Ever since Jordy Nelson went out prior to the 2015 season, Green Bay has struggled with finding consistent effectiveness with deep passes.
Prior to 2015, Aaron Rodgers had seen only two seasons since he became Green Bay’s starting quarterback where his average yards per attempt were under 8.00 yards per game (one of which was his first season as starter, at 7.53 YPA). Since 2015 started however, he has failed to even reach 7 yards per attempt for either season so far, averaging a mere 6.40 yards per attempt in the 24 games (including playoffs) in that time and only going over 8.00 YPA in one of those contests.
That is a problem the team still needs to figure out — through better play in that aspect from both their quarterback and his receivers — but while it it still a major issue, the Packers can still find some level of success if they do well in other facets of their offense.
One of those is the quick passing game, and on Thursday night they proved just how effective that can be.
Of Rodgers’ 56 passes on the night, Rodgers managed to get 34 of them out within 2.5 seconds of the snap; on those throws, about 80 percent of these were completed (for a 117.4 passer rating on those throws).
With his overall accuracy being one of multiple recent areas of struggle, this played a huge part in helping both himself (he completed nearly 70% of his total passes despite the 2nd-highest number of pass attempts in his career, and his 39 completions were the best he’s ever managed in a single game) and the offense at-large find and hold onto a rhythm.
Due to that rhythm, we saw this become the first game since their victory in the NFC Divisional Round playoff game against Dallas in 2014 (and first regular season contest since a win over New England in Week 13 of that season) where Green Bay managed to not have a single 3-&-Out.
Remember as well, this happened with a running game that is down to a two wide receivers, a little-used fullback, and a former 4th-string runner acquired mid-week being the only healthy options available for carries.
This type of quick-hitting gameplan may not be a sustainable long-term answer for the offense, but with the running game unlikely to be a focal point due to injuries and the current lack of deep ball success, the Packers will likely have to continue to thrive with it to have a chance at any form of consistent offensive production.
The Bears may not be a great barometer to judge success on, but with the way Green Bay has performed for most of the past two years, anything that shows signs of success is progress worth trying to invest in.