The Green Bay Packers were outplayed in all three phases of the game and fell to the New York Jets 27-10 at Lambeau Field. It was the first time a Matt LaFleur-coached Packers team lost two straight regular season games in the same season.
The loss drops the Packers to 3-3 on the season while the Jets improved to 4-2. The Packers are now two games out of first place in the NFC North.
Here is a look at 10 things we learned from the Packers 27-10 loss to the Jets:
- Aaron Rodgers Played Poorly
Aaron Rodgers came into this game with an injured thumb suffered on the final play of the Giants game. It kept him out of practice on Wednesday but he played without taping it and without a brace of any kind.
It was obvious from his first attempt of the day that Rodgers was not as accurate as he normally was. His passes just dipped and fluttered off course. The rain and wet conditions certainly didn’t help.
In the game, Rodgers completed 26-of-41 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. He never looked in command except for the final drive of the first half which led to a field goal.
His deep throws were particularly erratic and he completed just one pass of 20-or-more yards all game, a 35 yarder to Allen Lazard.
The Packers need more from Rodgers if they hope to make this a successful season.
- The Offensive Line Faltered
Another reason for Rodgers’ struggles was he rarely had time to throw the football. Elgton Jenkins struggled again after playing a better game in London against the Giants. He took untimely penalties and had communications issues with right guard Royce Newman.
Newman was benched for Jake Hanson for part of the third quarter and also had a subpar game.
The Jets sacked Rodgers four times and were credited with nine quarterback hits. Quinnen Williams had two sacks and 14 total tackles in a dominant performance.
The offensive line also failed to open holes for the running game in a poor overall performance.
- The Packers Special Teams Regressed
The special teams were also subpar on Sunday. The Packers had a field goal blocked and a punt blocked. The punt was returned 20 yards for a touchdown to put the Jets ahead 17-3. That was a key momentum changer in this game and the Packers never fully recovered.
The punt and kick return coverage weren’t very good either although a penalty helped make the numbers look better by the end of the game.
The only bright spots were two punts downed inside the 20 by Pat O’Donnell and Keisean Nixon’s 32-yard punt return. Amari Rodgers was nothing special on punt returns but he was more decisive and didn’t fumble so that’s progress.
The Packers did block a punt but failed to take advantage of it and didn’t score on the ensuing drive despite getting great field position.
- The Running Game Never Got Going
As a team, the Packers gained just 60 yards on 20 carries or just three yards per rush. Neither A.J. Dillon nor Aaron Jones had a strong game in the rain and neither back had many holes to run through.
Jones barely saw the ball in the first half and had three carries for zero yards before the intermission.
The Packers need to run the football to be successful on offense and in this game, they just never established the run. That made it easier for the Jets to rush the passer because the Packers found themselves in second and third and long situations so often throughout the game.
- Injuries Are Mounting at Wide Receiver
The Packers entered this game shorthanded at wide receiver and it only got worse before the game ended. In an emotional moment, Randall Cobb was carted off to the locker room from the sideline after suffering an apparent ankle injury. This could be Cobb’s last game at Lambeau Field if the injury proves to be serious. We will wait for an update later this week.
The Packers are already without Sammy Watkins who is on injured reserve and Christian Watson who suffered a hamstring injury and was inactive.
By the end of the game, the team was relying on Amari Rodgers and Juwann Winfree to run patterns. Neither gained much separation. Amari Rodgers finished with one catch for 14 yards while Winfree dropped his only target.
After losing Cobb, Aaron Rodgers felt the only wide receivers he could count on were Lazard and to a lesser extent, Romeo Doubs.
- The Defense Played Well Until It Mattered
The Jets gained only 278 yards all game. In the first half, the Packers defense allowed just three points, three first downs and 80 total yards. The Jets were 0-for-7 on third downs in the first half and just 1-for-11 for the game.
But in the second half, the defense allowed the Jets to score on their final three drives (besides the final possession which the Jets just ran out the clock).
After the Packers scored their only touchdown to pull to within 17-10, the Jets scored on a five-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with a 34-yard touchdown run by Breece Hall. The Packers tackling was sloppy on the drive and the defense seemed to tire later in the game.
Still, the defense allowed 278 yards and 20 points in this game and that should be good enough to win most games in the NFL. They just didn’t come through when the game was on the line.
- The Defense Did Play More Aggressively
The Packers did play a more aggressive brand of defense for most of the game and overall, it was successful. The Packers played less passive zone defenses that gave the Jets a lot of cushion off the snap.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry also utilized Jaire Alexander against the Jets best receiver at appropriate times during the game.
The philosophy on defense and good and for the first half, the Packers defense was dominant. At least the flexibility was encouraging.
- Robert Tonyan Is Returning to Form
Tight end Robert Tonyan was Aaron Rodgers’ go-to receiver this week and had his best game of the season.
Tonyan finished with 10 catches for 90 yards on 12 targets. His long catch was only 16 yards, so he’s not getting downfield consistently, but he’s getting open and helping the Packers receiver-challenged offense move the chains.
The former Indiana State star missed the second half of last season with a knee injury and appears to be rounding back into form.
- No Turnovers Forced
For the second straight week, the Packers failed to force a turnover. They didn’t intercept Zach Wilson and forced no fumbles.
This season, the Packers have yet to win the turnover battle in any of their six games. When your offense is struggling, turnovers are a necessity. The defense needs to create some if they hope to win consistently this season.
- This Team Needs An Emotional Pick Me Up
The Packers are frustrated after losing two straight and playing well below expectations nearly every week this year. Aaron Rodgers talked about needing to “simplify” the offense after the game. The team is not in a good place emotionally.
This is a big week for LaFleur to help get his team in the proper mindset to face Washington on Sunday. The Packers have three straight road games coming up and they need to put together some wins if they hope to salvage this season.
This will be a critical week for the Packers and LaFleur needs to have his team ready to play.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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