The Green Bay Packers blew out the Chicago Bears 38-20 on Sunday afternoon, starting off the 2023 regular season with a massively encouraging performance against their NFC North rivals. Jordan Love showed the poise and arm talent that made him a first-round draft pick three years ago, and he gave the Bears the same kind of fits that they are used to having against Packers quarterbacks for three decades.
This game went well enough for the Packers that they were comfortable making mass substitutions on both sides of the football midway through the fourth quarter, having taken a 24-point lead after a pick-six by linebacker Quay Walker. The game state gave a few of the team’s young players some significant reps, which should help them and the coaching staff a bit moving forward.
The one notable injury to watch this week will be to Aaron Jones, who did not return after tweaking a hamstring on his second touchdown of the day. That allowed AJ Dillon to lead the running back unit in touches and snaps (although just barely), but Jones sounded optimistic after the game about the issue and said he could have returned if needed.
Here’s a look at the playing time for the Packers on Sunday.
OFFENSE (60 total snaps)
Jordan Love 55, Sean Clifford 5
Love’s second career start was an excellent and efficient one, as he posted a passer rating of 123.2 and a QBR of 73.4. Love threw three touchdowns, making him one of just three quarterbacks to do so in week one, but he did so on just 27 attempts — half the number of throws it took Mac Jones to do it (54) and still significantly fewer than Tua Tagavailoa (45).
The Packers were up by enough late that they were able to bring Clifford on for a few snaps as a human victory cigar.
AJ Dillon 29, Aaron Jones 28, Patrick Taylor 7
Aside from Love’s excellent debut as the Packers’ permanent starter, Jones was the other big star on offense for the Packers. His 127 yards from scrimmage were tied for sixth among all players in the NFL in week 1, and his 11.5 yards per touch dwarfed the next-closest running back, Austin Ekeler at 8.2.
But for as explosive and dynamic as Jones was, Dillon was the opposite. He had a dismal 19 yards on 13 carries — two more carries than Jones’ 11 total touches. In fact, Taylor out-gained Dillon, posting 22 rushing yards on just five rushing attempts.
Dontayvion Wicks 37, Jayden Reed 32, Malik Heath 29, Romeo Doubs 29, Samori Toure 21
The Packers expected to keep Romeo Doubs’ reps limited in this game and did so, as he tied for just third among all wideouts in snaps. Our Justis Mosqueda broke down the Packers’ receiver usage in detail overnight to give a better idea of how each player was utilized, so be sure to check that out here. But Doubs was the star among the wideout group, catching a pair of touchdowns.
Luke Musgrave 45, Josiah Deguara 19, Tucker Kraft 13, Ben Sims 9
It’s clear that Musgrave is and will be the Packers’ TE1 this season as long as he stays healthy. He ended up playing just 75 percent of the snaps in week one, but that was only because the Packers kept him off the field late when the game was out of reach. Musgrave caught three passes for 50 yards, and would have had more — perhaps a touchdown — if not for a missed connection with Love when he was wide open on another target.
Deguara was on the field primarily as a wing and a fullback, as usual, while Kraft got a few reps on the wing and in-line late. Sims came in as a blocking tight end for a handful of snaps, largely playing in-line.
Josh Myers 60, Jon Runyan Jr. 60, David Bakhtiari 55, Elgton Jenkins 55, Zach Tom 55, Rasheed Walker 7, Yosh Nijman 5, Royce Newman 5
In every meaningful sense, the Packers got a full game from Bakhtiari, who was off the field for only five snaps when the team brought on the bulk of the backups. That gave Nijman, Newman, and Walker their snaps, though Walker did see two additional reps as a sixth offensive lineman in jumbo sets. All told, the line kept Love exceptionally clean, as he took just three hits all game.
DEFENSE (74 total snaps)
T.J. Slaton 40, Kenny Clark 38, Colby Wooden 36, Devonte Wyatt 30, Karl Brooks 29
The Packers got after quarterback Justin Fields with regularity on Sunday afternoon, and the interior line very much did its part. Of the team’s six official QB hits, five of them came from the linemen, with two each from Clark and Wyatt and another from Brooks. Each of those players recorded at least a half-sack — Clark had 0.5 and a forced fumble, Wyatt recorded 1.5, and Brooks had one.
J.J. Enagbare 41, Lukas Van Ness 35, Preston Smith 35, Justin Hollins 25, Rashan Gary 12
The Packers’ other official QB hit came from Van Ness, who got the team’s first sack of the season and the first of his career by chasing down a scrambling Fields in the backfield. Gary stuck to a very limited snap count, playing almost exclusively on third and fourth downs, but he had a whopping five pressures on ten pass-rushing snaps in the game, including one sack that was erased by a defensive penalty.
Meanwhile, Enagbare was the starter in Gary’s place rather than Van Ness or Hollins, but the team went through a five-man rotation consistently throughout the game to keep all of these players fresh.
De’Vondre Campbell 55, Quay Walker 49, Isaiah McDuffie 19, Eric Wilson 10
When using five defensive backs in this game, the Packers largely stuck to a conventional two-linebacker nickel look rather than the penny packages that they used heavily the past two years with just a single linebacker. Walker made the biggest play by this unit of the day, drifting back into zone coverage and intercepting Fields before returning the pick for a touchdown. Walker did take a big hit crossing the goal line, however, and did not return amid a concussion evaluation; that and the team’s move to the second string midway through the fourth quarter gave McDuffie and Wilson some snaps late.
Rudy Ford 69, Darnell Savage 60, Jonathan Owens 14, Dallin Leavitt 5
The mass substitution also gave Owens and Leavitt a few snaps apiece as the Packers suited up just four of the six safeties on their roster. Savage played one of his better games as a pro in this one, however, looking instinctive and attacking ball-carriers with regularity as he led the team in tackles with 10. Ford struggled, on the other hand; he did not tackle well nor did he take good angles to the football.
Rasul Douglas 74, Keisean Nixon 57, Jaire Alexander 56, Carrington Valentine 20, Innis Gaines 5
The Packers moved Alexander across the field in this game, largely having him shadow new Bears receiver D.J. Moore. That was a smashing success, as Moore had just two receptions for 25 yards on the day. Meanwhile, Douglas was the only Packers defender to play every snap, and he tied for second on the team in tackles with 8. Douglas also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Cole Kmet. Nixon was his usual solid presence in the slot, while Valentine was the Packers’ dime cornerback, getting a few reps on the outside with Douglas moving to the interior.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Leavitt 22, Owens 20, Gaines 19, McDuffie 19, Wilson 19, Deguara 14, Savage 12