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Packers Week 7 Snap Counts: Whitney Mercilus plays extensively in debut

The Packers used their newest pass-rusher more than many expected in his first game with the team.

NFL: Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers earned a 24-10 victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday, and they did so with big contributions from a handful of recent veteran additions. In particular, Rasul Douglas and Whitney Mercilus pitched in with big games defensively, with Mercilus playing nearly half of the team’s defensive snaps despite arriving in Green Bay on Thursday.

Yes, Mercilus was on the field primarily in pass-rushing situations, but he played the de facto OLB3 role, lining up on more than just third downs. In total, his 31 snaps helped keep Rashan Gary’s legs fresh, as Gary finished the game with a whopping ten QB pressures on just over 50 snaps of his own.

Meanwhile, Douglas started the game, his first start as a Packer, and led the team in overall grading from Pro Football Focus. Douglas’ addition has been a massive boost for a Packers cornerback group that continues to deal with injuries to Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, with his arrival and contributions coming at the perfect time to complement rookie Eric Stokes.

Here’s a look at all the playing time numbers from Sunday.

OFFENSE (56 total plays)

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers 56

Rodgers took three sacks in the first half, but was not sacked once after halftime, and as long as he was staying on his feet, he was efficient and effective throwing the football. Rodgers posted a passer rating of 127.6 in this game, racking up 274 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-35 passing.

Rodgers also added a 15-yard scramble on a third-and-11 on the Packers’ opening drive. That series ended in a touchdown pass to Davante Adams as Rodgers scrambled again and found Adams open over the middle.

Running Backs

Aaron Jones 41, AJ Dillon 13, Kylin Hill 5

It was a quiet day for the backs in this game, as the Packers did little to get the running game moving early on. Jones had just six carries and five receptions in the game, his fewest number of touches since having just seven against the Saints in week one. Dillon and Hill carried the football just three times apiece, with Dillon fumbling twice and losing one.

Wide Receivers

Allen Lazard 51, Davante Adams 48, Randall Cobb 35, Equanimeous St. Brown 12, Amari Rodgers 4

The Packers’ passing game was much more evenly distributed in this game, as Adams, Lazard, and Cobb all had between 4 and 7 targets. Adams caught six passes for 76 yards and the touchdown on the opening drive, while Cobb caught three of four targets for 22 yards. Lazard’s contributions in the passing game came entirely on the go-ahead touchdown drive just before halftime, catching five passes for 60 yards and the touchdown.

St. Brown was targeted once without a reception, but he did add 13 yards on a jet sweep.

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan 38, Marcedes Lewis 21, Josiah Deguara 11, Tyler Davis 1

Finally, Tonyan had a game reminiscent of his 2020 season after struggling to carve out a role in the passing game for much of this season. He caught four of five targets for 64 yards and a touchdown, his first since week two and just his second on the season.

Lewis continued to pitch in on play-action, with three receptions for 31 yards and a handful of forced broken tackles.

Offensive Linemen

Elgton Jenkins 56, Jon Runyan, Jr. 56, Lucas Patrick 56, Royce Newman 56, Billy Turner 56

With Josh Myers out and David Bakhtiari not yet back, the Packers rolled out the same line that played most of last week’s game, and all five players stayed intact throughout the game. After halftime, they handled the pass rush from Washington well, not allowing a sack after the break.

DEFENSE (72 total plays)

Defensive Linemen

Kenny Clark 60, Dean Lowry 42, Kingsley Keke 42, Tyler Lancaster 18, T.J. Slaton 7

Clark continues to play significant snaps, and this week’s heavy workload could be a problem with a short week before Thursday’s game in Arizona. Still, he was a consistent force as usual, even if a single QB hit was his only appearance on the stat sheet.

Lowry and Keke had nice games against some backups on the Washington offensive line, as Keke recorded 1.5 sacks and Lowry had another half. Lowry also recovered a fumble forced by Rashan Gary early in the second half, and the two combined for 11 total tackles.

Outside Linebackers

Rashan Gary 51, Jonathan Garvin 43, Whitney Mercilus 31, Ladarius Hamilton 12

With Preston Smith missing a game due to injury for the first time in his career, it was Gary and Garvin getting the start in this contest. Gary was a beast all game long, as he totaled seven tackles, four QB hits, and two sacks, including a sack-strip of Taylor Heinicke on the second play of the second half.

Garvin had one hit on Heinicke and a single tackle, but it was Mercilus’ playing time that was a bit of a surprise. Without even a full week of practice, he was on the field for close to half of the Packers’ snaps and gave the team some useful reps, even if he did not record a tackle or QB hit.

Inside Linebackers

De’Vondre Campbell 72, Krys Barnes 17, Jaylon Smith 10, Oren Burks 9

What more can you say about Campbell at this point? He had another exceptional game on Sunday, totaling 13 tackles and forcing a pair of fumbles, including one on Heinicke that likely prevented a touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Campbell continues to thrive as the Packers’ every-down linebacker, and should absolutely be in Pro Bowl and All-Pro consideration after seven games. Those forced fumbles were his first of the season, but his fourth and fifth turnover plays this year, after a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The Packers continued to rotate their other inside linebackers next to him, with Barnes, Smith, and Burks all getting limited situational action.

Safeties

Adrian Amos 72, Darnell Savage 72, Henry Black 17

Savage playing every snap was a relief this week after he suffered a concussion a week ago that knocked him out of the game against the Bears. He finished the game with six tackles and a pass breakup, but he left a few plays on the field, including a ball that went off his hands and a missed tackle on Terry McLaurin that ended up as a big play. Amos, meanwhile, broke up a pair of passes — including one on fourth-and-goal from the three in the third quarter — to go with six solo tackles. Black continued to play a handful of snaps as a third safety/linebacker, recording a pair of tackles plus a third stop on special teams.

Cornerbacks

Eric Stokes 72, Chandon Sullivan 61, Rasul Douglas 58, Isaac Yiadom 14, Shemar Jean-Charles 12

Although the Packers allowed over 100 receiving yards to McLaurin in this game, it was not the fault of any cornerback in particular. Instead, all three of the Packers’ top corners largely played well.

With a pass breakup and a forced fumble, Douglas even earned the Packers’ highest grade in this game from Pro Football Focus, coming in with an 88.3, a tenth of a point higher than Campbell. That, combined with Stokes’ fellow top-five defensive grade, is a great sign for the Packers’ ability to cope with absences to Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, and illustrates what a great pickup he has been already in just two gams.

That doesn’t even touch on Sullivan, who recorded an interception in the end zone to seal the Packers’ third consecutive red zone stop. The Packers will need all of these players to continue their recent strong play on Thursday against Arizona’s explosive receiving corps.

SPECIAL TEAMS SNAP LEADERS

Burks 14, Deguara 14, Ty Summers 14, Barnes 13, Yiadom 13, Black 12, Mason Crosby 10, Jean-Charles 10