On Thursday evening, the Green Bay Packers earned a win in their second preseason game of 2016 over the Oakland Raiders by the score of 20-12. Green Bay got a big performance from its rushing attack, as the team racked up nearly 150 yards on the ground against Oakland’s defense.
Eddie Lacy led the way with 44 yards on eight carries and a score, while three other Packers - James Starks, John Crockett, and Joe Callahan - each had at least 20 yards rushing. The Packers also got interceptions from a pair of players as Damarious Randall and Josh Hawkins each picked off passes.
The punting battle was interesting tonight, as Tim Masthay and Peter Mortell each hit multiple 50-yarders. The two blemishes on the evening came from Masthay, who hit a 36-yarder on his first attempt and had one punt blocked late in the game.
Here’s how it went down.
The Packers got off to a nice start on offense, as the running backs took center stage early on. Aaron Ripkowski was the target on bootleg screens on the first two plays, picking up a first down on the first one and dropping the second. Then Eddie Lacy burst through a huge hole on the left side for 20 yards. The Packers later picked up first downs on passes to Davante Adams and Jared Cook before Lacy found the end zone on a one-yard leap over a goal-line pile to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.
The Raiders struck back with a field goal on their first drive, thanks in large part to an unnecessary roughness penalty on Datone Jones. The only other significant play on the drive was a 20-yard reception by Amari Cooper over Damarious Randall, who never turned around on the play. However, a nice stop by Quinten Rollins on Cooper led to a 46-yard field goal for Sebastian Janikowski. Overall the starting defense looked solid, with nice tackles by Sam Barrington and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The Packers went three and out on the next series, but forced the Raiders to do the same. The fourth down was forced thanks to a great play by cornerback LaDarius Gunter on a wide receiver screen.
On the first play of the next series, James Starks got a great block from Ripkowski up the middle and burst through the line for a 24-yard gain. A few plays later, Hundley found Davante Adams down the right sideline with a picture-perfect 31-yard back-shoulder pass to move the chains again. However, that play ended with Hundley getting hit low and late by Khalil Mack, which apparently re-aggravated his ankle injury. Joe Callahan came in for the rest of the series, which ended on a missed 4th-and-1 opportunity - a poor read by Callahan.
On the ensuing drive, Damarious Randall made up for his earlier poor coverage - Derek Carr’s deep, floating pass to Amari Cooper went a bit long and Randall made a leaping catch while falling onto his back. The Packers did nothing with Callahan under center, however, as a Ty Montgomery drop helped to doom the next series. Tim Masthay punted for 51 yards, though, a much better kick than his first one, a 36-yarder.
The Packers’ second-string defense held the Raiders’ starting offense to a punt with about three minutes left in the first half, but Jason Spriggs struggled on two straight plays against Khalil Mack. The first resulted in a sack and an 8-yard loss, and the second forced a throwaway and an intentional grounding penalty. Peter Mortell came on to punt after the two-minute warning and boomed a 58-yarder (that got only a little bit of help on a roll).
Blake Martinez and Quinten Rollins then combined to end the Raiders’ ensuing series; on a third-and-4; on a screen to the fullback, Rollins hit the back at the line of scrimmage before Martinez wrapped him up around the shoulders short of the line to gain. Bolstered by a fair catch interference penalty on Oakland, the Packers got one more chance with a little over a minute to go against the Raiders’ starters. Another three and out led to another 50-plus-yard punt from Mortell that looked even better thanks to an open-field tackle by Blake Martinez.
After a quick three-and-out by Oakland on the opening drive, Callahan took the offense down field on the Packers’ first offensive series of the third quarter. He scrambled a few times and had one remarkable play on which he evaded multiple rushers before finding John Crockett open down field. He then rolled left and found Kennard Backman for a first down inside the 10. From there, Crockett took over, pinballing off of multiple Raiders defenders on his way to the end zone and a 14-3 Packers lead.
Another three-and-out by the Packers’ defense was spurred by some good pass coverage and a drop on third down, and Trevor Davis finally made a mark, returning the ensuing punt 21 yards up the right sideline and back across midfield.
Crockett got to work then, with a run for 4 and a screen pass for 11 on third and 6. Callahan continued to scramble though, giving the Packers a 3rd and 1 from the 20. Brandon Burks then entered the game and broke a big cutback run to the right for 15 yards. The Packers could not find the end zone though, and Crosby hit a short field goal to extend the Green Bay lead to 17-3.
The Raiders and third-string QB Connor Cook went to work on the Packers’ third-string secondary. Cook burned cornerback Robertson Daniel on a 20-yard throw to rookie Johnny Holton, then found Seth Roberts for 30 over Marwin Evans after the Packers’ pass-rush could not get home. In between those plays, however, Carl Bradford was impressing, making multiple tackles in the run game. The drive stalled outside the 10-yard line, however, and former Packer Giorgio Tavecchio hit a field goal to make the score 17-6.
Following another three-and-out, the Packers punted, and Masthay hit his second punt of 50-plus on the evening to go with his 36-yarder earlier. That matched Mortell’s total - the rookie had two 58-yarders on the day. The Packers got an interception from rookie corner Josh Hawkins on the ensuing series, and he returned the ball 47 yards (plus another few yards added on for a facemask penalty).
Marquise Williams then took over at quarterback and did what he does best: he scrambled. He picked up 7 yards and 1 yard on runs before being sacked on third down and bringing up a 34-yard field goal for Crosby, making it a 20-6 game.
Following a series for each team without a first down, Tim Masthay got his punt blocked by Brendan Droege - who burned LaDarius Gunter on the edge - and the Raiders recovered the ball in the end zone for their only touchdown of the game. Tavecchio’s extra point doinked off the left upright, however, and the lead remained 8 points at 20-12.
Following that play, however, the Packers turned to their fullbacks to run out the clock, as Aaron Ripkowski and Alstevis Squirewell each carried the ball twice and Marquise Williams kneeled out the clock.
The Packers return to game action next Friday in San Francisco, as they take on the 49ers.