The Green Bay Packers’ 40-14 rout of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday night was one of the more enjoyable games in recent memory. The Titans came into the game as one of the better teams in a pretty loaded AFC, ranking 12th in the league in DVOA and 3rd in offensive DVOA. Their defense and special teams have drug them down, but this was still a very formidable opponent, and Green Bay absolutely waxed them.
It wasn’t quite a perfect game. Mason Crosby had a missed extra point and the Packers failed to convert a two-point attempt shortly thereafter. Aaron Rodgers turned into Brett Favre for a brief moment in time and chucked a ridiculous interception once the team was already up by 19. Darnell Savage had one interception, but could have added three pick-sixes if he was a combined two steps quicker (or the surface was a bit better) and had slightly better hands. The safeties also won’t be covered in glory on one play in particular, when Savage tried to jump the gap and let Ryan Tannehill get a first down, and Adrian Amos was doing... something:
Aaron Rodgers was sacked on a fourth down attempt as well. And I think that about sums up the negatives from this game.
In all of the big four phases of play, Green Bay dominated Tennessee. On defense, the Packers stifled nearly everything Tennessee tried. Ryan Tannehill was held to 121 yards as Green Bay’s pass rush was harassing him all night. Green Bay racked up TEN pass deflections as a tighter brand of coverage played well with the disruptive front. Tannehill posted -0.29 EPA/dropback and a 1.31 ANY/A. The Packers completely shut down Tennessee’s top targets. AJ Brown, Corey Davis, and Jonnu Smith all had negative EPA/targets in this game as the entire secondary stepped up to shut them down. Coming into the week, Tennessee had the second-best passing offense by DVOA, and Green Bay made it look worse than the Jets.
There were very real fears of a Derrick Henry rampage as the weather began to look bleak, but that didn’t happen either. Henry was held to -0.02 EPA/play and averaged a mediocre 4.3 yards per carry. The only player who had any success running the ball was Tannehill, who scampered into the end zone on the play shown earlier. This was the #2 offense by rushing DVOA coming into the week, and the Packers much-maligned run defense did exactly what it needed to do: not get steamrolled. Mission accomplished.
The last time the Titans scored 14 or fewer was Oct. 13 2019. They’d only scored fewer than 20 one other time in that span.— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) December 28, 2020
Teams just don’t do this to them.
On the offensive side, it was almost exclusively smooth sailing. Green Bay didn’t have a single punt and moved the ball at will. Aaron Rodgers was typical Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, racking up a hyper-efficient 21/25, 231 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT game. His QBR of 90.7 and EPA/play of 0.44 are both elite, as is his 9.58 ANY/A. He was hitting all parts of the field and his +14.6 CPOE is just another cherry on top of an elite statistical night.
Aaron Rodgers completed 84.0% of his passes tonight in the @packers win, +14.6% over expected (by CPOE). Rodgers' two best CPOE performance since 2016 have come over his three last games (+15.0% in Wk 14 vs DET).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 28, 2020
➤ 21/25, 231 yards, 4 TD, INT (+14.6% CPOE)#TENvsGB | #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/EMqGhjCEM7
The Titans couldn’t really do anything to disrupt Rodgers as he only took one sack and was lethal against the blitz.
Where Aaron Rodgers excelled as a passer in tonight's win over the Titans:— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 28, 2020
10+ Air Yards
➤ 5/7, 91 yards, 3 TD, INT (+26.0% CPOE)
➤ 10/12, 140 yards, 2 TD (+25.0% CPOE)
➤ 8/9, 103 yards, 2 TD (+27.3% CPOE)#TENvsGB | #GoPackGo
Rodgers’ favorite target was of course Davante Adams, who is now very close to breaking a few Packers single-season records despite not playing in every game. Adams was slippery all night and it’s quite amazing that his 11/142/3 line feels rather ho-hum now. Rodgers never targeted another receiver more than three times, but there was no need to when Adams was putting up 0.91 EPA/target. It was a complete performance from WR1, with positive contributions in every facet of the game.
More on Davante Adams performance tonight against the Titans:— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 28, 2020
• Targeted in a tight window on 1 of 12 targets (8%)
• Reception at every level of field (LOS, short, mid, deep)
• 55 yards after catch, +27 YAC over expected#TENvsGB | #GoPackGo
I’ve buried the lede a bit here, though. Everyone wants to talk about AJ Dillon, aka Quadzilla, aka The Snow Plow. The Packers’ running backs absolutely decimated the Titans front for 6.8 yards per carry and 0.33 EPA/play. To contextualize the EPA a bit, Patrick Mahomes has a 0.325 EPA/play on the season. The Packers running game was better than 2020 Patrick Mahomes. The run blocking did their part, but the running backs really dominated this game, racking up an asinine 86 yards over expected.
The Packers running backs combined to gain +86 rush yards over expected.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 28, 2020
➤ 124 rush yards (+24 over expected)
➤ 94 rush yards (+62 over expected)#TENvsGB | #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/iWC9VlMY3G
Aaron Jones had the one big run, but was largely RB2 after sustaining a minor hip injury, but Dillon was able to carry the load and put up one of the best performances of any running back in recent Packers history.
Highest EPA per rush in a game from a Packers running back since 2010 (Min. 15 attempts):— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) December 28, 2020
1. Aaron Jones 2018 wk 10 (0.56)
2. Ty Montgomery 2016 wk 15 (0.52)
3. AJ Dillon 2020 wk 16 (0.47)
One of the most effective rushing performances in recent memory for this team.
With this performance, Green Bay is now far and away the #1 offense by EPA/play at 0.21. The Packers’ defense has now slowly slid its way into above-average territory to twelfth in EPA/play. Some of the defense’s improvement has come at the hands of weaker offenses, but the past two weeks have involved holding a good offense to 16 points and an elite offense to 14 points. Since week 10, the Packers defense ranks 8th in the NFL in EPA/play at -0.042.
The Packers’ formula down the stretch has been to combine an elite offense with an above average defense, which is probably the perfect formula. The emergence of Darnell Savage has taken the defense to another level. The Packers proved on Sunday they could win a snowy and messy game at Lambeau, which will almost certainly be required to reach the Super Bowl. If Green Bay takes care of business against Chicago and secures the top seed, no one will be happy to come up to Lambeau in January, and the Packers should be in the driver’s seat in the NFC.