It’s worth remembering, amidst all the news about Mike McCarthy’s firing as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, that there was actually a football game played on Sunday. It’s also worth remembering that said game was the impetus for the coaching change, as the Packers played abysmally against a 2-9 Arizona Cardinals team and lost 20-17 at home.
The numbers are ugly, even as the offense got over the 70-play mark in this game after averaging closer to 50 in the past three weeks. It was another poor performance for Aaron Rodgers and one that saw the Packers put up just one play — JUST ONE — of 20 yards or more.
Meanwhile, two of the most battered units on the Packers’ roster, the offensive line and defensive backfield, were hit with some injuries once again. Here’s a look at the playing time from Sunday.
Offense (76 plays)
Aaron Rodgers 76
Rodgers attempted a whopping 50 passes on Sunday afternoon, completing 31 of them for just 233 yards — that’s less than five yards per attempt. He only took one sack in the game, while carrying the football three times for 20 yards. Once again, he was missing easy throws, however, and the quick out route continues to be a throw that he simply cannot complete accurately.
Aaron Jones 39, Jamaal Williams 38, Dan Vitale 3
Perhaps the more even distribution of snaps on Sunday was due to Jones’ relative lack of effectiveness, as he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. However, he got eight carries and two pass receptions in the first quarter and saw just five more touches over the final three quarters. Overall he had just 11 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. Williams was on the field for the Packers’ two longest drives, taking the field in the two-minute offense late in the game and on the Packers’ long scoring drive at the end of the first half. He finished with seven carries for 13 yards plus four receptions.
Davante Adams 72, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 64, Randall Cobb 61, Equanimeous St. Brown 15, Jake Kumerow 5
Adams saw 13 targets come his way in this game, catching eight of them for 93 yards and a touchdown. Once again, he was the Packers’ only consistent receiving weapon. Cobb’s return saw him catch three balls, but for just 25 yards.
Meanwhile, the rookies appear to have fully hit the wall. MVS was targeted seven times, but caught just two passes for 19 yards and had at least two drops. St. Brown failed to catch his only target. Kumerow made his NFL debut, and was targeted twice in his five snaps, catching one pass for 11 yards.
Jimmy Graham 54, Lance Kendricks 12, Robert Tonyan 9, Marcedes Lewis 8
Graham’s thumb apparently isn’t a major problem, as he caught eight of 11 targets. However, he gained just 50 yards on those passes. Tonyan had the only other target in the passing game for the tight ends, with a five-yard reception.
David Bakhtiari 76, Lane Taylor 76, Corey Linsley 76, Justin McCray 63, Jason Spriggs 55, Bryan Bulaga 21, Byron Bell 13
Once again, injuries struck the Packers’ offensive line. This week, it was the right side, as both Bulaga and Bell went down in the first half and could not return.
It was critical that Bakhtiari and Taylor were both able to play the entire game, given the injuries they suffered a week ago. That allowed McCray and Spriggs to work on the right side instead and allowed the team to avoid truly emergency scenarios.
Defense (62 plays)
Dean Lowry 59, Kenny Clark 58, Tyler Lancaster 35, Montravius Adams 15
Both Lowry and Clark played over 90 percent of the snaps in this game, an impressive number for the 300-plus pound linemen. Lowry burst through for one of the Packers’ two sacks in the game, while Clark batted down a pass and had seven total tackles, good for third on the team. Lancaster continues to get the next-most snaps ahead of Adams, as the undrafted rookie apparently is trusted over last year’s third-round pick.
Kyler Fackrell 57, Clay Matthews 43, Reggie Gilbert 25
Matthews was injured briefly in this game and sat out a series or two, which is a problem for a team with just three healthy edge rushers on the roster. Gilbert had a hit on Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, the only one recorded by this group, while he totaled three tackles, matching the sum for both Fackrell (two) and Matthews (one).
Blake Martinez 62, Antonio Morrison 25, Oren Burks 3
As usual, Martinez led the Packers in tackles with ten. Josh Jones also got a handful of snaps at linebacker early, but played most of the game at safety. Neither Morrison nor Burks appeared on the stat sheet.
Josh Jones 48, Ibraheim Campbell 46, Eddie Pleasant 11
Even with Kentrell Brice and Raven Greene out, the Packers preferred to play Tramon Williams as a cornerback, lining him up in the slot and on the boundary for most of the game. Jones recorded four solo tackles, mostly from the strong safety spot, and that included the Packers’ first sack. Campbell played most of the game as the every-down free safety — at least until he was injured as well, giving way to Pleasant, who had just been signed during the week.
Unfortunately, Pleasant dropped an interception late in the game with the score tied, and that could have set up the Packers in position to win the game. Instead, Arizona converted a third-and-long on that series and drove down to kick the go-ahead field goal.
Jaire Alexander 62, Tramon Williams 62, Josh Jackson 61, Tony Brown 9
It was a bit of a rough game for this unit; they only allowed Rosen to throw for 149 yards, on 11-for-26 passing, but it was the timing and length of the completions that hurt the most. After Pleasant’s dropped pick, the Packers allowed a 32-yard completion to Larry Fitzgerald on third-and-23 to keep the drive alive. Alexander also had a brutal two-play sequence earlier in the game, giving up a 37-yard catch to Christian Kirk after taking an awful angle while following Kirk on a jet sweet the play before.