded out with a grade less than (- 2.0) and 10 of the 16 players that played at least one offensive snap Sunday for Green Bay graded out in the negatives. The Packers' offense as a unit finished with a dreadful grade of (-10.6).
The worst grades given out on offense were to Evan Dietrich-Smith (-2.8), Don Barclay (-2.8) and T.J. Lang (-2.6). Seeing the grades that the offensive line were given (with the exception of Josh Sitton who had the only positive offensive line grade) makes the performance of Eddie Lacy that much more impressive.
At times Lacy was met by defenders in the backfield and was still managing to gain positive yards. The offensive line had its problems moving the stout Ravens' defensive line and most of the praise in the run game should be given to Lacy, who finished the game with 123 yards on 23 carries.
The Packers' offensive production continues to be poor, but that's to be expected with a team that is transitioning from an aerial attack to a well-balanced attack. Once the Packers figure out their offensive game, they'll be fine.
The defense again played a very solid football game and now back-to-back weeks they have shut down two solid NFL offenses. The run defense for the Packers continues to be one of the biggest surprises for this team just a year after they were gashed on the ground on a consistent basis.
They'll have to be even better in the future with the injury situation surrounding some of the team's best defensive players. This Sunday they could be without three of their four starting linebackers.
Before last Sunday's matchup with the Ravens, Perry played the best game of his career against the Detroit Lions sacking Lion's quarterback Matthew Stafford twice in the game. This week he followed that performance up with another great performance grading out as the Packers' best defensive player with a grade of (+3.1). He finished the game with one sack, a forced fumble, four quarterback hurries and three tackles. He looked every bit of a first-round draft choice and has really played well all year.
Unfortunately for Perry, he suffered a foot injury on the sack-fumble play he had right before the half ended. He will be sidelined for a while, but shouldn't be lost for the entire season.
Hyde had sort of fallen off the radar the past couple weeks and was buried on the depth chart behind Davon House, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams. This week Hyde made a big impact on the game, including perhaps a touchdown-saving tackle on Raven running back Bernard Pierce. On that play, Hyde came sprinting from the left side of the field to make a tackle on the right side of the field for a gain of eight yards, stopping a play that could have gone for much more.
Hyde finished the game with second-highest grade given out to any Packers' player Sunday (+2.7). He totaled one sack, three tackles and in pass coverage allowed only one catch for one yard while being targeted three times.
Like Perry, Neal played the best game of his career agains the Lions two weeks ago, he sacked Stafford once, but pressured him all day accumulating five total quarterback hurries. This week, however, Neal finished with the worst grade given out by PFF this week for any Packers' player (-4.1).
For starters, Neal missed three tackles and failed to even record a solo tackle on the day. He was limited in the pass rushing area only pressuring Joe Flacco three times all game and failed to record a sack.
This has been Neal's trend for the majority of his career in Green Bay. He will have a spectacular game one week that makes you think that he can be an impact player for years to come, then he lays an egg the next week. Neal has been very good for the Packers so far this season, but he has to become more of a consistent player in the future.
2013 hasn't been good to McMillian as his struggles continued Sunday as he earned a poor (-3.1) grade. He has consistently been graded as one of the worst Packers' defenders (aside from week three), and that was again the case on Sunday.
McMillian made one of the most bone-head plays in recent memory when, on fourth-and-18 with the game close, he let Raven wide receiver Tandon Doss get behind him for a gain of 63 yards, which led to a Ravens' touchdown the next play.
Plays like that are what has landed McMillian in Dom Capers' doghouse so far this season. One would think that after Casey Hayward returns from injury that McMillian's playing time will drastically be cut, if not taken away completely.
In contrast with the offense, the Packers' defense had a total of nine players finish with grades of (+1.3) or higher. It was one of the Packers' best defensive performances in recent memory.
There you have it, the final grades for the Packers, according to Pro Football Focus, after they knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens off last Sunday, 19-17. Keep it locked here at APC as we preview the Packers' next matchup against the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Lambeau Field.
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