In the first half of Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Packer offense did everything they could in the first half to lose. The game almost started with a pick-six touchdown for the Jets on an unnecessarily low throw from Rodgers to Robert Tonyan. The replay went the Packers way, leaving Green Bay fans ominously thankful for a three and out. The Packers proceeded to go three and out three times to start the game. But, those drives did not include the ugliest part of Green Bay’s first half attempts to score points. If you have ever traveled from Europe and then tried to get up at your regular time the day after returning you could probably relate to this Packer offensive display. They seemed to be a step slow on every play. The offensive line, Rodgers, the running backs, even the receivers Many Packer fans were certain that the first half’s low point was a Crosby blocked field goal that kept the score tied at 0-0. But a new low point emerged when the handoff exchange between Rodgers and A.J. Dillon resulted in a fumble giving the Jets the ball at the Green Bay 34 yard line.
If the Packer offense was still in a jet-lag trance, the defense must have flown back on a different plane from London. The Packer defense had a historically good first half of football. The defense forced five straight punts and then stopped the Jets after the Green Bay fumble put New York at the Packer 34. Both Rashan Gary and Kingsley Enagbare had sacks of the Jets’ Wilson. Enagbare’s was his first NFL sack. The defense’s stop of the Jets and forced field goal could have been a momentum changer for the Packers, but the offense turned the ball over to the Jets on downs on their next drive. The Packer defense kept Green Bay in the game in the first half as the Green and Gold were down 3-0. Unfortunately, the defense’s rugged play faded in the second half allowing two big plays and a touchdown to the Jets early in the third quarter. The first big play was poor coverage by Eric Stokes who gave up a 41 yard deep sideline throw. The next play New York ran an outside run no Packer defender seemed interested in stopping. As the game continued the defense again allowed big gains, the biggest dagger was a 30 yard touchdown run that rookie linebacker Quay Walker failed to diagnose, allowing the Jets running back to run right by him to daylight. The offense tried to rally but they failed. As the Packer 4th quarter offensive drive ended on a failed fourth down, Packer fans then watched the defense literally quit on the field, allowing the Jets to march down to the goal line. An attempted rally at the goal line was thwarted by two big defensive penalties and ultimately was insufficient, allowing the Jets to deliver a field goal for a three score advantage.
The worst part of the defeat was the domination of the Packer offensive line of scrimmage by the Jet defense. The four sacks allowed doesn’t even begin to paint the picture of the Packer failures in the trenches. The inability to run the ball or protect the quarterback occurred on every drive. The Packers only took one offensive snap from scrimmage inside the Jets 20 yard line. Rodgers missed on a number of throws and now his pass catching options are reduced even further as Randall Cobb’s game injury looks serious based on his emotional reaction.
The Packers are 3-3. They are trending down. Two losses in a row, a first for LaFleur, is an unimportant stat. The nature of the last two losses speak to the depths of the Packer’s problems. Their special teams, even with a nice blocked punt, contributed to this loss with a blocked punt allowed that scored a critical touchdown and a blocked field goal attempt. Ten points given away by your special teams is never a winning formula. At the end of this day, the Packers must remember that this is only one game on the stat sheet. It will be up to the team to decide if this was the precipice, or the anomaly. The Washington Commanders await in D.C. next Sunday.
*3rd and 1*