Jaire Alexander? Out. Kevin King? Inactive. With the Green Bay Packers’ two starting boundary cornerbacks unavailable against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the team turned to a trio of young players — a second-year pro and two third-year men — to man the outside in week 10.
All in all, the pass defense held up well, though they were defending against a Jaguars team that had a rookie sixth-round draft pick under center. But Ka’Dar Hollman, Josh Jackson, and Chandon Sullivan were largely up to the task, helping to hold Jake Luton to just 169 passing yards and allowing just over 50 percent of his pass attempts to be completed.
The wind certainly played a factor as well, but the bigger struggles for the Packers came in the run game, where they allowed James Robinson to total over 100 yards and average better than 4.5 yards per carry. Christian Kirksey returned from injured reserve for this game and suited up on every defensive snap in the game, leading the team in tackles once again.
Here’s a look at the playing time numbers from Sunday’s game, and we’ll take a closer look at Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s great performance as we break things down by position.
OFFENSE (65 total snaps)
Aaron Rodgers 65
Although Rodgers had a largely successful day — his final line went 24-for-34 for 325 yards, two scores, and a pick — it was a choppy day, particularly in the first quarter. Rodgers missed Robert Tonyan on a third down deep pass on the opening drive, a pass that he said was affected by the wind. But once the team switched directions to start the second quarter, he started opening up with deeper and intermediate throws, led off by the strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to start that quarter.
Rodgers was sacked just once in the game, a ten-yard loss late in the second quarter that contributed to the Packers kicking a field goal instead of finding the end zone to end the half. He also added a five-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, but threw a bizarre and uncharacteristic interception late in the third that led to the Jaguars taking a 20-17 lead with a field goal.
Aaron Jones 41, Jamaal Williams 31, Tyler Ervin 8
The Packers’ running backs had a very difficult time on the ground, as the Packers averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in the game. Jones led the way with 46 yards on 13 carries, but 20 of those yards came on one carry. He added 49 receiving yards on five catches, however, crossing 90 yards from scrimmage for just the third time this season.
Williams picked up 55 total yards on the day, going 8-for-30 on the ground while catching three passes for 25. Ervin left the game just before halftime with an injury that the team announced was to his ribs; on special teams, the Packers replaced him with Josh Jackson on punt returns and Malik Taylor on kickoffs.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 60, Davante Adams 53, Equanimeous St. Brown 31, Malik Taylor 8, Juwann Winfree 7
The Packers had just five explosive plays on Sunday, but three of them came courtesy of MVS. His 78-yard touchdown woke up the Packers a bit, but he also had two other gains of 20 yards or more — a 31-yard gain in the third quarter and a 22-yarder over the middle to convert a third and six. All told, this was almost certainly his best game as a pro, as he caught four passes for a career-high 149 yards and did so without a drop.
Adams had a rougher go throughout this contest. For a player who said just last week that it’s “fair” to call him the best receiver in the NFL, he dropped two passes that hit him in the hands and lost a fumble on a long catch-and-run down the field. Both drops were contested plays — he had his arms hit by the corner in coverage on the first and was hit from behind on the second — but both are plays that a receiver of his caliber should make.
Still, Adams bounced back. He would have had a ridiculous touchdown late in the first half if not for a holding penalty and he did find the end zone for the game-winning score in the fourth quarter on a tremendous leaping grab. That touchdown even came after he had to sit out for a time dealing with an ankle issue, which will require monitoring moving forward.
Robert Tonyan 40, Marcedes Lewis 26, Jace Sternberger 20
The only tight end targets in the game went to Tonyan, who caught three of four passes thrown his way for 33 yards. Lewis appeared to be a potential target on Rodgers’ running score, as the QB sprinted to the right off a play-fake with Lewis and St. Brown releasing into the right side of the end zone. Lewis got clogged up with a defender, however, but it would stand to reason that the Packers wanted to get him a score against his old team.
David Bakhtiari 65, Elgton Jenkins 65, Corey Linsley 65, Lucas Patrick 65, Billy Turner 65
The Packers’ line held up entirely throughout the game, with Bakhtiari returning from broken ribs. He and the rest of the line played every snap and largely kept Rodgers upright, though they got little push in the run game. The biggest issues in pass protection were a pair of penalties by Turner, one hold that wiped away a touchdown and a chop-block flag that resulted him from him being thrown aside by the rusher opposite him, causing him to fall uncontrolled into the legs of another defender who was already engaged.
DEFENSE (64 total snaps)
Kenny Clark 57, Dean Lowry 39, Tyler Lancaster 22, Kingsley Keke 14, Montravius Adams 14
James Robinson gained 109 yards on 23 carries as the only player to carry the football for Jacksonville, and the Packers’ line was often on skates at the snap. Clark is clearly fully healthy, as he played nearly every snap in this game against the Jaguars, and he made five total tackles, a few of them down the field. Lowry’s only entry on the stat sheet was a pass breakup at the line, while Lancaster had a pair of assisted tackles and Adams had one solo stop.
Za’Darius Smith 53, Preston Smith 52, Rashan Gary 31
The Packers got one sack each from their three edge rushers in this game, and all came at critical times. Z’s sack came on a third down to force a punt early on in the third quarter, while Gary and Preston came up with their sacks on the final series of the game to force a long 4th down attempt that eventually failed.
Gary had one of his better games of the year as a pass-rusher, as he had that sack on second down of the last series and provided the initial pressure on the third-down sack by Preston Smith. He appears to be understanding his own skill set better on the rush, using more speed-to-power rushes than trying to bend around the edge.
Christian Kirksey 64, Kamal Martin 13, Oren Burks 5
The Packers got Kirksey back for this game, and he returned to his every-down position in the middle of the defense. He had seven total tackles to lead the team. With Krys Barnes still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Martin got the snaps as the weak-side inside linebacker when the team stuck to a two-linebacker alignment, though he did not appear on the stat sheet.
Adrian Amos 64, Darnell Savage 61, Raven Greene 39, Vernon Scott 1
The Packers went with Greene as the dime linebacker in most cases, and he totaled three solo tackles and a big pass breakup. Amos had the Packers’ only turnover in the game, an interception on a nice break on Tyler Eifert, who slipped and fell just before the football arrived; that play turned into three points for the Packers near the end of the first half. Savage had a few nice moments as well, with two pass breakups and five total tackles.
Chandon Sullivan 64, Josh Jackson 60, Ka’Dar Hollman 51
With Jaire Alexander and Kevin King out, the Packers used the trio of Sullivan, Jackson, and Hollman at corner. When all three were on the field, it was Jackson and Hollman on the boundary with Sullivan in his traditional alignment in the slot, and he bounced back outside when the team went to a base defense with just two corners.
Sullivan did allow a touchdown pass to Keelan Cole and he got flagged for a pass interference penalty on a play when his receiver was not targeted and he actually knocked down the pass. He also recorded six total tackles. Hollman had four solo stops and a pass breakup, while Jackson had three total tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Burks 25, Randy Ramsey 25, Ty Summers 25, M. Taylor 19, James Burgess 16, Henry Black 16, Lancaster 13, Stanford Samuels 12