Rookie Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is already a star. That much has been clear from his first five games and particularly a 6-catch, 159-yard performance that he posted against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Chase now has five touchdowns in five NFL games, adding two 100-yard performances and never falling below 50 yards in a single contest.
That was the challenge facing the Packers’ secondary on Sunday, one they had to handle without All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander. As a result, they used a host of players at cornerback, with four different individuals seeing more than 25 snaps in the game.
It seemed that most of the time, Chase was matched up against fellow rookie Eric Stokes. The two had some great battles in 2019 when both were playing in the SEC, and it was another exciting game-within-the-game to watch.
Part of the reason Isaac Yiadom saw as much playing time as he did was because of a mid-game injury to Kevin King, though the veteran was able to return to the field. Still, the Packers were able to hold the Bengals to just 6.4 yards per attempt, even despite Chase racking up 15.9 yards per target in the game.
Here’s a look at the playing time and the big stats.
OFFENSE (64 total plays)
Aaron Rodgers 64
Although Rodgers started out cold, going 2-for-7 with a pick early, he picked it up on the Packers’ first touchdown drive, which he finished off with a score on a swing pass to AJ Dillon. 16 of Rodgers’ 39 passes went to his favorite receiver, as Davante Adams continues to hog the targets.
All told, Rodgers would finish the day 27-for-39 for 344 yards, two scores, and a pick. The offense moved the ball consistently all day long, but continued to struggle in the red zone, an area where Rodgers will need to be more efficient.
Aaron Jones 44, AJ Dillon 21, Kylin Hill 2
After a couple of double-digit yardage gains on the first drive of the game, the Packers’ running game was very quiet until Jones broke a massive 57-yard run in the fourth quarter. That put him over 100 rushing yards in a game for the first time this season, but the run accounted for more than 40 percent of the team’s total rushing yards in the game. Jones also caught four passes, but gained just six yards.
Dillon, meanwhile, was more effective as a receiver, picking up big chunks of yardage after the catch on swing passes. He also caught four balls, but took them for 49 yards, including the Packers’ first touchdown of the game.
Hill finally got in on the action on offense, even doing so on the opening drive of the game when he caught one pass for five yards. However, the team rolled with their top two backs for the remainder of the contest.
Davante Adams 58, Allen Lazard 55, Randall Cobb 35, Equanimeous St. Brown 12, Amari Rodgers 5, Malik Taylor 4
Adams’ 16 targets made this the third straight game with double-digit passes thrown his way and his 11 catches for 206 yards put him in first place in the NFL in both categories. He also caught a tremendous red zone touchdown for his second score of the season. Those 206 yards were a career-high, and his 579 for the year put him on pace for a whopping 1,967 over a 17-game season.
Adams has accounted for almost 47% of Aaron Rodgers’ passing yardage this season as once again, the rest of the receiver group was particularly quiet. Cobb and Lazard combined for five targets, four catches, and 36 yards, though it was Cobb’s big 15-yard reception on third-and-16 that set up Mason Crosby for the successful game-winning field goal attempt in overtime.
Robert Tonyan 38, Marcedes Lewis 29, Josiah Deguara 13, Tyler Davis 4
Marcedes Lewis, YAC man? Lewis picked up 34 yards on two catches in Sunday’s game, running hard after the catch and bowling over would-be tacklers. Tonyan continued his vanishing act, however, as he caught just one pass for eight yards. That was a key third-down conversion, though, which helped keep a drive alive in the third quarter to lead to a field goal.
Deguara has struggled mightily all season and even got benched for Davis briefly after a blown assignment.
Yosh Nijman 64, Jon Runyan, Jr., 64, Lucas Patrick 64, Royce Newman 64, Billy Turner 64
It wasn’t a pretty game for the line, as they inserted Patrick in at center with both Josh Myers and Elgton Jenkins out. All in all, they largely gave Rodgers decent time to throw, as he was sacked just twice and hit just five times. But the line struggled in run-blocking, particularly on first down:
specifically frustrating were first-down runs of 0, 2, 1, 1, -1, 1, 0, -1, and -1 when Rodgers was averaging 8.8 yards per attempt. Patrick and Newman were just not moving anyone.— Ross Uglem (@RossUglem) October 11, 2021
DEFENSE (67 total plays)
Kenny Clark 54, Dean Lowry 46, Kingsley Keke 31, T.J. Slaton 13, Tyler Lancaster 13
Clark continues to be a dominant force on the interior, as he blew up several plays and recorded two tackles for loss in this game. Lowry had a nice game as well, taking advantage of right guard Jackson Carman to the tune of a half-sack and two batted passes. Slaton combined on that sack with Lowry as the two collapsed the pocket, and he landed another hit on Joe Burrow.
Preston Smith 49, Rashan Gary 47, Jonathan Garvin 20, Ladarius Hamilton 19
The Packers got a solid performance out of their edge players in this game, as each of their top three players on the edge recorded a hit on Burrow. Smith’s was a sack, while Gary led the group with five total tackles.
Garvin and Hamilton did much of their work on early downs, spelling the starters so they would be more fresh and effective on third downs and passing situations.
De’Vondre Campbell 59, Krys Barnes 23, Oren Burks 18
After three straight games playing every snap, Campbell missed a few in this game while working through an injury. Barnes took over the communications helmet when that happened, but Campbell was able to return after a short time, playing — and playing well — the rest of the way. He continues to be a revelation for this defense, as he had another eight tackles, one TFL, and a crucial interception on the first play of overtime.
Barnes made a big splash play as well, knifing through the line for a sack of Burrow early in the game. He totaled six tackles on his 23 snaps, playing mostly in base and giving way to Burks in nickel alignments. Burks would finish with a pair of tackles and a QB hit. Notable here is the absence of Ty Summers, who appears to be relegated back to a special teams-only role with Barnes’ return.
Adrian Amos 67, Darnell Savage 67, Henry Black 19
The Packers used a lot of nickel and dime in this game, and that gave Black his biggest workload in terms of total snaps all season long. Amos matched Campbell with eight total tackles and an interception, a great play on the opening drive of the third quarter, while Savage’s speed was evident as he made six tackles in the game.
Savage’s one big mistake was on a 70-yard touchdown to Chase, though the entire team appeared to be out of sorts on that play.
Eric Stokes 65, Chandon Sullivan 58, Kevin King 42, Isaac Yiadom 26, Shemar Jean-Charles 1
While Chase had a big day, the cornerback group did a good job limiting the Bengals’ other talented wide receivers to minimal impacts. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd combined for nine catches but just 56 yards.
King had perhaps his best game so far this season, as Zach Kruse notes:
Packers CB Kevin King allowed only 17 yards into his coverage and had two "stops" resulting in a failure for the offense on Sunday vs. the Bengals.— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) October 11, 2021
A week after playing 18 snaps in place of Alexander, Yiadom got another long run with 26 snaps, in part filling in when King had to leave with an injury. Jean-Charles’ only snap came near the goal line on the boundary, when Joe Mixon juked him out of his shoes on a touchdown run.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Black 22, Burks 22, Ty Summers 22, Yiadom 21, Taylor 18, Mason Crosby 16, Slaton 16, Deguara 15, Jean-Charles 15, Isaiah McDuffie 15, Ben Braden 14, Hill 13, Lowry 13