The Green Bay Packers’ season is over. There’s not much more that needs to be said in introduction to this final game snap count breakdown of the 2020 campaign.
While the Packers’ player usage was pretty standard — aside from a couple of notable injuries — there were one or two oddities. First was Ty Summers entering the game for Krys Barnes instead of Christian Kirksey taking over at the Mike linebacker spot. The second big surprise involved a recently re-acquired Packers defensive back.
The Packers elected to keep Tramon Williams on the bench for the entire game on Sunday. He and Tim Boyle were the only players on the roster to not take the field for a single snap, whether on offense, defense, or special teams. Bringing Williams back and activating him for the game only to not play him at all — particularly when Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan were struggling, is a surprising decision and one that seems more than a little disappointing for the veteran and for Packers fans.
Here’s the playing time and stat breakdowns from the game.
OFFENSE (71 total plays)
Aaron Rodgers 71
On a day that Rodgers posted a 101.6 passer rating — his first time hitting triple digits in an NFC Championship Game — his offensive line largely let him down. Rodgers went 33-for-48 passing on Sunday afternoon, totaling 346 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. But it was the five sacks he took that were a major problem, and the offense bogged down with incomplete passes both in the red zone and on a pair of three-and-outs.
Still, Rodgers outplayed Tom Brady in this game. Brady threw three interceptions in the second half with his team leading and should have had another one or two more in the game. But that will be cold comfort for Rodgers and the Packers, who could not find their rhythm without the play-action passing game working.
Jamaal Williams 35, Aaron Jones 22, AJ Dillon 16
The Packers could have packed it in and given up following the injury to Aaron Jones, which happened on the third snap of the second half. Jones took a big hit to the ribs from Tampa Bay safety Jordan Whitehead (who suffered a shoulder injury of his own on the play and was out for the rest of the game). That knocked Jones out, but perhaps even more importantly, knocked the football out and the Bucs recovered to set them up for a three-possession lead.
Jones finished the day with six carries for 27 yards and four catches for just 7 yards. Williams played most of the rest of the way, gaining 23 yards on seven carries and 22 yards on four receptions. Dillon caught his only target for a 13-yard gain and carried three times for 17 yards.
Davante Adams 68, Allen Lazard 58, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 46, Equanimeous St. Brown 17
The Packers tried to get Davante Adams going, but could only find production from him on a few quick-breaking routes or on some smoke screens. He finished with nine catches for 67 yards and one score on 15 targets, with three of those incompletions coming on back-to-back-to-back plays with goal-to-go in the second quarter.
While Adams struggled with his efficiency, MVS was tremendous in the game. He got the Packers’ offense kick-started with a 50-yard touchdown on Green Bay’s second series, then caught three more passes for some big plays. All told, he finished the day with four grabs for 115 yards.
Lazard was a third-down machine again, catching three passes for 62 yards, two coming on big third down conversions including a 23-yard gain on 3rd-and-15 from the shadow of the Packers’ own end zone. However, he was the target on Rodgers’ interception; Sean Murphy-Bunting had a clear hold on Lazard’s shoulder pad throughout his route but was not flagged as he undercut the route and intercepted the pass with a little bit of time left in the first half. St. Brown caught his only target for ten yards, but dropped a two-point conversion in the second half that might have changed the scoring equation late in the game (though the ball was ever-so-slightly tipped by Ndamukong Suh at the line of scrimmage).
Robert Tonyan 47, Marcedes Lewis 29, Dominique Dafney 17
The Packers got a typical game from Tonyan — four catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. Lewis pitched in with a few big plays, catching three passes for 28 yards.
Billy Turner 71, Elgton Jenkins 71, Corey Linsley 71, Lucas Patrick 71, Rick Wagner 71
The Packers’ interior line mostly held up well in pass protection, but the tackles that struggled mightily once again facing the Bucs’ excellent edge rushers. Both Turner and Wagner allowed multiple sacks — Shaq Barrett had three and Jason Pierre-Paul had two as the tandem harassed Aaron Rodgers through much of the game.
