The Green Bay Packers returned to action after their bye week and defeated the New York Giants 23-16.
Prior to the match-up, everybody expected a high scoring game, but the Packers defense proved many doubters wrong. Without Sam Shields (concussion) and Damarious Randdall (groin), the Packers battered secondary was able to limit Eli Manning to only 199 passing yards.
A big reason the the Packers were able to contain the Giants’ trio of wide receivers, was because of the pressure from the front seven. Manning had very little time to throw the ball, he was flustered and forced to get ride of the ball quickly.
Offensively, Randall Cobb finally had his breakout game. Cobb caught 9 passes for 108 yards and made several big third-down catches to keep the chains moving. Running back Eddie Lacy, also continued to punch through defenses, finishing the game with 11 carries and 81 yards.
A majority of Lacy’s yards came in the first half and he wasn’t able to finish the game because of an ankle injury. Back-up James Stark, continues to struggle and if Lacy is out for the Packers’ next game, they should strongly consider signing another running back.
Overall, how well did the Packers play in the victory?
WDUZ radio host in Green Bay, Marques Eversoll, has all the answers.
Q: What were the biggest adjustments you thought the Packers made coming off of their bye week?
Eversoll: They used more players. On the opening drive of the game, they ate up nearly nine minutes, constantly changing the personnel and mixing the run and pass. That was clearly and emphasis, coming into the game. Defensively, I thought the personnel changes were interesting, too. Five defensive backs were on the field for every single snap, obviously the result of the Giants’ dependence on using three wide receivers. It’s interesting, as the secondary was considered to be a strength of the team, coming into the season. Then, the first three games suggested otherwise. Now, the depth was tested against a pass-first team, and the young guys stepped up.
Q: Early in the game the Packers were mixing up the personnel a ton on the offensive side of the ball, but went away from it in the second half, why the change?
Eversoll: They got away from that just like they’ve consistently ditched Eddie Lacy, seemingly every single week. I feel like I’ve brought up the lack of Lacy after all four games, for one reason or another. It’s like they want to establish that they can run the ball, then prove that they don’t want to run the ball. It’s been choppy on offense, but to me, a lot of that turbulence could be smoothed out by simply giving Lacy more touches. It’s working, but the Packers aren’t sticking with it. I’m not sure if that answers the question about mixing up the personnel, but remind me what James Starks gives the Packers that Eddie Lacy can’t … I’ll wait.
Q: The Packers were without both starting cornerbacks and contained Eli Manning to only 199 yards. What would you attribute the secondary’s success to this past week?
Eversoll: While the secondary has probably underperformed this season, they proved Sunday night that they are pretty deep. Damarious Randall had been getting torched as the No. 1 corner; Stefon Diggs and Marvin Jones both had big days against Randall, respectively. Then — without Randall — the Giants’ explosive offense was kept in check by LaDarius Gunter, Micah Hyde and Quinten Rollins. That speaks volumes to the depth in the secondary, and it might bode well for Gunter, specifically, getting more playing time moving forward. He was the team’s best cornerback against Detroit, too. Also, I (still) think Rollins may end up being a star. He’s had some ups and downs this year, but you have to remember this is his third year playing major football, post-high school … including college. You play four years of basketball at the D1 level, then decide to give football a try. In that one season, you’re the Defensive Player of the Year in your conference, and you’re a second-round draft pick. That’s unreal. I’m not sure anyone truly knows what his ceiling is. If he has one.
Q: Randall Cobb had his best game of the season so far: 9 recs for 108 yards, made several big plays to continue drives. What does a performance like this do for Cobb’s confidence & the Packers offense?
Eversoll: It has to be big for Cobb. It had been a while since Cobb had a night like he had against the Giants. But as far as what it does for Cobb’s confidence, I seriously don’t think that’s an issue. Anyone in that locker room will vouch for Cobb’s work ethic and preparation, and I don’t think he’s ever lost confidence. It’s good to see the Packers have someone who can step up and pick up the slag on nights when the Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson connection isn’t working.
Q: Are you surprised with how well the offensive line is playing without Josh Sitton?
Eversoll: The line played fantastic against the Giants. At the same time, the Giants aren’t good at getting after the quarterback; they only have four sacks all season. Rodgers barely got touched all night, Lacy and Starks had room to run (although Lacy was the only one to, you know, find that room and do anything with it), and overall, they were probably the Packers’ best position unit Sunday night. They dominated the game up front. Nobody is talking about Lane Taylor as a liability, and that’s a good thing. And now we continue to wait on Corey Linsley … And he may be waiting to get back into the lineup. Because the line looks solid.
Q: Aaron Rodgers finished the game completing 23 of 45 for 259 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. How would you evaluate his performance?
Eversoll: He wasn’t great. He was solid. Essentially, it was more of the same from Rodgers. He’ll make just enough plays that make you say, “There’s a two-time MVP,” but throughout the course of the game, he doesn’t really look like a two-time MVP. The throw to Adams for a touchdown was gorgeous. The opening drive was awesome. However, he’s still missing throws that he typically doesn’t miss. That said, it’s Aaron Rodgers. I have this rule that I will never be overly negative about Aaron Rodgers. Because he’s Aaron Rodgers. He’ll figure it out, and the offense will be OK.
Q: Is it time to bring in a punter?
Eversoll: Yes. If you’re a kicker and you’re not making kicks, then they should find someone who will. If you’re a punter and you’re not good at punting, then they should fine someone who is. That’s all I got.