The Green Bay Packers got back on track Sunday with a grind-it-out 17-0 victory over the visiting Seattle Seahawks. Now sitting at an impressive 8-2 on the year, the Packers find themselves on cruise control in the NFC North (still having more total wins than the entire North combined).
This game was won on the back of the Packers defense. Everyone around Wisconsin collectively owes Joe Barry an apology, because he has this defense playing at an incredibly high level.
In fact, this was Green Bay’s first defensive shutout since 2018 – and just the second in the last decade. Seattle was only able to muster up 208 yards of total offense on a mere 3.5 yards per play – and force two turnovers (both interceptions). In short, the Packers defense was suffocating all night long.
The offense was less impressive and appeared to be understandably disjointed. They were however, efficient on third downs (7/14), won the turnover battle, and dominated the time of possession (39:09 to 20:51).
So, without further ado, after a re-watch of the game, here are my five takeaways from the week ten win over Seattle.
Aaron Rodgers looked rusty
Understandably so, Aaron Rodgers looked the part of someone who played a game after weeks of not practicing.
Rodgers had moments where he was uncharacteristically inaccurate and even under-threw a couple of balls, most notably to MVS on a play that could have been a touchdown. He was also responsible for the Packers’ only turnover on an ill-advised throw in the end-zone that was intercepted.
Aaron Rodgers failed to connect on passes beyond 10+ yards down field, completing just 2/8 passes.
I have absolutely no concern about Rodgers’ long-term ability to perform – he’s still on the short list for best in the business – it was just a game where 12 looked rusty due to not having practiced.
Packers have a problem at tight end
I’m still not quite sure if people understand how big the loss of ‘Big Bob’ Tonyan was. It was pretty evident on Sunday because the production from the Packers’ tight end room was anemic at best.
‘Big Dog’ is a move-lineman and that’s a role he’s great at. But beyond him, there have been some problems. Allen Lazard has failed to step up despite being an almost ideal candidate to soften the blow.
Then there is second-year tight end, Josiah Deguara. I can acknowledge that he’s coming off a torn ACL, but at this point in the season, he still looks like a player coming off of a torn ACL. He has not played well this season, and it was apparent that he made some mistakes in terms of assignments on Sunday.
If he’s unable to get up to speed in a hurry, Deguara is going to begin sitting on the pine in favor of expanded roles for Dominique Dafney and recently-signed Tyler Davis.
Tight end is an important position in this offense, and in theory they have some versatile players at the position. However, nobody has stepped up to the plate yet and it’s becoming worrisome.
Kenny Clark is elite
Despite not carrying the name recognition of some of the league’s elite defensive linemen, Kenny Clark’s name certainly should be.
On Sunday, the Pro Bowl nose tackle wrecked havoc on Seattle’s offensive line all game long – and was credited with eight total hurries. Pretty darn impressive for a player often asked to take on double teams to free up other pass-rushers to make plays. He both does the dirty work, and puts up numbers.
As it stands, Kenny Clark is third in the NFL in hurries (33), and 13th in total pressures (39). He’s been fantastic all season long, and at just 26 years old, the best is likely yet to come.
Eric Stokes was spectacular on Sunday
As you well know, most rookie corners simply aren’t very good. Eric Stokes has had his ups and downs, which was to be expected – but on Sunday, Stokes turned in arguably the best game of his young career.
The former Georgia star pitched a shutout (zero catches allowed – five targets), but looked even better doing it. Stokes showed great technique (kudos to Jerry Gray) against a strong set of Seattle receivers, and used his high-end speed to match his opposition step for step downfield. Stokes’ hips looked fluid and even showed well in short areas, which was a question mark coming out.
Yes, there is still plenty of season left, but the first-round draft pick appears to be a really nice selection by GM Brian Gutekunst.
The back-end of the defense is playing at an incredibly high level
The Packers have improved on all three levels of their defense this season, but the safety pairing has been playing some of their best ball of late.
Adrian Amos has been nothing short of fantastic this season, and was arguably the Packers’ best player on the field Sunday. He simply doesn’t make mistakes. Amos’ ability to handle any assignment allows Darnell Savage to play the game at 100 MPH. Amos had three pass deflections and an interception.
As for Darnell Savage, he’s played his two best games of the season in back to back weeks.
Something appears to have clicked for Savage that has now allowed the former first-round pick to perform like the play-maker he was selected to be. Savage’s impressive closing speed and ability to get downhill and make plays make him one of the most exciting players on the entire defense. Really encouraging play from the third-year safety of late.