The Green Bay Packers were placed in an unenviable position during Week 2, a reality that led to a gut-wrenching loss.
With Aaron Jones, Christian Watson and David Bakhtiari all inactive, the Atlanta Falcons dominated the fourth quarter to earn a 25-24 comeback victory. While the finish was certainly concerning, there were still several positive developments for the Packers, particularly on offense.
The rookie duo of wide receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks looked the part within Matt LaFleur's offense throughout this narrow defeat.
While Jordan Love deserves a ton of credit for how sharp he was, especially during the first three quarters, he wouldn't have been able to find success without these rookies' ability to step up.
Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks deliver for Packers in Week 2
With Romeo Doubs still dealing with a nagging injury, Reed was tasked with being the team's de facto No. 1 wideout. He responded with vigor, totaling two touchdowns and four receptions on the day.
His first score saw him convert on a jet sweep, sprinting 12 yards into the end zone to place his squad ahead 7-3.
This play type is one LaFleur and his staff have been trying to get off the ground, but someone like Allen Lazard never quite fit the mold. In Reed, the team finally has a player who can shift gears in the blink of an eye.
The Michigan State product added a second touchdown near the end of the third quarter after Love connected with him on a pass out of play-action.
Reed's quickness was his calling card in college, and he's already displayed it through two contests. But he wasn't the only newcomer who stood out prior to the fourth quarter stagnation.
Wicks, a fifth-round draft choice, also began making a name for himself by weaponizing his mix of size and speed throughout the afternoon.
On the Packers' first play of the game, Love uncorked a heave down the field in Wicks' direction. The Virginia product maneuvered himself to draw a pass interference penalty and grant his team optimal field position.
Though the Packers didn't score on that opening drive, it was a taste of things to come for Wicks' usage.
During the third quarter, Love zeroed in on "Don Wick" once again. The QB connected with the 6-4 receiver, who then shook off an Atlanta defender after the catch to reach the end zone on a 32-yard score.
This put Green Bay in the driver's seat, 17-9, although that lead would soon crumble. Nonetheless, it's notable how involved Wicks has been across his first two games.
In Week 1, he played the most snaps out of any Packers wideout and followed that up by catching his first two NFL passes against the Falcons.
Unfortunately, Reed and Wicks' efforts weren't rewarded with a win. With little run support behind Love's passing clinic, Green Bay's offense ran out of gas just as the Falcons' caught fire.
Now 1-1, Green Bay should be feeling confident in what it can achieve this year. Once Jones, Watson, and Doubs return to full health, Love will have three dangerous weapons at his disposal.
Yet, the rookies have proven this young offense has more capable playmakers than many would've expected. That type of depth will go a long way toward helping the Packers make a swift return to the postseason following last year's disappointment.