The Packers won again, and we’ve got three takeaways.
The Green Bay Packers are for real. Any doubts about this team’s potential were put to bed on Sunday night as they won a shootout against the New Orleans Saints.
Wins against the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions were impressive, but to back that up with a road win in the Superdome shows just how talented this team is.
With the Packers winning a close game, Matt LaFleur’s team has made another fast start to the season. In 19 regular season games as head coach, LaFleur is 16-3.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. Breakout game for Allen Lazard
The Packers needed one of their young pass-catchers to step up with Davante Adams unable to play. Allen Lazard did that and then some, with a career-best 146 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
Two of those receptions were deep shots downfield. The first was a 45-yard catch which set up a touchdown, also caught by Lazard. The second came on the opening possession of the third quarter, a beautiful 72-yard connection with Aaron Rodgers. Lazard stumbled and fell just short of the end zone; he deserved a touchdown for the play. Aaron Jones ran it in moments later.
Lazard is making the Packers look good for not drafting a wide receiver this past offseason. In just three games, Lazard has over half of his 2019 receiving yards and is only one touchdown behind last season’s total.
Lazard is a playmaker and a great number two receiver in this offense.
2. Jaire Alexander dominates
Far from a great evening for the defense, who gave up just under 400 yards of offense and 30 points to the Saints, but that doesn’t include Jaire Alexander, who was phenomenal.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Drew Brees only targeted Alexander two times on 38 coverage snaps. That proved to be a good decision, as Alexander allowed only one reception for minus-two yards.
Alexander was one of about 100 defenders who missed a tackle on Alvin Kamara’s 52-yard touchdown catch, but it was a rare mistake in a near-perfect performance for the talented third-year cornerback. Alexander made three tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass defense, and came close to a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter.
A dominant performance from the Packers’ number one cornerback.
3. Hello, Kingsley Keke
Another defensive player who stood out was second-year defensive tackle Kingsley Keke. The Packers desperately need one of their young defensive linemen to step up this season, especially while Kenny Clark is out, and Keke did that on Sunday night.
Keke made some key plays in the game, finishing with two sacks, two quarterback hits, two tackles, a pass defense, and he forced a fumble on one of the sacks, which the Saints recovered.
On an otherwise tough evening for the defense, Keke was one of the standout performers and made some important plays at key moments in the game. The Packers should be excited about their young defensive tackle, especially when he’s lined up next to Clark.