The Green Bay Packers tied the Minnesota Vikings 29-29 on Sunday, a result that will set up a crucial week 12 game between the two teams at U.S. Bank Stadium. However, the Packers had plenty of chances to win the game, failing to do so thanks in part to officiating mistakes and in part due to mistakes in pass coverage by a few key players.
The two biggest offenders were Davon House and Kentrell Brice, whose combined efforts allowed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs that pulled the Vikings back within two points midway through the fourth quarter. Let’s take a look at why House was on the field and some other playing-time nuggets as we break down the Packers’ snap counts from week two.
OFFENSE (77 plays)
Aaron Rodgers 77
A game-time decision, Rodgers suited up and did not miss a snap for the Packers. He actually showed impressive mobility considering his knee injury, navigating the pocket well and scrambling a few times for eight yards. Rodgers finished the day 30-for-42 for 281 yards and one touchdown, but he was sacked four times, fumbled on a read-option exchange (which he recovered), and took a total of nine recorded hits.
Jamaal Williams 47, Ty Montgomery 26
At times, it appeared that the Packers’ running game was on the verge of breaking out. Williams had a couple of nice runs, but ended up finishing the day under 4.0 yards per carry as usual. Montgomery had the longest rush of the day at 16 yards, finishing with 31 yards on five carries. Monty also had the best blitz pickup of the game in the second half.
Still, this team must be looking forward eagerly to the return of Aaron Jones next week. Jones should be able to take some of the carries that Williams takes for two and three yards and turn them into five or six yard gains instead.
Davante Adams 75, Randall Cobb 71, Geronimo Allison 61, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 6
Once again, the Packers lined up with 11 personnel for most of the game. Each of the top three wideouts received at least six targets — Adams caught 8 of 12 balls thrown his way, Cobb caught four of six, and Allison caught all six of his passes. However, only Allison had a reception of more than 20 yards in this group, with one 22-yard reception. Adams did score a touchdown, however, on a play that was similar to his score in the Bears game — caught in the flat a few yards short of the end zone, only to make some nifty open-field moves and get across the goal line.
Allison’s signature play for this game came on special teams, however, as he got a hand on Matt Wile’s first punt, popping it up into Josh Jackson’s arms for the game’s first touchdown.
MVS also caught his first NFL pass, a three-yard out.
Jimmy Graham 58, Lance Kendricks 27, Marcedes Lewis 14
After a quiet game in week one when the Bears deliberately schemed him out of the game, Graham had a nice bounce-back performance with six catches on eight targets for 95 yards, leading the team in receiving yardage. Four of those receptions and 84 of his yards came after halftime, including a 34-yard catch-and-run on the first drive of the third quarter and a 27-yarder that set up Mason Crosby for a potential game-winning field goal attempt.
Graham also caught a 12-yard touchdown on a back-shoulder throw in the front of the end zone that was nullified by a holding penalty.
The other tight ends had little productivity in the passing game. Kendricks continues to see about twice the number of snaps of Lewis, but positional versatility likely plays into this as Kendricks often lines up in the backfield.
David Bakhtiari 77, Lane Taylor 77, Corey Linsley 77, Justin McCray 77, Bryan Bulaga 77
The Packers’ line remains intact (knocks vigorously on wood) through two games. For long stretches, they did an excellent job keeping Rodgers protected, but had the occasional breakdown as they ended up allowing a total of four sacks. There were a few penalties on the line as well; McCray and Bulaga each had a false start while Taylor got called for the holding penalty that wiped out Graham’s touchdown and Bakhtiari got a hold on the Packers’ fourth-quarter drive that gave them an eight-point lead.
DEFENSE (73 plays)
Kenny Clark 55, Muhammad Wilkerson 49, Mike Daniels 45, Dean Lowry 18, Montravius Adams 6
The Packers used more of their conventional 3-4 base in this game, as the linemen saw a bit of an uptick in snaps. Clark led the way, recording a sack and a pass deflection (that was nearly an interception) along with four total tackles. Although Daniels and Wilkerson combined for just one tackle, they were frequently causing problems on the interior — also, Daniels probably should have had a sack of his own, but he let up to avoid a roughing the passer call, thinking that Kirk Cousins had thrown the football away.
Clay Matthews 56, Nick Perry 40, Reggie Gilbert 34, Kyler Fackrell 13
Matthews had a better game than he did in week one — not a high bar to clear, to be sure, but he certainly played better. He had three total tackles and although he got called for another game-extending roughing the passer penalty, this one was clearly a terrible flag. Meanwhile, Gilbert had a half-sack and three hits on the quarterback and was the team’s best pass rusher off the edge. He even lined up at three-technique once or twice in obvious passing situations. Perry was largely absent, with just two solo tackles.
Blake Martinez 73, Antonio Morrison 22, Korey Toomer 7
Morrison’s snap count doubled from a week ago, and he put together one solo and three assisted tackles. Meanwhile, Toomer had three solo stops on his seven snaps. However, the Packers clearly miss the athleticism of Oren Burks when opponents go into passing mode, as Cousins and company picked on Morrison in coverage multiple times throughout the game. Once the Packers had a lead in the second half, Pettine went back to a lot of six-DB personnel, however.
Martinez led the Packers with nine total tackles, and added another pass breakup on a potential interception.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 73, Kentrell Brice 73, Jermaine Whitehead 25
Clinton-Dix was the beneficiary of a Laquon Treadwell drop, recording his first interception on a deflected pass when he was in deep zone coverage. Outside of that, he had few standout plays in either a positive or negative sense.
Instead of building upon a very good game against the Bears, Brice was pretty poor against Minnesota, as he failed to provide timely help on either of the Vikings’ final two touchdowns — the 75-yarder to Stefon Diggs or the 22-yarder to Adam Thielen.
Tramon Williams 73, Jaire Alexander 56, Josh Jackson 34, Kevin King 26, Davon House 24
King left the game around halftime with a reported groin injury and did not return, which led to House getting significant playing time in the second half. He allowed the completion to Diggs on the 75-yard score, and was later lifted in favor of Jackson.
Williams’ instincts and intelligence remain excellent, but it appears that he is starting to slow a bit. He couldn’t navigate traffic on Diggs’ first touchdown after the receiver went back and forth in motion, and he allowed a few other completions that the Tramon of five years ago likely would have been in a position to break up.
Alexander, however, had a very solid day, with seven total tackles (plus another on special teams) and a half-sack. He also should have put the game away with a perfect over-the-shoulder interception of Cousins if not for the bogus call on Matthews. Meanwhile, Jackson recovered the blocked punt for a touchdown early on and looked largely decent in coverage when he was on the field on defense.