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Have a Day: An Unofficial Guide to the Career Games Allowed by Joe Barry’s Defenses

During Joe Barry’s seven years as an NFL defensive coordinator, players have found it pretty easy to put on a show.

Syndication: PackersNews MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The spotlight has been on the Green Bay Packers this season, for many reasons. After 15 seasons worth of games quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers, the team moved on to his understudy, Jordan Love. They started the year with the youngest roster in the league, and kicked the season off with a commanding win over their division rival, the Chicago Bears. And then, the team started losing, and the spotlight shifted to the defense.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry is in his third year with the team, and has faced much scrutiny over the years due to blown leads, and overall bad performances. During the 2023 season especially, it has seemed as though every week, the Packers allow an opposing player to have one of the best games of their career. So, I got curious. In Joe Barry’s seven total years with the DC title next to his name, how many career days have his defenses allowed? Let’s take a look at the numbers, and we can all suffer together.

2007 Lions

Week 1: 36-21 win over the Raiders. In Joe Barry’s first-ever game as an NFL defensive coordinator, the Lion's defense gave a 6th-year QB Josh McCown his 4th-ever 300-yard game. This isn’t really a career day, but it was a sign of things to come.

Week 3: 56-21 loss to the Eagles. Gave up 554 combined passing and rushing yards. QB Donovan McNabb threw for 381 yards, which was the third-best game of his career at the time (now fifth-best). RB Brian Westbrook had 110 rushing yards and 111 receiving, his most total yards ever in one game. WR Kevin Curtis had 11 catches for 221 receiving yards and 3 TDs (his career high by almost 100 yards).

Week 12: 37-26 loss to the Packers. Gave RB Ryan Grant his third-ever 100-yard game (101 yards).

Week 15: 51-14 loss to the Chargers. Gave up 100+ yards to not one, but two RBs (LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles). This was Sproles’ first-ever 100+ rushing yard game and just one of three in his career. This is also Sproles’ career-high rushing yards in a game.

Week 16: 25-20 win over the Chiefs. QB Damon Huard threw for 305 yards, the second-most in his career. Huard had been in the league for 10 years at this point.

Week 17: 34-13 loss to the Packers. Allowed RB Brandon Jackson his first-ever 100-yard game (113 yards). This is now the second-most in a game in his career. Jackson was voted NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance in this game.

2007 overall: The Lions had the 32nd-ranked defense (377.6 yards per game, 27.8 ppg). Detroit finished third in the division with a record of 7-9, which was the best record they had ever had under then-GM Matt Millen, so: success! Run it back! We can only improve, right?

2008 Lions

Week 1: 34-21 loss to the Falcons. Allowed 220 rushing yards to RB Michael Turner (AJ Dillon Sr., as I like to call him), and 93 additional rushing yards to RB Jerious Norwood. This was Turner’s Falcons debut, and he broke their single-game rushing record, which still stands today). This is the most Turner has ever rushed for in a game. This was the third-highest opening day rushing yardage in the history of the NFL. That’s right. Joe Barry’s defense not only broke a personal record, and not only broke a team record; they let a team make NFL history.

Week 2: 48-25 loss to the Packers. This was QB Aaron Rodgers’ first-ever start against Detroit and his first-ever 300-yard game. WR Greg Jennings had 6 catches for 167 yards and zero touchdowns, which is an objectively hilarious stat line. 167 yards are a career-high for Jennings.

Week 5: 34-7 loss to the Bears. This was QB Kyle Orton’s first-ever 300-yard game (334 yards). WR Rashied Davis had 97 receiving yards, the most in a game in his career.

Week 6: 12-10 loss to the Vikings. The defense allowed 131 receiving yards from WR Bernard Berrian, his career-best.

Week 8: 25-17 loss to Washington. Allowed 328 passing yards from QB Jason Campbell, which at the time was the second-best game of his career (now sixth-best).

Week 9: 27-23 loss to the Bears. Allowed a rookie RB Matt Forte to run for 126 yards, which was the best game of his young career at the time. It is now the eighth-most yards he’s rushed for in a single game.

Week 11: 31-22 loss to the Panthers. Allowed 100+ yards from two RBs: Jonathan Stewart with 130, and DeAngelo Williams with 120. This was a rookie Stewart’s first-ever 100-yard game, and is now the sixth-most in his career.

Week 15: 31-21 loss to the Colts. Allowed 142 receiving yards to TE Dallas Clark, the best game of his career at the time. This is now the second-most yards he’s ever had in a game.

Week 17: 31-21 loss to the Packers. Allowed 106 rushing yards each from RBs Ryan Grant and DeShawn Wynn. Wynn ended his career with 332 total rushing yards. That means the Lions let him rush for almost exactly 13 of his total career yardage in one day.

2008 overall: The Lions finished the season with a record of 0-16, the first team to ever do so. They had the 32nd-ranked defense in just about every category. They allowed 404 yards per game and 32.3 ppg. They also allowed an average passer rating of 110.8, the worst by FAR in 2008 (the next team was Denver with 98.5 avg). Obviously, the Lions finished last in the NFC North this year, and everyone was fired.

2015 Washington

Week 5: 25-19 loss to the Falcons. Washington’s defense allowed a career-high 153 rushing yards from RB Devonta Freeman, who ended the day with 197 all-purpose yards (his second-most).

Week 7: 31-30 win over the Buccaneers. Allowed 297 passing yards to a rookie QB Jameis Winston, which at the time was his career-best. He is obviously now not a stranger to numbers like this.

Week 9: 27-10 loss to the Patriots. Allowed 129 rushing yards from RB LeGarrette Blount, which was his third-best game at the time (now fourth-best).

