Heading into the Green Bay Packers’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, most expectations were that the rookie offensive lineman Jon Runyan, Jr. would get his first start against the team that his father played for over nine years. Runyan had substituted in each of the Packers’ last two games, playing left guard when Elgton Jenkins slid down to center to replace the injured Corey Linsley.
Instead, the Packers went with a different approach on Sunday. Runyan did not take the field against the Eagles, as the Packers instead moved Lucas Patrick to the left side and slid Billy Turner in from tackle to right guard, with Rick Wagner taking over at right tackle. The unit was effective against a solid Eagles defensive front, allowing just two sacks — one of which was a scramble attempt by Aaron Rodgers that went for no gain.
It seems that when the Packers have a full week to prepare, they view their best offensive line group being one that consists of Billy Turner at guard and Rick Wagner at tackle. Perhaps giving Turner the full week of practice reps at guard makes the difference; it seems that the team is loath to move him mid-game unless absolutely necessary, but is happy with him at guard when given time to prepare.
As it stands, it seems that this line will be the Packers’ preferred unit moving forward, with Runyan only likely to see playing time if another injury strikes. Still, look for him to be in the Packers’ long-term plans regardless, particularly in 2021 if there are changes up front due to the shrinking salary cap.
Here’s a look at the overall playing time numbers and the stats from Sunday’s 30-16 Packers victory.
OFFENSE (61 total)
Aaron Rodgers 61
Make it five straight games with a completion percentage over 70 for Rodgers, who also eclipsed 120 for his passer rating for the seventh time in 12 games this season. Rodgers hit on 25 of 34 attempts for 295 yards and three touchdowns, giving him an average of 8.7 yards per attempt and hitting 400 passing scores for his career.
Aaron Jones 40, Jamaal Williams 21
The Packers seemed to have some occasional running room on Sunday, but Jones was bottled up for the most part until his explosive run to seal the Packers’ victory. Jones’ 77-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter was the longest play of his career, beating a 75-yard score that he ripped off against the Lions in week two. It also gave him 100 yards for just the second time this year, with the previous performance also coming in that Lions game, who are coincidentally the Packers’ next opponent.
That one carry took his yards per carry from just 3.8 before (14 carries for 53 yards) to 8.7 on the day.
Williams, meanwhile posted 26 yards on five carries, buoyed by one 18-yard gain.
Davante Adams 54, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 46, Allen Lazard 42, Equanimeous St. Brown 11, Malik Taylor 5
It was another ho-hum 120-yard day for Adams, who caught ten of his 12 targets and scored twice. Perhaps his most impressive catch was a 42-yard bomb down the middle with the Packers set up at their own one-yard line — Rodgers’ pass somehow snuck between two defenders and Adams made a tremendous catch falling onto his back to get the Packers out close to midfield. A few plays later, he would take an RPO nine yards for Rodgers’ 400th touchdown pass and the 13th of Adams’ season. Adams also put himself over 1,000 yards on the year in this game, doing so despite missing two games earlier in the year.
The Packers got some complementary production from Lazard in this game, as he caught three of four passes for 50 yards. MVS had a rough day, with a bad drop on a deep ball and another missed connection on his second target. Taylor picked up 14 on a crossing route while St. Brown caught one of two targets for seven yards.
Robert Tonyan 38, Marcedes Lewis 35, Dominique Dafney 6, Jace Sternberger 3
It was another predictably consistent game for Tonyan, who finished the day 4-of-5 for 39 yards and a score. He should extend his lead in tight end DVOA, as he had both a 25-yard touchdown on a third down opportunity and a big pickup of five yards on third-and-four to get the game’s final first down so the Packers could run out the clock.
Lewis picked up his biggest reception since 2017, taking a wide-open pass off play-action and rumbling for a 36-yard gain. Sternberger left the game early with an injury and did not return, opening the door for Dafney to get a few snaps in the H-back role.
David Bakhtiari 61, Lucas Patrick 61, Elgton Jenkins 61, Billy Turner 61, Rick Wagner 61
As mentioned in the open, the Packers moved Turner to guard instead of leaving Runyan in the starting lineup on Sunday. This unit was able to keep Rodgers mostly clean — the only really big hit he took was a sack on the Packers’ opening possession when Patrick was unable to sustain his block on Javon Hargrave.
DEFENSE (62 total)
Kenny Clark 44, Dean Lowry 31, Kingsley Keke 24, Tyler Lancaster 14, Billy Winn 3
Kingsley Keke is really starting to blossom as a pass-rusher. For the second time this season, he posted a two-sack game, sacking Carson Wentz twice and being in on a few other plays. Clark was his usual steady self in the middle of the defense, as he recorded three tackles in the game. Lowry also got into the act with one sack for no gain and a pair of hits on the Eagles’ quarterbacks.
Za’Darius Smith 52, Preston Smith 47, Rashan Gary 36, Randy Ramsey 4
Green Bay’s top three edge rushers all had big days against a battered Eagles offensive line on Sunday. Z and Gary recorded 1.5 sacks apiece, while Preston added a half-sack. Preston Smith also landed a hit on Jalen Hurts late that helped to force an interception and the Packers’ only turnover of the game.
Most of this contest was illustrative of what this defense can do when the pass rush is working correctly. Carson Wentz had no answers until he was benched for Hurts. The rookie did give the defense some issues with his mobility, but after one touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, the defense came up with a pair of stops, each featuring a sack and the second resulting in an interception to seal the deal.
Christian Kirksey 62, Kamal Martin 16
Although the Packers got Krys Barnes back off the reserve/COVID list this week, they went with their usual dime defense thanks to the offense spotting the team an early two-possession lead. Martin took the handful of snaps in base early in the game, when he provided a tremendous play by knifing through the line unblocked for a tackle for loss in the run game. Kirksey had seven total tackles and made a nice play in coverage on running back Boston Scott up the sideline on a wheel route.
Adrian Amos 62, Darnell Savage 62, Raven Greene 32, Will Redmond 9
Savage came down with the interception late in the game, his third in the last two games, and did so with another tremendously athletic play. A look at the film may reveal a more mixed performance, however; he slipped in one-on-one coverage against Dallas Goedert on a corner-post route, allowing Goedert to get free for a huge gain, and he appeared to be the deep help on the Eagles’ only offensive touchdown, when Hurts hit Greg Ward in the corner of the end zone for a score.
Amos had another solid game, being a steady, physical tackler and providing solid support against running backs and tight ends. Greene was active as well, recording a half-sack and two quarterback hits.
Jaire Alexander 61, Chandon Sullivan 60, Kevin King 59, Ka’Dar Hollman 4
Finally, Mike Pettine put Alexander on an island for most of the game and he delivered, breaking up a pair of passes. He was technically covering Ward on the Eagles’ score, but again, a look at the All-22 will be necessary to see what happened on that play. King finished the game with five tackles while Sullivan did not appear on the scoreboard. Sullivan took over for Tyler Ervin on punt returns, however, when the latter was forced to leave the game with a new injury, this time to his knee.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Oren Burks 21, Ty Summers 21, Ramsey 21, Hollman 16, Greene 14, Taylor 14, Sullivan 13, Vernon Scott 12, Krys Barnes 11