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Packers Week 8 Snap Counts: Mike Pettine dialed up 3-3-5 alignment against Chiefs

Darnell Savage’s return gave Pettine back one of his most versatile pieces, and he needed it against Kansas City.

Green Bay Packers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

With his defense facing a Kansas City Chiefs offensive attack with myriad weapons, Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine did what he loves best: he put a lot of defensive backs on the field. The Packers went heavy on the nickel and dime alignments on Sunday night, and although they struggled mightily in the second quarter, Pettine ended up getting a largely solid performance out of his group.

Matt Moore is no Patrick Mahomes, that much is sure. But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid did a great job scheming players open for him in that second quarter, a 15-minute span that saw the Chiefs to from down 14-10 to up 17-14 at the half. But after the break, Pettine’s group locked things down.

The Packers gave up just seven points and 105 yards in the second half, and they forced a critical turnover in a tie game to give Aaron Rodgers and company a short field and force the Chiefs’ defense back out. The Chiefs’ four series in the second half went punt, fumble, touchdown, punt, while the Packers put 17 points on the board against a gassed Kansas City unit.

Pettine’s 3-3-5 nickel and 2-3-6 dime alignments ended up doing the job, and the regularity with which he used these setups is clearly visible in the snap counts.

OFFENSE (69 plays)


Aaron Rodgers 69

Rodgers had a second straight excellent game from a numbers perspective, throwing for 9.24 yards per attempt and recording a passer rating of 129.0. He is now up to 8.2 yards per attempt for the season, just two-tenths of a yard short of the average he posted in his last MVP season of 2014. He also is up to 290.5 yassing yards per game this season, his highest average since 2011, and his passer rating ranks fourth in the NFL this year at 106.4.

Running Backs

Aaron Jones 44, Jamaal Williams 32, Danny Vitale 14

What more can you say about Jones that hasn’t already been said? He was a matchup nightmare on Sunday, going off for more than ten yards per touch. And although his receiving and yards-after-the-catch abilities may earn him the most praise today, his ability to find holes late in the game to help run down the clock may be even more impressive.

Jones finished 13-for-67 on the ground, but it was his seven catches for 159 yards and two scores that will make eyes pop. Meanwhile, Williams added three catches for 14 yards and an absurd touchdown to go with seven carries for 22 yards and a one-yard score.

Wide Receivers

Allen Lazard 46, Geronimo Allison 44, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 43, Jake Kumerow 35

With Adams still out, the Packers went with their young receivers in this game. Lazard had the best day of the bunch, catching all five of his targets for 42 yards. Kumerow had an impressive 34-yard grab on the opening drive to set up the game’s first touchdown, while Allison and MVS had just one catch apiece.

Darrius Shepherd may have played his way off the roster at this point. He struggled returning punts once again, letting a few take unfriendly bounces when he should have fair-caught them. Don’t be surprised if the team makes a change there this week.

Tight Ends

Marcedes Lewis 43, Jimmy Graham 42, Evan Baylis 2

Green Bay’s tight ends were only marginally used in the passing game, with Graham catching three passes for 20 yards and Lewis one for 11. But two of those completions went for first downs, including a catch-and-run of 11 for Graham on a third-and-ten in the third quarter.

Offensive Linemen

Elgton Jenkins 69, Corey Linsley 69, Billy Turner 69, David Bakhtiari 66, Bryan Bulaga 56, Alex Light 16

The Packers allowed five sacks in this game on Rodgers, who was hit a total of 12 times in the game. A couple of those were on the quarterback — he was once sacked after holding the ball for over eight seconds — but the line simply looked befuddled at times by the blitz-heavy looks that the Chiefs defense was giving them.

However, late in the game when asked to drive upfield in the running game, the line responded, providing the push and creating the lanes for Jones to slice and dice the Chiefs’ defense for enough first downs to run out the clock.

Bakhtiari left briefly in the second half after getting his leg rolled up, but he returned; Bulaga missed some time in the fourth quarter with a finger issue, and Light was able to step in ably in both players’ places.

DEFENSE (59 plays)

Defensive Linemen

Kenny Clark 50, Dean Lowry 38, Montravius Adams 14, Tyler Lancaster 11, Kingsley Keke 2

With so many 3-3-5 and 2-3-6 groupings taking the field, the Packers kept the snap counts for their reserve linemen down a bunch. Lancaster made arguably the game’s biggest play, however, stripping LeSean McCoy of the football on first down after the Packers had just tied the game. He, Clark, and Lowry all recorded two tackles apiece, with Lowry credited with a hit on the quarterback.

Outside Linebackers

Za’Darius Smith 46, Preston Smith 45, Kyler Fackrell 33, Rashan Gary 14

Both Smiths went down with minor injuries at different points in the game, but both were able to return a few plays later. Za’Darius was the Packers’ only consistent pass rusher in this game, as he was credited with a pair of sacks (though Preston helped clean up one of them). Both Smiths had four solo tackles, while Fackrell added an excellent TFL on a screen pass and a hit on Moore. Gary had a QB hit as well in limited duty.

Inside Linebackers

Blake Martinez 59, B.J. Goodson 3

Despite wearing a club on his injured left hand, Martinez took every snap in this game and made seven total tackles. He is clearly valued for more than just his coverage ability — after all, Oren Burks did not take the field at all on defense. Instead, it is likely Martinez’s communication skills that keep him on the field, as he relays Mike Pettine’s playcalls to the defense on every play.


Adrian Amos 59, Darnell Savage, Jr. 59, Will Redmond 10

Despite the Packers using a heavy dose of defensive backs, Redmond’s playing time was kept to a minimum thanks to Savage’s return. There was a visible difference on the back end of the defense, however, and Savage recorded seven total tackles. Amos had four stops and a big pass breakup as well, and several of his tackles were of the impact, perfect form-tackle variety.


Jaire Alexander 59, Kevin King 59, Tramon Williams 53, Chandon Sullivan 35

Instead of Redmond, it was Williams and Sullivan who got the playing time as the team’s fifth or sixth DBs on the field. Sullivan split time between corner and a third safety position, and he made one excellent pass breakup in the second half.

Alexander had five tackles, one for a loss, along with a pass breakup, while King also added five stops.


Oren Burks 20, Ty Summers 20, Will Redmond 19, Tony Brown 15, Danny Vitale 15, Evan Baylis 14, Kyler Fackrell 14, Josh Jackson 13, Chandon Sullivan 13