DEFENSE (65 total plays)
Kenny Clark 60, Dean Lowry 49, Damon Harrison 16, Tyler Lancaster 12
Arguably the Packers’ biggest star on defense in this game was Clark, who played all but five snaps on defense and was an absolute force on the interior. His work helped the Packers perform well on early downs, forcing third-and-longs with regularity before the unit would give up big conversions on those opportunities. Clark led the team with eight total tackles and had the team’s only sack on Brady. Lowry had five tackles while Harrison had one assisted tackle. Lancaster left the game early with an injury, likely contributing in part to Harrison’s heavier workload.
Za’Darius Smith 57, Preston Smith 50, Rashan Gary 42
The Packers’ edge rushers were largely kept in check by the Bucs’ offensive tackles, in a reverse of the situation on the other side of the ball. Each Smith did have one hit on Brady, with Preston’s leading to a floating pass that should have been intercepted by Will Redmond. Gary should have drawn a hold on right tackle Tristan Wirfs on the play late in the game where Kevin King was flagged for pass interference, but referee Clete Blakeman elected to swallow his whistle, as he did all game. (You can see both penalties clearly below, as King has a handful of jersey and Wirfs has Gary clotheslined around the neck).
Krys Barnes 37, Christian Kirksey 29, Ty Summers 28, Kamal Martin 14
The Packers made a surprising move when Barnes left with an injury, inserting Summers into the lineup at the Mike linebacker position instead of moving Kirksey back into that spot. Yes, Kirksey has been a much more productive player at the Will, but this was Summers’ first real action on defense since week 9. Kirksey finished the game with four tackles, while Barnes had three and Summers and Martin two apiece. Kirksey, Summers, and Martin each recorded a tackle for loss as well.
Adrian Amos 65, Darnell Savage 65, Will Redmond 14
It was a hit-or-miss game for the Packers’ safety group on Sunday. Amos got caught biting on play-action on the Bucs’ quick touchdown after the Jones fumble, crashing on the play-fake and letting Cameron Brate get behind him for a painfully easy touchdown. However, he rebounded to get the Packers’ first interception in the game, coming over from the middle of the field to help Jaire Alexander in coverage on Mike Evans. (Though to be fair, Alexander might have picked that ball off if Amos were not there.)
Savage’s biggest play was a tremendous blitz on Brady that forced another pick, this one by Alexander later on. However, he was in coverage on Chris Godwin for his 52-yard catch — a tough play for the safety to make and a tremendous reception by Godwin.
Redmond’s only notable play will be a massive mistake, as he failed to bring in a would-be interception late in the first half on a sailed throw by Brady that hit the safety in the hands. The Bucs’ big touchdown to Scott Miller that extended their lead from 14-10 to 21-10 would happen two plays later.
Jaire Alexander 65, Kevin King 63, Chandon Sullivan 47
Alexander was a monster in this game, completely locking down his side of the field. He finally got some luck in the interception department — in part because Brady actually threw the ball his way a few times — coming down with two picks. One was off Savage’s blitz, as Brady was unable to get the ball deep and Alexander read it the whole way; the other was off a tipped pass from Brady to Evans, a high throw that caromed off Evans’ hands and into Alexander’s. He also had a third pass breakup.
But on the other side of the field, King and Sullivan were victimized early and often. The Bucs’ opening touchdown came on King, who mistimed his jump badly on a ball to Evans near the back left corner of the end zone. He was also in man coverage on Miller on the score at the end of the half, though why the Packers elected to run cover-1 with man coverage on the outside in that situation is “inexcusable,” as Matt LaFleur put it. Sullivan struggled significantly from the slot, especially early as both Evans and Godwin picked up big conversions against him on third downs in the first half.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Oren Burks 22, Redmond 22, Summers 22, Henry Black 19, Randy Ramsey 18, KeiVarae Russell 14, Malik Taylor 14, Dafney 13, Martin 11, Sullivan 11