The Green Bay Packers’ 37-30 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night came with a few critical players off the field for the team. Davante Adams and Kenny Clark were inactive for the game, but the biggest injury in-game came to starting inside linebacker Christian Kirksey.
In his first opportunity since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Ty Summers was called into action on defense to fill in for Kirksey, who had played every snap on defense to that point. (Note that Summers played behind Blake Martinez a year ago, who never left the field either.) All told, Summers totaled 44 snaps on defense and finished with nine tackles, a decent debut for the second-year pro out of TCU. With Kirksey likely out at least a week, look for Summers to get the start as the Mike linebacker on Monday against the Atlanta Falcons while the Packers continue to view their two inside linebackers as entirely separate positions.
Here’s a look at the playing time from Sunday night.
OFFENSE (62 total)
Aaron Rodgers 62
For the second time in three games, Rodgers posted a passer rating over 124 and an adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) over 10. He also now has a normal yards per attempt of 8 or more in every game, with this contest being his best of the season at 8.84. Essentially every metric has Rodgers on pace for his best statistical output since 2011, and his efficiency is the biggest driving force behind the Packers’ success on offense to this point.
Aaron Jones 44, Tyler Ervin 23, Jamaal Williams 19
Although Jones did not have an explosive day like he did in week two, he was still reasonably efficient, running 16 times at 4.3 yards per attempt and scoring a touchdown. He added two receptions on four targets for 17 yards, while Ervin had two catches for eight and Williams had one for three yards.
Allen Lazard 59, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 57, Darrius Shepherd 23, Malik Taylor 4
It was Lazard’s day to shine this week, particularly on a pair of deep balls. He caught six of eight passes thrown his way for a tremendous 146 yards and a touchdown, the score coming after he set up the Packers near the goal line with one of his two bombs. He also drew a 14-yard pass interference penalty on a short third down attempt that helped moved the chains.
The tight ends did most of the rest of the work in the passing game, as MVS caught just one of his four targets for five yards and Shepherd did not bring in his only target in the game.
Robert Tonyan 39, Jace Sternberger 20, Marcedes Lewis 20, John Lovett 2
What a day for the tight end group. Tonyan caught a score for a second straight game, the final touchdown of the game to effective seal the game. He ended 5-for-5 for 50 yards and the score. Meanwhile, Sternberger finally kicked his habit of dropping the football, catching all three targets for 36 yards. Lewis got into the action, catching an 18-yard touchdown from Rodgers as well to give the group over 100 combined receiving yards on the day.
David Bakhtiari 62, Elgton Jenkins 62, Corey Linsley 62, Lucas Patrick 62, Billy Turner 62
With Turner back and ready to go, the Packers showed their preferred starting five, which includes him at the right tackle spot with Patrick at right guard in place of Lane Taylor. The unit battled well all game, giving Rodgers time to throw as he was sacked just once.
DEFENSE (61 total)
Dean Lowry 32, Tyler Lancaster 29, Kingsley Keke 28, Montravius Adams 11, Billy Winn 6
With no Kenny Clark for a second straight game, the Packers went light again and had an average of just 1.73 defensive linemen on the field per snap. Keke made the most of his action, however, showing up with two big sacks on Drew Brees, including one that forced a fumble, and a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage. Winn also added a pass breakup on one of his six snaps in his first NFL game action since 2016.
Preston Smith 58, Za’Darius Smith 56, Rashan Gary 18, Jonathan Garvin 16
The Packers frequently put three outside linebackers on the field in this game, but Gary’s action was limited due to an ankle issue. That allowed Garvin to get his first significant action, which led to his first NFL tackle.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game, however, game from Za’Darius Smith. His forced and recovered fumble on Taysom Hill came just after the Packers failed on a fourth-and-one attempt near midfield early in the fourth quarter of a 27-27 game. The Packers would take the lead on the next series with a 49-yard field goal before getting a three-and-out on the next drive and scoring a touchdown after that.
Ty Summers 44, Krys Barnes 17, Christian Kirksey 17, Oren Burks 13
The Packers got their first real injury test on defense in this game when Kirksey left the contest with an injury in the first half. The team obviously views his position differently from the other inside linebacker spot, as Ty Summers came on for the entire remainder of the game. Summers finished the game as the team leader in total tackles with nine, matching Barnes, who had eight on defense and one on special teams. Burks picked up two defensive and two special teams tackles as well as a forced fumble on a kickoff return that was unfortunately recovered by the Saints.
Adrian Amos 61, Darnell Savage 61, Will Redmond 32, Raven Greene 6
The Packers got 12 total tackles from their starting safety tandem, with Savage picking up seven and Amos five. Redmond had four including a special teams stop, but the group was mostly active in run support with little threat of any deep balls from Drew Brees.
Jaire Alexander 61, Kevin King 61, Chandon Sullivan 42
Green Bay used just three corners on defense in the entire game, but with the Saints’ passing game running almost entirely through running back Alvin Kamara, it makes sense. Alexander had a great game against Emmanuel Sanders, but Sullivan made one of the plays of the game with his exceptional tackle on Kamara on a stack screen on third down late in the game. That sent the Saints’ punt team on the field and the Packers went on to score a touchdown to take a late 10-point lead.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Redmond 24, Burks 24, Summers 19, Josh Jackson 16, Lovett 15, Malik Taylor 15, Vernon Scott 15