In earning the season’s second victory against Buffalo, the Green Bay Packers were finally able to put together their best performance of the season, albeit against a team of lower caliber. While the Bills did stomp on the Vikings in Minnesota last weekend, it was more of a fluke than a true testament of the Bills.
Here are three positive takeaways from the win, which put the Packers in sole possession of second place in the NFC North behind the Bears.
Defense finally shows up
The theme of the offseason was dominated by the upgrades needed on the defensive side of the ball. While the draft was used to address the corner position, the biggest addition was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine coming aboard to help alleviate the constant issues that plagued fans about Dom Capers.
The unit was hyped up all throughout OTAs and preseason, as the cohesiveness was seen as the biggest strength. Coming into Sunday’s contest, that seemed to be the only positive facet of the unit after being thrashed by Chicago, Minnesota and Washington.
Against Josh Allen and the Bills, the unit pitched its first shutout since 2010 when in the Meadowlands against the Jets. While Allen is no world beater, it still should be seen as a step in the right direction and good progress.
Clinton-Dix recorded his third consecutive game with an interception, and Jaire Alexander recorded his first pick (without it being called back due to a penalty).
While they were mostly in garbage time, Kyler Fackrell recorded three sacks, and the unit as a whole had seven takedowns of Allen. 11 quarterback hits and five defended passes overall define the type of performance they had in the cold, gloomy end-of-September contest.
Three-headed monster in the backfield
The combination of Aaron Jones (11), Jamaal Williams (11) and Ty Montgomery (5) ran for 110 yards and one touchdown, helping take some of the pressure off the more-mobile Rodgers.
Jones ran for the lone score as well, and he seemed to be the feature back in a somewhat-even distribution Sunday. Jones and Montgomery also added three receptions for 73 yards.
Rodgers had mentioned in an interview that he wanted Jones to see more snaps, demonstrating his trust in the UTEP product. Jones was impressive last season, and even though he was forced to sit out the first two due to serving a substance suspension, he has the trust of the team.
While Williams is the bruiser of the three, he and Montgomery will need to find their roles, either in giving Jones a spell or in the passing game. Jones has demonstrated that he is capable of becoming a lead back, and with the backing of Rodgers, Jones will be given every opportunity to fill that role.
Allison, Graham rising up receiving ranks
Coming into the year, Allison was a dark horse to be counted on. Once Jordy Nelson was cut, his role elevated even higher than thought.
Through the first four games, Allison has 19 receptions, 289 yards and two scores. While Davante Adams is solidly entrenched as the number one, Allison has leaped over Randall Cobb on the depth chart, adding a vertical and speedy threat opposite Adams.
On the flip side, Jimmy Graham has already made a name for himself in this league, but determining his usage and role in the Green Bay offense was going to be a bit tougher to determine.
Consider that bridge crossed.
Graham has 16 catches, 169 yards and one touchdown. While those stats don’t stand out, his role in the offense is determined.
Graham will be requiring a good amount of attention by the defense, opening up more opportunities for other receiving options. He will also provide a vertical threat in the end zone, which will give Rodgers another option to go to while inside the 20.
Thoughts on yesterday’s victory? Let me know in the comments below!뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23