A raucous Lambeau field crowd was quieted early as the Packer defense started Monday night’s game like they were back in Jacksonville. But Aaron Rodgers and the offense came to play and with a solid run game and some passes that threaded the tiniest of needles, the Packers took control in the second half. Aaron Jones 4 TD night was impressive. The Packers offense relied on a solid ground game and the defense found a couple of turnovers thanks to Detroit’s newest QB acquisition, Jared Goff.
Last week, the offensive line was frustrated by the Saints. On Monday night, the young trio of Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Jon Runyan consistently opened holes big enough for Aaron Jones to slither through. Rodgers had a QB rating of 145.6 and Aaron Jones ran for 67 yards for a 3.9 average. That may not sound like great numbers for Jones but his long run was only nine yards. Almost every run was for positive yardage. Ruynan was especially impressive. A number of times he pancaked his opponent into the ground and he showed surprising burst while solidly sealing the edge when the Packers pulled him down the line. The offense did give up three sacks but all of them were on plays where Aaron held the ball.
The defense… is still a work in progress. Kevin King and Eric Stokes had some major communication issues. The rookie is in a boom or bust learning curve. The good news is the more he played the better he looked. King still looks too slow, both vertically and laterally to be effective against top tier talent. The Packers need Stokes to learn quickly. Edge contain was a repeated problem but the entire defense seemed to ramp up and were attacking more once the offense secured a lead.
Special Teams play was adequate. For the Packers, words like adequate describing their special teams is a huge improvement from prior descriptive vocabulary used to summarize the Packers third phase. Solid punting, one good kick return, one bad coverage. Call it a draw.
If you are a Packer fan you must have a feeling of relief with this 35-17 win. Rodgers made some incredible throws. If you watched the game with the Manning brothers commentary, not only did you get to hear from Brett Favre, you were able to hear HOF quarterbacks gushing at the pinpoint accuracy of Rodgers on his TD throw to Robert Tonyan. Hearing Peyton Manning say he is jealous of Rodgers ability to throw was a classic moment.
The Lions are not the Saints or the 49ers, but they are in the Packer’s conference. The best news is every fan saw improvement in the Packers. The ship is no longer listing. But the voyage has just begun. Next up, the San Jose 49ers.