In a contest that fans seemed to be on the fence about if winning or losing was the best result, Green Bay made sure they did not go winless away from Lambeau in defeating the lowly New York Jets in East Rutherford in a game plagued by missed opportunities, hot and cold offensive stretches and a game mired by penalties.
Coming into the game, Cheeseheads alike were unsure if losing and preserving their high draft status was the way to go. While there are obvious gains from this outlook, actually recording a victory in one of the more entertaining games of the season outweighs draft status every time.
The Jets, who came into the year playing for yet another high draft selection, rode Sam Darnold, Elijah McGuire
Here are important takeaways from Green Bay’s six win of the season.
Jamaal Williams fills in admirably for Aaron Jones
All season, the timeshare between Jones and Williams has been a constant topic of conversation, focused around the mismanagement of snaps between the two. Jones, who is the better back of the two, received fewer carries than Williams for the majority of the season, until as of late.
But with Jones on the shelf for the remainder of the year, Williams gets to step back into the lead back role, and did he shine.
As the only true running back to see the field, Williams rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.3 yards with a long of 19, pinballing through the Gang Green defense all afternoon. On his score, Williams bounced a pitch to the left outside, ran through a few arm tackles and stretched out from about the two yard line to break the plane for the touchdown.
Through the air, Williams chipped in six catches for 61 yards on nine targets, tied for the second-most targets on the team with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, behind Davante Adams’ whopping 18 targets.
156 total yards and a score for a team that threw the ball 55 times in the game is a huge way to balance out a pass-heavy attack, so Williams stepped up again. Look for Williams to rush for 100+ yards and two scores next week against Detroit.
Unsung receivers finally come back to help Adams
On a day that everyone and their mother was being targeted for a pass, Green Bay’s rookie pass catchers came back to be relevant in the passing attack.
Before going down after a nasty hit, Equanimeous St. Brown led the team in yardage, as he hauled in all five of his targets for 94 yards, including a long of 34. He averaged a shade under 19 yards per catch, and he was one of two security blankets underneath for Rodgers.
The other rookie receiver, MVS, also made five catches, but was targeted nine times. He accounted for 75 yards and averaged 15 yards per catch, with a long of 42.
Jake Kumerow has finally risen to fulfill his state hero status, catching his first career touchdown on a 49-yard bomb from Rodgers in the second quarter. Kumerow had three catches for 68 yards, so outside of the touchdown catch he wasn’t featured too much.
Finally, Adams converted his team-high targets into 11 catches for 71 yards and the game-winning score in the overtime period. He is trying to catch two Green Bay legends, Sterling Sharpe for receptions and old friend Jordy Nelson for yardage, in the season team record books, and he is two catches and 134 yards away from breaking both records, achievable marks next week against Detroit.
Look for both of these records to be broken by halftime next week, if Rodgers is playing.
Defense full of holes, but does not break
Being picked apart by a rookie quarterback is not something a defensive coordinator can ever hang his hat on, especially when it comes from one that is currently leading a team to a 4-10 season.
Mike Pettine’s schemes did not seem to fool Darnold in the least, as he easily eclipsed 300 yards, while throwing for three scores and not commiting a turnover. This was one of Darnold’ finest performances this season, and the Jets seem like they may actually have a franchise quarterback to build around.
The defense was actually led by someone not named Blake Martinez, as Josh Jones had 12 total tackles and one pass defense in the win. Martinez was second with seven tackles and one of two sacks (other went to Kyler ‘Sack’rell), and Tony Brown was third with six tackles, one pass defense and one tackle for loss in another impressive performance.
Pettine has been very consistent in his schemes and coverages throughout the season, but Sunday’s game was not a bright spot. He seemed to be getting too cute with certain coverages, confusing the defensive backfield and letting Anderson and company run all over the backs, although Jaire Alexander was out for the majority of the game after experiencing a leg injury, putting Green Bay down their number one corner.
All in all, this game did not have one percent of importance, except to the players on the field, and they played like it had playoff implications, Thankful for both teams not throwing in the towels on the season, this ended up being one of the most enjoyable non-important contests of the year.
Looking ahead, Green Bay will get one final look at certain players going into the offseason for developmental purposes. Hopefully, the likes of DeShone Kizer, Robert Tonyan, Kendall Donnerson, Natrell Jamerson, Tony Brown, Josh Jackson and others receive more playing time than they have recently to help prepare for what needs to be worked on in the offseason.
As always, leave any thoughts, comments or concerns in the comments section below.
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