The defense was the story for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, as the new-look unit dominated the Chicago Bears’ offense for 60 minutes. The Bears’ only scoring drive came on a series where they got the ball at the Packers’ 36-yard line, and their other four drives into Packers territory ended in two punts, an interception, and a turnover on downs.
Notable in this game was how extensively the Packers’ new additions played. In fact, all of the starter-level free agent additions plus rookie safety Darnell Savage played at least 90 percent of the team’s snaps. It was a tremendous performance that will hopefully sustain through into the coming weeks.
Here’s how playing time broke down.
OFFENSE (64 plays)
Aaron Rodgers 64
Aside from one drive, it was a forgettable night for Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. The quarterback was relatively inefficient, completing 18 of 30 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown — good for a passer rating of 91.4.
Aaron Jones 38, Jamaal Williams 26, Danny Vitale 11
The Packers’ backs did little damage on the ground, with the longest run coming as a nine-yard carry by Jones. He had 13 carries for 39 yards and one reception for no gain. Meanwhile, Williams carried five times for no yardage but added two receptions for 15 yards.
Davante Adams 62, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 42, Geronimo Allison 32, Trevor Davis 19, Jake Kumerow 1
It’s clear from this breakdown that Matt LaFleur wants to get Davis’ speed and agility on the field on offense, considering that Kumerow only got on the field for one play. MVS missed a bit of action in the fourth quarter with cramps, but was able to return. He made by far the biggest play of the night in terms of impact and yardage, with a 47-yard gain on a play-action bomb from Rodgers. He led the way with 52 yards on four receptions. Adams was targeted eight times but caught just four ballls for 36 yards.
Jimmy Graham 35, Marcedes Lewis 34, Robert Tonyan 20
The Packers are clearly serious about their 12 personnel packages, as the tight ends saw significant playing time. Graham caught three of six targets for 30 yards and the game’s only touchdown, while Lewis had three targets — one shy of the four that he totaled in 16 games all last season. Tonyan had the biggest play of the bunch, with a 28-yard reception.
David Bakhtiari 64, Lane Taylor 64, Corey Linsley 64, Billy Turner 64, Bryan Bulaga 64
The Packers’ offensive line thankfully stayed healthy throughout the game, though effectiveness was a question mark at times and holding penalties were common. Taylor in particular seemed to struggle, and it’s clear why the Packers had him in competition with rookie Elgton Jenkins in training camp.
DEFENSE (73 plays)
Kenny Clark 56, Dean Lowry 47, Montravius Adams 22, Tyler Lancaster 14, Fadol Brown 3
The Packers’ big two of Clark and Lowry did much of the heavy lifting up front in this game. Both recorded a single quarterback hit, while Clark had a half-sack and five total tackles to Lowry’s no sacks and three tackles. Clark was a constant anchor in the run game, however, and these players up front did a terrific job of plugging holes and keeping linebackers and DBs free to make plays on the Bears’ ball-carriers.
Preston Smith 72, Za’Darius Smith 67, Kyler Fackrell 23, Rashan Gary 6
The two free agent additions had excellent games on Thursday night. Za’Darius Smith played a lot inside, where he did much of his damage as a pass-rusher, notching his first sack as a Packer in his debut. Preston Smith had 1.5 sacks, including the one that finally sealed the win for the Packers, and a batted pass as well, and each Smith had three QB hits on the night.
Fackrell had one assisted tackle on defense and one assist on special teams. Interesting was the fact that the Packers used Gary very little in this game, perhaps precautionary after the injury he suffered in the third preseason game or perhaps simply due to not having a defined role for him just yet.
Blake Martinez 73, Raven Greene 56
Martinez played every snap as he usually does, while Greene was the hybrid linebacker next to him on most plays in this game. Martinez had seven tackles and a sack, while Greene added six tackles and a pass breakup.
Adrian Amos 73, Darnell Savage 73
Both new safeties took every snap as well, recording three tackles apiece. Savage had a pass breakup and a tackle for loss. Meanwhile, Amos predicted a Bears playcall perfectly and picked off a Mitchell Trubisky pass to keep Chicago out of the end zone and drive a stake in the hearts of Bears fans.
Jaire Alexander 73, Tramon Williams 73, Kevin King 42, Tony Brown 27, Josh Jackson 3
The Packers rolled three cornerbacks for most of the game, staying primarily in dime with Greene as the inside linebacker. Alexander had five tackles and two pass defenses, while Williams had three tackles and a pair of his own PBUs. Kevin King had a breakup, five tackles, and a sack on Trubisky in an impressive start to his third season. Brown had five tackles as well.