Aaron Jones’ star turn took another step forward on Sunday, as the Green Bay Packers running back set a career-high in all-purpose yardage. But Jones was nowhere close to his career-high in snaps. In fact, he was on the field for fewer than half of the Packers’ offensive plays.
Whether explicitly by design or based on the way the Detroit Lions were defending him, Jones was absolutely the focal point of the Packers’ offense. Not only did he get the lion’s share of the carries out of the backfield, but he also led the team in pass targets. In fact, he was either targeted or carrying the football on a whopping 76% of the snaps when he was on the field.
Oh, and he averaged over 10 yards per touch in the game. That efficiency is tough to top.
Here are all of the snap counts from Sunday’s 42-21 win over Detroit.
OFFENSE (73 total)
Aaron Rodgers 68, Tim Boyle 5
It wasn’t a tremendously efficient day for Rodgers, who finished 18-of-30 for 240 yards and two touchdowns, but he still averaged eight yards per attempt and was sacked only once. As was the story in week one, his stat line could have looked even better if not for a few drops. Boyle came on for three handoffs to AJ Dillon and a pair of kneel-downs to end the game.
Aaron Jones 34, Jamaal Williams 31, Tyler Ervin 28, AJ Dillon 7
When Aaron Jones was on the field, the Packers were going to get him the football. In his 34 snaps, there were just eight on which he was not carrying the football (18 carries) or targeted with a pass (8 targets). He turned that workload into 236 total yards of offense, with 9.3 yards per carry and 17 yards per reception, and three touchdowns.
Williams was less of a factor in the game plan, but he had a tremendous day running the football as well. He carried eight times for 63 yards, showing a bit of burst and wiggle to complement his normal more straight-ahead power running style. Dillon added five carries for 17 in garbage time, with one particularly impressive 12-yarder and a great spin move in the backfield to avoid a tackle for loss. Ervin had just one pass target, a four-yard catch.
Allen Lazard 61, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 46, Davante Adams 38, Malik Taylor 15
Adams’ day ended early after he suffered a hamstring injury. Before leaving, he had just three targets for 36 yards, though he gave rookie Jeff Okudah fits much of the day. Lazard was his usual efficient self with 45 yards on three of five targets. MVS continued to be MVS - a drop here, a beautiful 41-yard there. He finished three of seven for 64 yards. Taylor came in late, but was just a blocker in garbage time.
Robert Tonyan 44, Marcedes Lewis 33, Jace Sternberger 16, John Lovett 11
Although the Packers seemed determined to get the tight ends a bit more involved in week two than they were in week one, they had no Josiah Deguara for the game, leaving Lovett to get the snaps in the traditional fullback alignment.
But oh, the drops from this group. Sternberger had a gut-wrenching drop on a perfect play-action leak call, letting the ball fall to the turf with ten yards of green space ahead of him. Then on the next play, Tonyan let a nice throw from Rodgers go through his hands on a nice route up the left sideline. Big Bob at least bounced back, catching a touchdown on a corner-stop route and adding another catch for 14 yards.
Elgton Jenkins 73, Lucas Patrick 73, Rick Wagner 73, David Bakhtiari 68, Corey Linsley 65, Jon Runyan 8, Yosh Nijman 5
The Packers made Billy Turner active for this game, but he was clearly in the “break in case of emergency” glass case. That left the team to start Patrick at right guard and Wagner at right tackle, and both were solid in pass protection while the entire line crushed it in the run game. Some shuffling continued late in this game when Linsley left with a sprained thumb, moving Patrick to center and Runyan back in at right guard. Bakhtiari got the last handful of plays off with the game well out of reach — he committed the unit’s first penalty of the year with a holding call early.
DEFENSE (59 total)
Dean Lowry 44, Kingsley Keke 35, Tyler Lancaster 33, Montravius Adams 12
With no Kenny Clark, the Packers’ line had a rough go early on in the first half, particularly trying to stop the run. This continues to be a group that needs to play with a lead, as the Lions ran straight down their throats with Kerryon Johnson on the opening drive. Keke and Lowry each recorded a pair of tackles, with Adams adding an assist.
Za’Darius Smith 56, Preston Smith 55, Rashan Gary 33, Jonathan Garvin 2
Za’Darius got his second sack of the year in this game, coming just outside the goal line. That was unquestionably a coverage sack, as Matthew Stafford held the ball far too long. That play gave the Packers a chance to get the ball back with a minute left in the second quarter, and they took the lead with a touchdown on that drive and never looked back. Z also would have had a great 5-yard tackle for loss on Kerryon Johnson on the first series, but he brought the back down with his hand in the helmet opening and was flagged for a penalty on the play. Early on, Z was lining up mainly over the center, perhaps Mike Pettine’s attempt to help cover up for Clark’s absence.
Gary, meanwhile, was a terror in this contest. He had 1.5 sacks in the second half, but his biggest play came on a tremendous speed rush near the Lions’ end zone early in the third quarter. He forced an early throw from Stafford to the flat, where an eager Chandon Sullivan was reading the quarterback’s eyes. Sullivan made a diving interception, rolling into the end zone for the defense’s first touchdown of the year. Preston Smith got the other half of the sack on the split with Gary late in the game, getting him in the sack column for the first time this year.
Christian Kirksey 59, Krys Barnes 15
The Packers rotated a number of players through at the second inside linebacker spot on Sunday, from Za’Darius Smith to Barnes to a pair of safeties. Kirksey led the team with 12 tackles on the day, while Barnes had three — none as impressive as his TFL in week one.
Darnell Savage 54, Adrian Amos 54, Raven Greene 21, Will Redmond 12, Vernon Scott 5
It was a pretty quiet day for the safety group, which saw Greene and Redmond each get some snaps at linebacker. Scott actually had one of the few notable plays from this group with a late sack of Stafford, while Redmond had a pass defense on the preceding play.
Jaire Alexander 53, Kevin King 53, Chandon Sullivan 43, Josh Jackson 5, Ka’Dar Hollman 5
After a bit of a struggle in week one, Sullivan had a tremendous third quarter on Sunday. He had the aforementioned pick-six and added a pass breakup on third down on the following series.
Alexander largely held Marvin Jones in check; he caught four of six targets but for only 23 yards (though he did score a touchdown). The bigger plays from the Lions passing game went to Marvin Hall on a nice scoring throw from Stafford and to D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson underneath or in the middle of the field.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Oren Burks 23, Will Redmond 23, Ty Summers 23, Josh Jackson 19, Vernon Scott 16, Jace Sternberger 16, Malik Taylor 15