On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers did not win their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there were more than a handful of signs of positive progress for this team and this offense. Jordan Love looked the best that he has since week one, as he and the offense set season-highs in passing yards and explosive plays.
Love hit on seven passes of 20 yards or more in Pittsburgh, and he did so largely by targeting three rookie players: wide receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks and tight end Luke Musgrave. This was two straight very solid games for Wicks and Musgrave, while Reed has a few very good performances under his belt so far this season.
All told, the offense looked much more coherent between the 20s on Sunday than it had all season long, and it did so without a big game from Aaron Jones. The veteran running back was on the field and got 13 carries, but he was not particularly effective, and the fact that the offense as a whole was successful despite not getting a big game from Jones is a positive sign.
There were also some bizarre factors in this game that contributed to a narrow loss, including a blocked extra point and the referees failing to give the Packers defense a clear turnover. If one or both of those plays goes differently, we might be talking about a different final result, so there are plenty of reasons for positivity coming out of Sunday’s game.
Behind the Numbers: For Packers, progress can’t always be quantified | Packers Wire
This dive into some of the stats from Sunday's game show reasons for optimism about the Packers' recent progress while also explaining why the team still fell short in Pittsburgh.
Jayden Reed and rookie class making impact for Packers’ offense | Packers.com
Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Dontayvion Wicks are all starting to become impact players, and each of the three had at least 50 receiving yards on Sunday.
Packers’ Jordan Love-Christian Watson connection continues to disappoint - The Athletic
One player who did not hit that 50-yard mark is Watson, who continues to struggle to produce despite a heavy target share. He caught just two of his 7 targets on Sunday, while the Steelers intercepted two more of those passes.
Packers' Jordan Love still looking for a go-to pass-catcher - ESPN
In fact, no player with at least 30 targets this season has a lower catch rate than Watson. So why aren't more targets (and snaps) going to players like Reed and Wicks?
Officials Fumble Call on Pickett’s Lateral vs. Packers - Sports Illustrated
One of the biggest reasons for angst on Sunday was the officials' blown call on the lateral. The Packers should have had a defensive touchdown or, at least, possession of the ball at the 5-yard line.
Man, 89, cut neighbours' hedges as they 'hadn't bothered', then thanks himself in newspaper | AOL
Writing a thank-you note to yourself to post in a local newspaper is a bold move.