It seems like a lifetime ago that Aaron Rodgers declared “we’ve got a defense,” but it’s really been just a little over two years. Maybe it just seems longer than that because Mike Pettine has been managing the Packers’ defense during that time, and his charges seem to find new and inventive ways to be disappointing on a weekly basis.
One consistent trait, though, has been huge statistical performances from individual players. If it seems like the Packers are regularly giving up career-defining performances to opposing players, you aren’t imagining things. Anybody looking for a big boost to their stats should get excited when they see the Packers coming up on the schedule.
I’ve identified 12 players who have had some version of career-best days when playing against Pettine’s defenses. To be fair to Pettine, many of these games were not Packers losses. Despite surrendering big statistical performances, the Packers did come out on top in a few of these games.
But still, it’s a groan-inducing sight to see the same guy make play after play after play against the Packers week in and week out, especially when it always seems to be the sort of player you’d expect the Packers to be doing everything they possibly can to stop, or at least slow down. And on top of that, even if they didn’t always lose, the games mentioned below often ended up being a lot closer than they ever needed to be, including one noteworthy contest against a banged-up 49ers team.
Here’s a quick look at those big-time performances, organized alphabetically by first name. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you can identify another player who put up big numbers against the Packers, let us know in the comments.
Alvin Kamara — 139 receiving yards, 2 TDs in Week 3, 2020
Kamara is a well-known receiving threat, piling up 139 receiving yards against the Packers in Week 3, many of which came on a long screen pass where seemingly every Packers player on the field missed him at least once.
Amari Cooper — 226 receiving yards in Week 5, 2019
Cooper’s Cowboys lost this game, but he was a big part of keeping things interesting.
Brandon Powell — 103 receiving yards in Week 17, 2018
The Packers get some forgiveness for this one. The 2018 season was a dumpster fire at the end, and when Aaron Rodgers left the Packers’ Week 17 game against the Lions, their last flicker of hope died out. But still, you shouldn’t be giving up 103 yards to Brandon Powell. How do I know that? Well, Powell had a grand total of 57 receiving yards combined in the 13 other NFL games he ever played.
Dalvin Cook — 226 yards from scrimmage in Week 8, 2020
Fun fact: two of Dalvin Cook’s three best rushing performances came against the Packers. Those don’t count for this piece, since we’re talking about career bests, but we don’t have to look too far for an actual career-best performance. Against the Packers Sunday, Cook totaled 226 yards from scrimmage, the best total of his career. Oh, and his four touchdowns were also the best single total of his career. Bonus failure!
Darren Waller — Two receiving touchdowns in Week 7, 2019
Waller has exactly one multi-touchdown game to his name. The Packers were kind enough to provide him that nice milestone in his (legitimately awesome) redemption story, though they’d ultimately come out on top.
D.J. Moore — Nine catches in Week 10, 2019
Technically, Moore only tied a career-high with nine catches here. But given that he also piled up 120 receiving yards and the Packers needed a goal line stand to beat the Panthers, I think we can count it.
Josh Jacobs — Highest YPC on 20+ carries in Week 7, 2019
The Packers did win this game, but Josh Jacobs (and Waller above) gouged them badly. Jacobs averaged 5.9 yards per carry, the most he’s ever averaged by far when carrying the ball 20 or more times.
Mike Williams — 111 receiving yards in Week 9, 2019
Williams actually bested this total about a month later, but in the Packers’ 2019 loss to the Chargers, Williams broke out for a 111-yard performance.
Raheem Mostert — 220 rushing yards in the 2019 NFC Championship
This is the crown jewel of career-defining performances allowed by Pettine’s Packers defenses and really needs no further explanation.
Ronald Jones — 113 rushing yards in Week 6, 2020
Even if most of the Packers’ poor showing in Tampa earlier this year can be attributed to two back-breaking interceptions thrown by Aaron Rodgers, Ronald Jones pounded the Packers defense for a career-best 113 yards.
Robby Anderson — Nine catches, 140 yards in Week 16, 2018
Anderson has since tied the career-high nine catches he posted in this game, but his performance against the Packers in late 2018 nearly led the lowly Jets to an upset.
Zach Zenner — 93 rushing yards in Week 17, 2018
Like Brandon Powell above, Zenner took advantage of a disheartened Packers team to post a career-high 93 rushing yards in the 2018 season finale, such as it was.
Adam Thielen - Two touchdowns in Week 1, 2020
Thielen has four career two-touchdown games, two of which have come against the Packers. Though the Vikings have lost both of his two touchdown efforts, his most recent one kept the Vikings competitive in Week 1.
Anthony Miller — Nine catches in Week 15, 2019
Miller hasn’t really lived up to his second-round billing in his NFL career to date, but he tied his career-high with nine catches against the Packers late in the 2019 season.
C.J. Beathard — Way better than C.J. Beathard should be
The Packers came into their 2018 meeting with the 49ers after an embarrassing divisional loss prepared to face a team reeling from injuries. Instead, Kyle Shanahan conjured a very respectable game out of C.J. Beathard, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns, only blinking on a late interception forced by an all-out blitz from Mike Pettine. The Packers narrowly escaped that time. How confident are you that Pettine can find a timely blitz this time around?