The eagerly-awaited return of Aaron Jones to the Green Bay Packers’ lineup started out with a bang, but it ended with a whimper. On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team leaned on Jones early and often on its first offensive drive, an 11-play series that ended on a turnover on downs.
Jones picked up more than half of the 71 yards of offense the team gained on that series, starting his game off with a 20-yard run. But that drive accounted for about a third of his total snaps in the game and well over half of his rushing attempts, as he and the entire running game were relegated to mostly afterthoughts as the Packers fell behind the Bucs.
Still, the game was close until after the Buccaneers’ first drive of the third quarter, making the Packers’ abandonment of the run somewhat puzzling. In any case, Jones and Patrick Taylor ended up splitting overall reps nearly evenly, though Jones did end up out-touching his teammate 17 to 3.
Here’s a look at how the whole team’s playing time broke out in Sunday’s excruciating loss.
OFFENSE (60 TOTAL SNAPS)
Jordan Love 60
While he was overshadowed by Baker Mayfield’s perfect passer rating, Love had a good day statistically as well. Going 29-for-39 with 284 yards and two touchdowns was a good bounce-back performance from Monday’s stinker in New Jersey, even if he did miss a few throws on occasion. However, he had easily the best throw of either QB in this game and one of the finest you’ll see any make on his dart to Jayden Reed for a touchdown in the second half.
He did take a pair of sacks and got happy feet a couple of times, but while it was not as consistent a performance as he had put up against the Lions or Chiefs, it was a major improvement from last week.
Aaron Jones 29, Patrick Taylor 26, Kenyan Drake 5
Out went AJ Dillon and back came Aaron Jones. After Matt LaFleur said he would likely keep Jones on a pitch count in a pregame interview, Jones got 8 carries on the opening drive of the game for a total of 44 yards. However, he only had five carries the rest of the game for 9 yards, while adding four catches on check-downs for 16 yards.
Despite his snap count, Taylor had just three touches in the game: a six-yard carry and two receptions for a total of minus-4 yards. Drake’s only carry went for no gain.
Romeo Doubs 54, Dontayvion Wicks 47, Jayden Reed 25, Malik Heath 20, Bo Melton 18
Wicks’ ability to suit up in this game after injuring his ankle on Monday was crucial, as he posted a Packers single-game season-high in receiving yards. His six catches for 97 yards continued his excellent efficiency, with four of his catches picking up 19 yards or more.
Only Reed had more targets than Wicks, seeing eight balls thrown his way — in other words, being targeted on essentially 1⁄3 of his snaps in the game. Reed caught six of those for 52 yards, including that highlight-reel touchdown. Doubs caught all three passes for 30 yards, while Heath had three grabs for 29.
Tucker Kraft 57, Ben Sims 10, Josiah Deguara 9
Once again Kraft was the every-down tight end, missing just three snaps on offense and adding 12 more on special teams. He continues to get better every week, as he caught four passes for 57 yards, including a 36-yarder up the sideline and a five-yard touchdown.
Elgton Jenkins 60, Josh Myers 60, Zach Tom 60, Rasheed Walker 41, Jon Runyan 31, Sean Rhyan 29, Yosh Nijman 19
The right guard rotation is getting interesting, with Runyan and Rhyan splitting time almost equally in this game. Pro Football Focus liked Runyan’s pass-blocking performance much better, however, giving him an 85 grade for the game compared to a 35 for Rhyan in that area. All told, the line didn’t do much in the run game and gave up two sacks of Love, one coming on an important 4th-and-10 with the offense behind by two scores.
DEFENSE (62 TOTAL SNAPS)
Kenny Clark 44, T.J. Slaton 39, Devonte Wyatt 37, Colby Wooden 15, Karl Brooks 12
If there was a bright spot for the Packers’ defense in this game it was the play of Kenny Clark, who had two sacks to set a new career-high with 6.5 on the season. Clark also forced a critical incomplete pass on a third down when he got pressure in Baker Mayfield’s face and knocked down a pass. Wyatt got credit for another when he chased Mayfield out of bounds for no gain. Slaton led the unit with five total tackles.
Rashan Gary 37, Preston Smith 37, Lukas Van Ness 26, Kingsley Enagbare 25
The Packers got sacks from each of their backup edge rushers, with Van Ness and Enagbare getting into the act. Enagbare’s was a big play, as he looped around to strip and recover the football from Mayfield, giving Green Bay the football inside the 10-yard line after a failed 4th-down attempt. Gary seemed to be in the backfield a decent amount, but finished the day with just one solo tackle and no QB hits on the stat sheet.
De’Vondre Campbell 61, Quay Walker 51
The Packers’ linebackers got picked on in pass coverage all game long, particularly Campbell. The two combined for 11 tackles, but far too often they were letting receivers get open around or behind them and forcing safeties up to make the stops.
Rudy Ford 62, Jonathan Owens 62, Anthony Johnson, Jr. 4
Indeed, Owens and Ford led the team in tackles with 11 and 8 respectively. Ford had one pass breakup in the game, but generally was not overly effective or impactful, while Owens was stuck making tackles downfield regularly.
Carrington Valentine 62, Eric Stokes 47, Keisean Nixon 46, Corey Ballentine 15
The Packers got Stokes back off injured reserve for this game, but he looked slow and unable to change directions quickly. He was victimized on a touchdown pass to Mike Evans and gave up a few more big completions throughout the game before being taken off the field — either benched or for conditioning reasons — in favor of Ballentine late.
Valentine made perhaps the only good play by a corner in the game with a great pass breakup, but otherwise the entire secondary had about as bad a day as one could imagine with Mayfield throwing for a perfect passer rating.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Eric Wilson 21, Zayne Anderson 15, Robert Rochell 15, Kristian Welch 15, Isaiah McDuffie 14, Nixon 13, Owens 13, Kraft 12