On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers won a game in which they threw for fewer than 100 yards and allowed the opposing team to convert 56% of third downs and to rack up just under 400 yards of total offense.
How did they do so?
They did it with a vicious pass rush that directly resulted in a touchdown, a big play on special teams, and a huge team performance on the ground. The biggest play of the game may have been the final one, however, a 20-yard touchdown from a running back just returning from injury and who had lined up for only a single snap prior to that play.
Here’s how the playing time broke down.
OFFENSE (55 snaps)
First of all, let’s discuss Brett Hundley. The Packers’ QB had an abysmal day throwing the football, missing a wide-open Geronimo Allison early in the game, but he was extremely effective running the ball. In particular, the Packers mixed some read-option into the playbook, and Hundley picked up a first down on each of the game-tying and game-winning drives on such plays. He finished with 66 yards on seven carries, almost as much yardage as he got through the air (84 yards on 13/22 passing).
LT David Bakhtiari 55, LG Lane Taylor 55, C Corey Linsley 55, RG Jahri Evans 55, RT Jason Spriggs 55
Thankfully, the Packers’ offensive line has stabilized, with every starter playing every snap once again. The unit allowed two sacks but spent much of its day paving the way for Jamaal Williams and Brett Hundley on the ground.
Jamaal Williams 48, Aaron Ripkowski 12, Aaron Jones 2
With Jones reactivated, it was a surprise to see him line up on the field only once during regulation time. Williams took every carry of the game until the final play, when Jones came in, apparently to spell Williams after seven straight plays — which included three Williams carries, one Williams reception, and a read-option keeper by Hundley.
Jones, on his second snap, delivered the type of play that Williams probably can’t — he ran into a stacked-up line, but his nimble feet allowed him to escape the backfield, looping around to the left and beating a Bucs lineman to the edge. Once he had green in front of him, Jones hit the accelerator and burst upfield, splitting a pair of defenders and leaping across the goal-line to end the game.
Lance Kendricks 30, Richard Rodgers 29, Ulrick John (OT) 2
Kendricks and Rodgers each had a single catch on the day, combining for 15 yards. There’s not much else to say here — the two will both be playing 50-60% of snaps each game from here on out. Meanwhile, John lined up at tight end again for a few snaps as an extra blocker.
Jordy Nelson 50, Davante Adams 49, Randall Cobb 41, Geronimo Allison 9, Trevor Davis 1, Jeff Janis 1
You can’t really fault Jordy Nelson much, but his stat line — five catches on eight targets for 17 yards — is painful to look at. The Packers’ longest completion of the game went to Adams for a 14-yard gain on the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. Aside from those two players, the only other receiver to see a target was Allison, who found himself wide open in the end zone early on but had no chance to catch an off-target throw.
Stunningly, Cobb did not see a single target in his 41 snaps.
DEFENSE (xx snaps)
Mike Daniels 58, Kenny Clark 38, Dean Lowry 38, Quinton Dial 26
Can we talk about Kenny Clark for a moment? He was no guarantee to even play in this game, but he had a pair of sacks — the first two of his career — including one that resulted in arguably the biggest play of the game. That was the fumble he forced out of Jameis Winston that popped into Dean Lowry’s hands. Lowry’s 62-yard touchdown extended the Packers’ lead to 17-7 and was responsible for the final points the team would score until just before the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter.
Lowry added a sack of his own, while Daniels split a half-sack with Clay Matthews. All three of those linemen recorded at least four total tackles, with Lowry adding two tackles for losses and Clark getting one as well.
Clay Matthews 56, Nick Perry 56, Kyler Fackrell 31, Ahmad Brooks 29
Clay Matthews, who was questionable coming into the game, had one of his best performances in a long time to continue a bit of a resurgent season. He racked up 2.5 sacks and seven tackles, plus a TFL against the run.
Nick Perry had five tackles and a hit on the quarterback, while Fackrell and Brooks both also registered hits on Winston. All told, the Packers’ pass rush victimized a Buccaneers’ offensive line that they should have taken advantage of, as Tampa Bay had just lost multiple starters to injury in the weeks leading up to the game.
Let’s also give props to Kyler Fackrell for his blocked punt, which due to a quirk of NFL stat-keeping will not actually go down as a block. That is because the ball still crossed the line of scrimmage and went down as a zero-yard punt rather than a block. Still, that play set up the Packers’ first touchdown five plays later.
Rookie Vince Biegel was relegated to special teams duty only.
Blake Martinez 76, Jake Ryan 43, Joe Thomas 10
Joe Thomas got his first action at inside linebacker since returning from an injury, and he recorded one tackle, which went for a loss. However, Martinez and Ryan each had double-digit tackles. Ryan added a sack and a TFL, while Martinez had a hit on Winston and a pass breakup. However, Martinez was struggling in coverage on Sunday; according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed seven catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 76, Morgan Burnett 76, Josh Jones 60, Jermaine Whitehead 23
With Burnett at full strength and Kevin King out, the Packers elected to use Burnett in the slot corner role for most of the game, hearkening back to some of the success they had that way early on in the season. Jones played primarily strong safety as a result, instead of playing much Nitro linebacker. However, he did make three tackles in the game while Burnett had six and a pass breakup. Clinton-Dix led the unit with nine tackles, and Whitehead came on in the dime package.
Davon House 74, Damarious Randall 52, Josh Hawkins 14
With no Kevin King, the Packers went with House and Randall on the outside with Burnett as the slot corner, as mentioned above. Hawkins really only played during a stretch that saw Randall leave the field to be evaluated for a concussion, but he did return. In that time, however, Hawkins was targeted twice (per PFF) and broke up both passes. Randall had a breakup of his own as well.