Week 15: 35-25 win over the Bills. Allowed an average passing day from QB Tyrod Taylor, but allowed 79 rushing yards from him, his most rushing yards in a single game. The defense also allowed a 60-yard rush from RB Mike Gillislee, the longest of his career.

Week 16: 38-24 win over the Eagles. QB Sam Bradford threw for 380 yards, his best game at the time (now second-best).

Week 17: 34-23 win over the Cowboys. Allowed 435 passing yards and 3 TDs from QB Kellen Moore, who had 779 yards and 4 TD passes in his entire career.

2015 overall: Washington had the 28th-ranked defense with 380 yards allowed per game, and they were middle of the pack in most other categories. The team finished first in the NFC East with a record of 9-7, and lost in the Wild Card round to Green Bay, so they ran it back for another year with Barry.

2016 Washington

Week 1: 38-16 loss to the Steelers. Allowed a 10th-year RB DeAngelo Williams to rush for 143 yards. Williams was no stranger to a number like this, but a 10-year veteran rushing for this many yards is insane.

Week 10: 26-20 win over the Vikings. Allowed 164 receiving yards to WR Stefon Diggs, his second-best game at the time (fourth-best now).

Week 13: 31-23 loss to the Cardinals. RB David Johnson had 91 receiving yards, his most ever at the time (now second-most).

Week 16: 41-21 win over the Bears. The defense gave up QB Matt Barkley’s second-most passing yards of his career, 323. WR Cameron Meredith had 135 receiving yards, his most ever in a game.

Week 17: 19-10 loss to the Giants. Gave up 102 rushing yards to RB Paul Perkins, who finished his career with 575 yards.

2016 overall: Washington had the 28th-ranked defense with 377.9 yards allowed per game, and they were middle of the pack in most other categories. The team finished 8-7-1, missed the playoffs, and Barry was fired.

2021 Packers

Week 5: 25-22 win over the Bengals. The Packers allowed 6 catches for 159 receiving yards and a TD from a rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase, the best game of his young career at the time.

Week 11: 34-31 loss to the Vikings. WR Justin Jefferson had 8 catches for 169 yards and 2 TDs, his second-best game at the time (now sixth-best).

Week 14: 45-30 win over the Bears. Rookie QB Justin Fields had the second-best game of his young career with 224 passing yards (now seventh-most) and 74 rushing yards (now 11th-most).

Week 15: 31-30 win over the Ravens. QB Tyler Huntley rushed for 73 yards, his career-high.

Week 18: 37-30 loss to the Lions. Nothing crazy, but the Packers allowed a trick play that involved WR Tom Kennedy throwing a 75-yard TD pass to WR Kalif Raymond.

2021 overall: Green Bay had the 9th-ranked defense in yards allowed per game (328.2), and also allowed 21.8 ppg (14th ranked). The Packers went 13-4 to win the NFC North and earn a first-round bye. They lost in the playoffs to who else, the 49ers (while only allowing 13 points).

2022 Packers

Week 1: 23-7 loss to the Vikings. Allowed 184 receiving yards and 2 TDs to WR Justin Jefferson, his best game ever at the time (now his third-most receiving yards in a game).

Week 6: 27-10 loss to the Jets. Allowed 116 yards from RB Breece Hall, the most of his short career at the time (now third-most).

Week 7: 23-21 loss to Washington. In August of 2022, RB Brian Robinson Jr. was shot in the knee and glute, body parts that he needs in order to run, and less than two months later, the Packers allowed him to rush for his then-best 73 yards.

Week 10: 31-28 win over the Cowboys. Allowed 150 receiving yards to WR CeeDee Lamb, the most of his career at the time (now fifth-most).

Week 11: 27-17 loss to the Titans. Allowed 111 receiving yards to WR Treylon Burks, the most of his career by a considerable amount.

Week 12: 40-33 loss to the Eagles. Allowed QB Jalen Hurts to rush for the most yards of his career by far, 157. The Packers also allowed RB Miles Sanders to rush for the most yards of his career at the time, 143 (now second-most).

Week 17: 41-17 win over the Vikings. The number isn’t anything outrageous, but it was technically a career day for WR Jalen Nailor, who had 89 receiving yards.

2022 overall: The Packers went 8-9, finished third in the NFC North, and missed the playoffs by one game. They had the “best” defense in the division (17th overall with 336.5 yards per game allowed and 21.8 ppg allowed).

2023 Packers

Week 2: 25-24 loss to the Falcons. Allowed QB Desmond Ridder his best game at the time with 237 passing yards. RB Bijan Robinson’s career started with a bang, and he rushed for 124 yards, which is still his most all season.

Week 10: 23-19 loss to the Steelers. Allowed the first 100-yard rushing game of RB Jaylen Warren’s career (101 yards).

Week 14: 24-22 loss to the Giants. QB Tommy DeVito’s passing numbers were nothing crazy (158 yards), but he also rushed for 71 yards, earned the win, and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Green Bay.

Week 15: 34-20 loss to the Buccaneers. QB Baker Mayfield had his best game in 5 years with 381 passing yards for a perfect passer rating. He became the first visiting QB to ever have a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field. Mayfield was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Week 16: 33-30 win over the Panthers. Allowed QB Bryce Young’s first-ever 300-yard game (312), and I suspect he would’ve won NFC Offensive Player of the Week had the Panthers come away with a win.

The Packers are approaching their final game of the regular season against the Chicago Bears, and with a win, they’ll be back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2021 season. Will a trip to the playoffs overshadow the defensive struggles the team has faced this season, and be enough to bring Barry back for another year?

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