The Green Bay Packers lost Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga and Micah Hyde to injuries and the Philadelphia Eagles used a precise passing attack led by Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez to hand the Packers their second straight preseason loss.
Green Bay was unable to slow the Eagles’ fast-paced and highly efficient offense, especially early in the game. Philadelphia jumped out to a 25-0 lead before the first quarter had even ended, and led the Packers 39-14 at halftime.
Quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard led the Packers offense, which was effective for most of the night. After throwing a pick-six on Green Bay’s second drive, Hundley rebounded to complete 22/31 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns. His performance likely guaranteed him a roster spot as the team’s third string quarterback.
The Packers saw their record in the preseason drop to 1-2, and once again had to deal with a slew of injuries. After losing Jordy Nelson for the season in last week’s loss to the Steelers, Green Bay watched as three of its starters left the game in the first half due to injuries of their own.
Cobb suffered a shoulder injury that is not believed to be serious, Bulaga had an ankle injury, and Hyde injured his neck. The severity for each injury has yet to be determined, but it appears that the Packers may have dodged a bullet this time.
The Packers also have a number of issues, especially on defense and special teams, which need to be addressed before the regular season begins on September 13.
The Green Bay defense struggled to keep up with the up-tempo Philadelphia offense, allowing touchdowns on the Eagles’ first three possessions. Screen passes proved to be especially difficult for the Packers to defend, and starting inside linebacker Sam Barrington was exploited in the passing game early and often.
Bradford and the Eagles’ offense were in a rhythm for most of the game that Green Bay could not seem to disrupt. Philadelphia’s starting quarterback finished the night with 121 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing all ten of his passes.
Backup Mark Sanchez also dominated the Green Bay defense, completing 13/19 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers’ defense was more effective as the game went on, and did not give up any points in the second half.
The Packers’ special teams also had its fair share of problems in the game. The opening kickoff was returned 67 yards before Mason Crosby was forced to make the tackle, and Crosby missed a 51-yard field off the right upright. Tim Masthay continued to struggle with punting, averaging just under 38 yards per punt and failing to punt a ball further than 40 yards.
Despite the issues, there were many positives for the Packers as well. Hundley took advantage of his reps with the first-string offense and solidified his role as the team’s third quarterback.
The Green Bay offense outgained the Eagles 465-401, converted 53 percent of its third downs, and scored on both of its red zone trips. After allowing six sacks against the Steelers, the offensive line allowed just one against Philadelphia.
The Packers also got solid performances from Rajion Neal, Myles White, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis on offense. Neal excelled in the screen game and began to assert himself as the favorite for team’s third running back, while Montgomery, White and Janis each had over 70 yards receiving. White especially made his case to make the team with nine receptions for 89 yards and an acrobatic one-handed catch.
An inability to stop the Philadelphia offense early in the game, the pick-six, and a high number of penalties (15 for 128 yards) ultimately doomed the Packers. But as long as Green Bay avoided serious injuries to the three starters who exited early, the game was beneficial to helping figure out some of the team’s final roster spots.
The Packers conclude their preseason schedule by hosting the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .