This Thursday night Lambeau letdown left Green and Gold fans frustrated and the Packers now sit at 4-7 for the 2022 season. Just a few days after watching Aaron Rodgers make crisp passes at critical junctions in Sundays come from behind victory, the wheels fell off the passing offense and defense of the Packers. Ryan Tannehill threw 27 passes and completed all but five of them. Even with an interception, he out performed Aaron Rodgers who lapsed back to earlier season games, seeming to miss receivers on critical downs to end drives. The defense did have a couple of highlights. Rasul Douglass’ interception.
A nice sack by Preston Smith. Stuffing Derrick Henry for no gain on fourth and one. Heck, they held Henry under 90 yards and a 3.1 average with a long run of nine yards. Those are usually games winning numbers against Tennessee because you have forced Tannehill to beat you with his arm. Unfortunately, the safeties and corners mostly played a soft zone that looked like it was drawn up by a Matador. This game the Packer secondary gave up more than just crossing patterns. Short curls and outs were open all night and Tannehill found his receivers for short, medium and long throws, placing the ball accurately again and again.
The Titan first drive of the game set the tone. The Packer’s defense is missing the pass rush skills of Rashan Gary. Their attempts to counter that loss by sending Darnell Savage and other safeties on blitzes continues to fail. The long screen pass to Henry showed just how badly the blitz option hurt the Packers. Green Bay’s soft zone was sometimes so soft Alexander made initial contact and tackles AFTER a first down. The Titans never changed their plan of attack, and the Packers never solved the Titan puzzle. The Titans even executed trick plays to perfection. And when the Titans got close to the goal line, Alexander and others seemed to be making business decisions not to commit to tackling Henry.
The game ended as it started, as the Packers’ Alexander was beaten in one on one coverage by rookie Treylon Burks, the number 18 pick in the 2022 draft. Burks ended his night with seven catches on eight targets for 111 yards. In all the Titans had 337 passing yards. Total yards: 408. First downs: 21 . They left Lambeau with a five minute advantage in time of possession.
The Packers ended with 56 rushing yards on 19 carries for a 2.9 yard average. The Titans linebackers were aggressively attacking the run. The difference in reaction time and penetration when comparing the Titans linebackers to the Packers really stood out. And yet, it was the failed passing defense that really gave the Titans their points.
But even with all the good things the Titans did to win this game, the Packers were within three at 20-17 with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Titans responded with a swagger inducing touchdown drive but the Packers had the ball four more times. Three and out. Three and out. Four and out. And finally, stuffed on 4th and one after 10 plays. As glorious as Sunday’s fourth quarter/overtime thrill of victory was, this fourth quarter was the agony of defeat. Green Bay needs to go back to the drawing board and regroup. They have the Eagles at Philadelphia in 9 days. Until then, happy Thanksgiving everyone.