We’ve seen bad offensive performances from the Green Bay Packers before. We’ve seen plenty of them this season. But perhaps no quarter of football was as brutal for the Packers offense as the third quarter of Thursday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
In that period, the Packers received the opening kickoff. They somehow possessed the football for 7:55 in that quarter, but picked up just two first downs, going one-for-four on third down opportunities, and got Aaron Rodgers sacked three times. That one third-down conversion came on a quick snap, with Rodgers catching Seattle with too many men on the field and finding Davante Adams for a first down.
The fourth quarter wasn’t much better, save for a single ridiculous Rodgers throw to Davante Adams for a 57-yard gain on third and nine. That was literally the only first down in the final 15 minutes, as the Packers had just nine plays and 4:48 of possession.
That all combined to result in just 49 offensive plays for the Packers all game long, the lowest number all season behind the 52 snaps the team ran in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Here’s how the play time broke down.
OFFENSE (49 plays)
Aaron Rodgers 49
Rodgers’ stat line will belie a few critical mistakes that he did make in this game. Yes, the numbers look great — 21-for-30, 332 yards, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 128.8 — but a few failed third downs late in the game are looming large in the minds of Packers fans. First there was a third-and-five at the Seahawks’ 12 after a heave to Davante Adams set the Packers up in the red zone. Rodgers ignored a wide-open Aaron Jones for a checkdown (he would have easily moved the chains if not crossed the goal line) and ended up getting sacked. Then there was the final third-and-two, when he bounced a ball at Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s feet.
For a game that saw a few truly vintage Rodgers throws, like the bomb to Robert Tonyan and a few huge deep balls to Adams, those missed opportunities late in the game will loom large for the Packers fan base throughout this long holiday week.
Aaron Jones 44, Jamaal Williams 4
Jones didn’t do much on the ground despite a mediocre Seahawks rushing defense, as he had his lowest per-carry average on the season at just 3.6. He totaled 11 carries for 40 yards and the game’s first score. However, he still put in excellent work as a receiver, catching five passes for 63 yards and another touchdown. Three of those catches and 61 of the yards game on the go-ahead drive at the end of the first half, which culminated in a great 24-yard score.
Williams was basically an afterthought in this game, however, with just one carry for five yards.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 48, Davante Adams 46, Equanimeous St. Brown 43
Adams had another magnificent game, hauling in ten of his 12 targets for 166 yards. His 57-yard reception in the fourth quarter was truly absurd, as his defender had a full grasp of his left arm — which went uncalled, by the way — as he hauled in Rodgers’ rainbow essentially one-handed.
The other wideouts struggled to get separation, however, with each catching just one pass on three or four targets. St. Brown also drew Rodgers’ ire for a play over the middle, when he was seemingly expected to sit down in the middle of the defense’s zone coverage rather than continue his route across. Rodgers threw the football to the open area, but St. Brown was not on the same page and the ball fell incomplete.
Lance Kendricks 26, Jimmy Graham 21, Marcedes Lewis 10, Robert Tonyan 3
Injuries continue to strike the Packers’ tight ends as for the third straight year a big free agent acquisition is dealing with something that appears serious. We all know about the Martellus Bennett situation from a year ago, and Jared Cook missed several games early in 2016; now Graham is dealing with a thumb injury that is potentially significant.
Graham did get a 13-yard catch on a designed rollout on the first play of the game, presumably a nod from Mike McCarthy for his return to Seattle. The biggest play from this group, however, came from unheralded Big Bob Tonyan, whose sprint up the left sideline and across the field resulted in his first NFL catch: a 54-yard touchdown on a vintage Rodgers throw.
David Bakhtiari 49, Lane Taylor 49, Corey Linsley 49, Byron Bell 49, Bryan Bulaga 49
Yes, Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times. No, not all of them were the offensive line’s fault. A few were coverage sacks, but at the same time, the line seemed to leak like a sieve at certain spots in the second half, particularly on third downs. Still, the group at least stayed intact for another week.
DEFENSE (70 plays)
Kenny Clark 57, Dean Lowry 47, Mike Daniels 34, Montravius Adams 23, Tyler Lancaster 11
Clark continues to play more than 80% of snaps every game, even though he missed a few plays with a minor injury in the second half. Daniels, however, has a foot injury that pulled him off the field in the third quarter and kept him from returning. That led to many more snaps for Adams, who filled in at the 3-tech position.
Clark had one tackle for loss on his four total tackles, but that was the only notable stat line from any of these players, who seemed to be unable to occupy multiple gaps in the run game on a consistent basis.
Kyler Fackrell 58, Clay Matthews 54, Reggie Gilbert 27
Holy Fack. For the second time this season, Fackrell had a three-sack game, and this time every one of those sacks was legitimately earned. He added another hit on Wilson to force an incompletion and batted a pass about 20 feet in the air. That would have gone in the stat sheet as a pass defense if not for Wilson catching it for an 11-yard loss. That play was Matthews’ only tackle for loss, but he did get a hit on Wilson and forced the fumble on the first play of the game to help the Packers jump out to an early lead.
With Nick Perry not traveling with the team, the Packers needed a big performance from someone on this unit, and Fackrell absolutely stepped up. He now has eight sacks on the season and five in the last four games, and he’s absolutely justifying the faith that the Packers’ front office placed in him.
Blake Martinez 70, Antonio Morrison 40
On a short week, Martinez still suited up on every play, but he seemed to be less active in run support than in previous games. Still, he did have one tackle for loss — a great pursuit on a running play that Reggie Gilbert strung out to the edge — and six total tackles. Morrison, meanwhile, was in on a large number of plays thanks to injuries at the safety position keeping Josh Jones back deep. He had four total tackles and seemed to be flying to the football and laying big hits all around.
Perhaps it was the matchup with a physical Seahawks running game that got Morrison the game action over Oren Burks, who played only on special teams in this game.
Josh Jones 70, Tramon Williams 69, Raven Greene 14, Ibraheim Campbell 13
With Kentrell Brice out, the Packers used a combination of Jones, Williams, and Greene at the safety spots early, with Williams getting some playing time in the slot early. However, Greene left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return, forcing Williams back to free safety for much of the remainder of the game. Both he and Jones racked up the stops, with five solo tackles and two assists each, and Williams added the fumble recovery on the game’s first play.
Later, Williams did still get some snaps in the slot when Campbell came on. Campbell pitched in with two solo tackles in his first action as a Packer, while Greene’s most notable play was getting a pass interference flag for bowling over a Seahawks receiver on an underthrown pass from Wilson.
Jaire Alexander 69, Josh Jackson 69, Tony Brown 25, Bashaud Breeland 20
The short week was a rough one for Breeland. Just four days after injuring his groin against the Miami Dolphins, he tried to tough it out but only made it into the second quarter before leaving the game. He did make three solo tackles and break up a pass with his helmet, but hopefully a longer week off in preparation before the Vikings game will have him ready to go.
The rest of the secondary had largely uninspiring results. Alexander made six solo stops and despite mostly solid coverage, still allowed some big completions. Jackson looked a step slow and out of place in man coverage, giving up a touchdown to Doug Baldwin in the first half. Brown was officially credited with a forced fumble on David Moore after a replay review, but it appeared that Moore just lost control of the football on his own — that play was originally ruled an incomplete pass but was reversed after a Seahawks challenge.