The Green Bay Packers had easily their worst defensive showing of the 2015 season, giving up 548 yards of offense, including 503 yards passing from Philip Rivers, but came up with a huge play late to beat the Chargers 27-20.
Green Bay’s pass defense was battered throughout the game, as Rivers utilized quick passes and mixed in occasional deep throws to pick apart the Packers’ secondary. San Diego ran 89 plays, compared to just 49 for Green Bay, and threw the ball on 65 of them. Fourteen of Rivers’ 65 completions went to Keenan Allen, who was only stopped after suffering an injury in the second half. Allen totaled 157 yards, and only one of his targets was incomplete.
But the Packers’ defense was able to limit the Chargers to just 20 points despite over 500 yards of offense. San Diego came within three yards of a game-tying touchdown, but a pass breakup by Damarious Randall, one of Green Bay’s few stops the entire afternoon, sealed the game for the Packers.
The Green Bay offense fared better than it has the past two weeks, but still was not as consistent as it has been during Aaron Rodgers’ tenure as quarterback. The Packers finished the game with a respectable 370 yards, but after another quick start the offense seemed to falter a bit.
For the third straight week, the Packers scored a touchdown on their opening drive. The team went 87 yards on eight plays, scoring on a James Starks touchdown reception. Starks recorded Green Bay’s second score as well, taking a handoff a career-high 65 yards to put Green Bay up 14-3. Starks finished the game with 112 yards rushing on a day when Eddie Lacy had just three yards on four carries.
The Packers suffered another injury on offense, losing Ty Montgomery to an ankle injury early in the game. With Montgomery and Davante Adams out, Rodgers had to spread the ball around the depth chart. Nine Packers caught passes, but none had more than two receptions. Jeff Janis led the team with 79 yards, Randall Cobb had 38, and James Jones scored his sixth touchdown of the season to give Green Bay the lead for good in the third quarter.
While Rodgers didn’t target a single receiver more than five times, Rivers stuck to his big play guys, and the Green Bay defense simply couldn’t find an answer. Allen, Malcolm Floyd, and Antonio Gates were targeted a combined 43 times and totaled 28 receptions for 347 yards.
The Packers’ run defense, though challenged only rarely, held its own in the game. A combination of Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, and Danny Woodhead managed just 60 yards on 21 carries, and Green Bay recovered a fumble by Gordon for the game’s only turnover.
Green Bay was able to get decent pressure on Rivers, but by using primarily short, quick passes he was able to limit the Packers to just three sacks on the day. Rivers finished the day completing 43/65 passes for 503 yards and a pair of touchdowns and a rating of 99.7. Rodgers’ final line was 16/29 for 255 yards, two scores of his own and a 107.7 rating. Rodgers also eclipsed 30,000 passing yards for his career, doing it in the fewest attempts in NFL history.
The Packers scored on five of their ten possessions, so their overall efficiency was not terrible. Meanwhile, despite the huge amounts of yardage the Packers defense surrendered, it is still admirable that they held San Diego to just 20 points. The Chargers had six trips into the Green Bay red zone, but managed just two touchdowns.——————
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 .