The Green Bay Packers couldn’t overcome three interceptions by Jordan Love including one in the final minute as they lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 17-13. The Packers made too many mistakes to overcome although it was a close game all the way. The loss dropped the Packers to 2-3 on the season while the Raiders improved to 2-3. Here are 10 things we learned from the Packers loss to the Raiders:
First Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Jordan Love Struggled to Throw Downfield
The Packers passing game struggled to get the ball downfield. Except for a 77-yard pass to Christian Watson, Love did not complete a pass for more than 20 yards all game.
There were some dropped passes, but the Packers offense just made too many mistakes when trying to throw downfield. Whether it was shoddy blocking, dropped passes or poor throws, the intermediate and long passing game was out of sync for most of the night and it kept the offense from sustaining drives. They also converted only 4-of-12 third down chances.
Besides the long pass to Watson, the Packers had only 98 net yards passing for the rest of the game. That’s not enough to sustain an effective offense in the modern NFL.
Second Thing We Learned: The Packers Injuries Continue to Mount
The Packers started this game without Aaron Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. During the game, the defense lost two more starters in the first half. First, Quay Walker went down with a knee injury. Then, Darnell Savage suffered a calf injury and did not return.
Not having these starters helped tire out the defense and made them vulnerable in the middle of the field. Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson filled in at ILB and were first and third on the team in tackles but they’re not as good as Campbell and Walker.
The Packers have a bye next week and hope their injured players will be able to return in two weeks.
Third Thing We Learned: The Packers Couldn’t Stop Maxx Crosby
Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby was a force in this game. The former Eastern Michigan star sacked Love once but created pressure throughout the game. He was officially credited with five total tackles including four tackles for loss and one quarterback hit.
The Packers tried to chip him with tight ends once it was apparent early that Rasheed Walker had his hands full with Crosby, but the Packers couldn’t consistently contain him.
Crosby’s strong play was one reason Green Bay’s downfield passing attack never got untracked.
Fourth Thing We Learned: A.J. Dillon Looked Better
A.J. Dillon was the team’s number one back in this game and he looked better. Matt LaFleur committed to the running game early in each half and when the team ran the football it worked efficiently but not spectacularly.
Dillon was more authoritative to the hole and didn’t go down as easily on first contact. He finished the game with 76 yards on 20 carries and scored the Packers only touchdown.
As a team, the Pack gained 110 yards rushing on 25 carries although 37 of those yards were by the quarterback. Love gained 26 yards on one play which was the Packers longest run of the game.
Fifth Thing We Learned: The Packers Got Pressure on the QB
The Packers defense also earned six quarterback hits and had eight tackles for loss.
Overall, the defense played well enough to win, holding the Raiders to 279 total yards and 17 points. That should be enough to win most games.
Sixth Thing We Learned: The Defense Contained Davante Adams
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry had a variety of formations and coverages to contain former Packers wideout Davante Adams. Most of them worked although Adams made his biggest gain of the game when the defense had Preston Smith covering him which was a definite mismatch.
In the first half, Adams had just one catch for 12 yards. For the game, he had four catches for 45 yards with a long of 21 yards.
At times, the Packers had double coverage on Adams and linebackers and defensive linemen were instructed to get into the passing lane to prevent an easy completion.
Jaire Alexander was matched up with Adams only a handful of times, but the variety of coverages got the job done and Adams was not a major factor for the Raiders offense.
Seventh Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Rudy Ford Had a Pick For the 2nd Straight Game
Packers safety Rudy Ford intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo on the opening drive of the third quarter. That led to the Packers only touchdown of the game on Dillon’s five-yard run.
This was the second consecutive game Ford had an interception and it was a big momentum swing at the time.
Ford needs one more pick to equal his career high of three in a season which he set last year with the Packers.
Eighth Thing We Learned: The Packers Offense Lacks an Identity
LaFleur’s play calling was inconsistent. Early in each half, he ran the ball often but then got away from the run in the second quarter of the game. He set up some effective passes by scheming receivers open and running different plays out of the same formation to confuse the defense.
At other times, he called the wrong play for important situations. Too often, he went to short passes in the flat on third and long and failed to pick up the first down.
This offense lacks an identity right now and it truly misses its best running back in Jones. Without his dynamic playmaking ability, LaFleur seems to be at a loss when it comes to figuring out what this offense is supposed to be.
Ninth Thing We Learned: Jordan Love Is Still Learning
Love threw three interceptions although one of them was on a tipped ball that wasn’t his fault. Still, the first pick by Robert Spillane was inexcusable. The ball was underthrown, and the receiver was surrounded by three defensive players.
The Packers first-year starter struggled to throw downfield and to sustain drives. The learning process will continue for the former Utah State star, but this was not one of his better passing games.
Tenth Thing We Learned: The Packers Are an Inconsistent Team Right Now
This young team continues to play inconsistent football. On offense, the young receivers drop some passes and are not always running the right routes. Without Jones, the offense lacks dynamism especially when the offensive line can’t protect well enough to give Love time to throw deep to Watson.
Defensively, injuries are hurting this team with both inside linebackers and one starting safety out of the lineup. The Packers hope they can get healthy after the bye.
This is a chance for this team to regroup, self-scout and get back to playing more consistent football in Week 7.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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