Packers: Red-zone offense, poor defense leads to first loss of season

For a moment, it felt like the 2018 season had returned. The Green Bay Packers’ dominant defense from the opening three weeks was nowhere to be seen, and the offensive struggles in the red zone proved costly.

The Packers have now lost their first game of the year, and it’s one they had every opportunity to win.

Let’s talk about that offense.

There were positives. Aaron Rodgers looked close to his best, throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns against an Eagles secondary struggling with injuries. Unfortunately, his final pass was tipped in the air and intercepted in the end zone.

The negatives started with the run game. Aaron Jones had 13 carries but only managed 21 yards with a touchdown against the Eagles’ defense.

In the end, the red-zone offense wasn’t good enough. Green Bay finished 3-7 in the red zone. They had to settle for field goals twice in the first half. Late in the game, they turned it over on downs despite having four opportunities from the one-yard line. Then on second-and-goal from the two-yard line, Rodgers was picked off to effectively end the game.

To make matters worse, the Packers were without Davante Adams for the final moments of the game as he went down with an injury. Adams had dominated with 10 catches for 180 yards. Jamaal Williams also left the game after a scary injury.

Defensively, this wasn’t a good night. It was the Packers’ toughest test of the season yet up against a talented Eagles offense.

Struggling run defense? That continued. The Packers gave up 176 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Carson Wentz also found life too easy, throwing for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Green Bay’s defense couldn’t make a sack, and in all honestly, it didn’t come all that close very often.

It was a game filled with “what-ifs”. What we now know is that the Packers are 3-1 and have a lot to get right in the next 10 days before visiting Dallas.

Stopping the run will be priority number one against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ offense. Getting healthy will also be important.

The Packers will turn their attention to that game, but they’ll wonder for a while how they didn’t find a way back into this one in the fourth quarter.

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