That’s all that David Bakhtiari took off on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots. One week after alternating drives with Yosh Nijman, Bakhtiari was on the field for all but one second-quarter series, taking the field for every play after halftime.
Although he still may not be playing quite up to his own expectations, Bakhtiari looks effective and solid in pass protection, a great sign as he continues to work back towards full strength and, more importantly, full confidence. Instead, it was his counterpart on the right side, Elgton Jenkins, who seemed to struggle in his third straight start at right tackle.
Defensively, the Packers had to make a change early in the secondary. Already down cornerback Jaire Alexander, the team saw Adrian Amos leave the game in the first quarter with an apparent concussion. The answer to the question of “who is the Packers’ primary backup safety” evidently is Rudy Ford, who took Amos’ place and generally was not a liability.
Let’s look at all the snap counts from Sunday’s game, as we find a lot of Pony package and base defense as additional takeaways.
OFFENSE (73 total plays)
Aaron Rodgers 73
It was a game of two halves for Rodgers, who generally stunk (outside of his very first throw) in the first half but turned back into his normal self after the break. Rodgers had a passer rating of just 11.2 before halftime but 124.8 over the second half and overtime. He finished the game 21-for-35 for 251 yards, two scores, and an interception.
Aaron Jones 45, AJ Dillon 42
The Packers used a massive amount of their Pony package in this game, but finally started throwing in some new wrinkles to get their running backs going. 70-yard mark for the first time this season, with Jones gaining 110 yards on 16 carries and Dillon getting 73 yards on 17 carries. The two players were very lightly used in the passing game, however, combining for just five targets, four catches, and 16 yards.
Romeo Doubs 70, Allen Lazard 70, Randall Cobb 25, Christian Watson 18
With so much Pony on Sunday, the Packers were in 11 personnel quite a bit less than usual, leading to fewer snaps for players other than their starters on the perimeter. As a result, Lazard and Doubs tied for the team lead with 8 targets apiece. Lazard was responsible for a handful of explosive plays, finishing with six catches for 116 yards. That was his biggest game since a 146-yard day in New Orleans about two years ago, which was also the last time he averaged more than 17 yards per reception in a game with three or more catches.
Meanwhile, Doubs fumbled on the Packers’ second play and didn’t see another target for the rest of the first half, but was a frequent target afterwards, catching five passes for 35 yards and a score. He couldn’t haul in a beautiful ball from Rodgers for a potential go-ahead touchdown late in the game, but he added a couple of big catches in overtime to help set up the game-winning field goal.
Cobb continued to be his usual third-down presence, with two catches — both converting third downs. Meanwhile, Watson was targeted three times, catching one ball on a pop pass, but he made his impact early on a jet sweep, which saw him score his first career touchdown.
Robert Tonyan 32, Marcedes Lewis 31, Tyler Davis 21, Josiah Deguara 11
Tonyan’s first touchdown of the season came on a 20-yard seam route up the middle, as that put Green Bay back in front early in the third quarter. However, the tight ends combined for just two other targets for the entire game.
Jon Runyan, Jr., 73, Josh Myers 73, Royce Newman 73, Elgton Jenkins 73, David Bakhtiari 70, Yosh Nijman 3
After a week of alternating at left tackle with Nijman, Bakhtiari played almost the entire game, coming out for just one series, a quick three-and-out in the second quarter. Otherwise, he played every snap of the game and generally looked like his normal self, aside from one holding penalty on the first drive of the second half. That could be a continued planned ramp-up for Bakhtiari, or it may have been out of necessity, with Nijman coming down with an illness on Saturday.
The biggest issue in pass protection on Sunday was actually Jenkins at right tackle, as he struggled mightily and gave up the only sack of the game. He still does not look comfortable at right tackle, whether due to discomfort in his repaired knee discomfort with the position.
Otherwise, the line paved the way for a 199-yard rushing day for the Packers, their second game with that many yards this season (203 against the Bears in week 2) after never eclipsing 175 last season.
DEFENSE (58 total plays)
Kenny Clark 50, Jarran Reed 41, Dean Lowry 40, T.J. Slaton 14, Devonte Wyatt 5
The Packers played a substantial amount of base defense in this game, with almost half of the snaps coming with three down linemen on the field. That was probably to be expected with New England playing a third-string quarterback and trying to focus on the ground game. Of course, the Patriots had plenty of success with the run even despite the Packers going with bigger personnel on defense, totaling 167 yards.
In a stunning turn on the stat sheet, Reed actually led the Packers in tackles on Sunday with eight. One of those was a sack, but it was a clean-up sack with the Packers having great pass coverage and Rashan Gary’s deep rush pushing Bailey Zappe back up into Reed. Clark finished with six tackles of his own, while Lowry had five including a half-sack that he split with Preston Smith.
Preston Smith 49, Rashan Gary 43, Jonathan Garvin 13, JJ Enagbare 11
Gary was a beast in the first half, posting a pair of sacks, one of which resulted in a fumble that he forced and recovered from Zappe just after the two-minute warning. He finished with 7 tackles on the day in total, however, as the Patriots ran at him regularly and forced him to make plays in the run game. Smith had three tackles and a half-sack. Garvin had one solid pass rush early that resulted in a QB hit, but he was largely quiet otherwise. Finally, Enagbare had an impressive rep against left tackle Trent Brown on Gary’s second sack:
Obviously, this is a freak show play by Gary, but check out Enagbare sonning Trent Brown pic.twitter.com/Ygylu62ziH— Ross Uglem (@RossUglem) October 3, 2022
De’Vondre Campbell 58, Quay Walker 50
With the Packers in base consistently, they played both Campbell and Walker together for most of the game, only pulling Walker off the field a handful of times when they went into their “Penny” nickel front. The two backers each posted seven total tackles, with Walker having the only TFL among the pair, a two-yard loss on a run in the second quarter.
Walker continues to look good closing on the football in space, but navigating through and around blocks remains a challenge for him.
Darnell Savage 58, Rudy Ford 44, Adrian Amos 14
The Packers saw Amos leave the game on the second defensive series, as he suffered an apparent concussion making a tackle for loss on a pass to running back Damien Harris. His absence brought Rudy Ford on as the backup safety, and he matched the linebackers with seven total tackles in the game.
Savage had his own TFL as well, knifing through blockers to take down receiver Nelson Agholor for a loss.
Rasul Douglas 58, Eric Stokes 58, Keisean Nixon 31, Shemar Jean-Charles 1
The counts for Nixon and Jean-Charles show that the Packers ran 30 snaps of nickel and one snap of dime defense in this game. Douglas had a TFL to join the starting safeties, recording his on the opening drive to force a 3rd-and-long. That was one of just three tackles he made in the game, while Stokes had five.
All told, the Packers’ secondary gave up just 136 passing yards on 21 pass attempts. The only disappointing factors were that those yards came on a couple of wide-open chunk plays and that that the DBs did not get their hands on a football, as the Packers recorded no pass defenses in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Tyler Davis 26, Dallin Leavitt 24, Tipa Galeai 21, Isaiah McDuffie 21, Keisean Nixon 21, Rasul Douglas 16, Shemar Jean-Charles 16, Amari Rodgers 13, Josiah Deguara 12, Jonathan Garvin 11, Patrick Taylor 11