This one definitely falls under the win is a win category. The Green Bay Packers dodged the bullet of giving the winless Cleveland Browns their first victory of the season.
In the process, they kept their playoff hopes alive courtesy of a 27-21 overtime win, their second in a row.
It wasn’t always pretty and it was no doubt a little too close for comfort, but it’s done and now it looks like it’s time for Aaron Rodgers’ return.
Let’s round this one out.
Jamaal Williams Over Aaron Jones
As we expected, the Green Bay Packers primarily used only one running back. That guy was Jamaal Williams and not Aaron Jones. Williams didn’t do much on the ground, rushing 15 times for 49 yards, an average of 3.3 per carry. However, he did catch seven balls for 69 yards and a touchdown. Jones, meanwhile, had just four carries and had negative two yards on the ground. The theory is Williams is better in pass protection and thus the reason he gets the carries. Barring injury, it looks like that will be the pecking order moving forward.
Matthews On a Tear
Clay Matthews didn’t start this season very well. He had just 2.5 sacks in his first nine games. Matthews now has 7.5. Obviously, he’s been on a tear lately, notching five sacks in the last three games. Matthews is once again making plays, but he needs some help in that department. Nick Perry’s absence was obvious on Sunday, as the Packers registered just two total sacks. In addition to Matthews, Kyler Fackrell had the other. That’s not going to be good enough down the stretch run.
Dink And Dunk
The Green Bay Packers had to employ the dink and dunk passing game at times in 2016. It showed up again against the Browns. Brett Hundley finished with 265 yards and three touchdowns, but it took him 46 passes to get there. Another way to look at is by looking at the Packers receivers. Not one of them averaged more than 10 yards per catch. Davante Adams came closest at 8.4 yards per reception. The Packers’ best receiver in terms of average was running back Jamaal Williams at 9.9.
What To Make of the Line?
The Green Bay Packers offensive line gave up just one sack against Cleveland. That wasn’t even necessarily their fault. The play design, a rollout by Hundley put him right in the face of the oncoming rusher and was blown up before it had a shot. Then again, don’t let that guy get so much penetration, right? I’m still not sold on the idea that the line is playing well despite the single sack. First, they were playing the Browns, who obviously don’t have much talent. Second, the nature of the passing game — quick and short throws is going to mask any issues on the line. Throw in the fact that the Packers averaged just 3.1 yards per rush as a team and it looks like a mirage.
Trevor Davis Strikes Again
I was talking during the game about how I thought Trevor Davis was decent as a kick returner, but never did anything on punts. Then of course he ripped off a 65-yard punt return. Davis was impressive as a kick returner in the win over the Buccaneers. He turned in one of the biggest plays of the day against the Browns. Maybe the Packers finally have something in Davis as a returner.