Nothing about the 2022 Green Bay Packers screams easy – and their Week 4 win over the New England Patriots is just another chapter in that messy book. Struggling to defeat New England’s third-string QB in his first-ever NFL action, the Packers played down to the level that their opponent was on, a common theme for this team.
It was a tale of two halves for Green Bay, as they produced one lonely scoring drive in the first half, yet had three consecutive scoring drives to open up the second half. Turnovers set this team back, and inconsistent execution of offensive play calling left this team dead in the water on more than one occasion.
Aaron Rodgers produced one of the worst first halves of his career, which was capped off by an interception that was returned for a TD to put the Patriots up going into halftime. He consistently overthrew his receivers on shot play attempts and was just inaccurate on a lot of his throws.
The rushing attack was quite strong from the get-go, especially when Aaron Jones toted the rock. Matt LaFleur consistently rolled out two-back sets that stationed Jones and AJ Dillon on opposite sides of Rodgers in the shotgun, opening up the ability to run or throw based on the defense’s front seven layouts.
With both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins back in the lineup, the offensive line was operating back at full force Sunday. Having only been sacked once, Rodgers was kept relatively clean, even though Jenkins had his hands full with Matthew Judon for most of the game.
That kind of security blanket that having those two bookends back in the game affords not only Rodgers but also LaFleur in his play calling, should help this unit become more efficient. But that level of efficiency has not yet been seen by this offense, something that will need to change as the season progresses.
Rashan Gary was playing like a man who knows Green Bay will need to pay him whatever he asks for this offseason – his two sacks and a tackle for loss paced the team in both areas, and now he has at least one sack in every game this year.
Kenny Clark and Jarran Reed both were wreaking havoc in the trenches as well, which forced New England to change up their play calls. With rookie Bailey Zappe forced into action after Brian Hoyer left with a head injury, New England resorted to bringing in a sixth offensive lineman (Marcus Cannon) as a tight end and running the ball down the throat of the defense.
Zappe’s arm was never really trusted (10/15 for 99 yards and 1 TD) – instead, they decided to rely on both Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. The two running backs combined for 152 yards and 1 TD (Harris) on 32 carries, averaging a healthy 4.8 yards per carry.
The secondary was down Jaire Alexander, who was sat as more of a precautionary move, and then Adrian Amos was forced to leave the game due to a concussion, which forced Rudy Ford into a larger role. While never truly tested, the secondary allowed 136 total receiving yards, holding every pass catcher for the Patriots to 46 yards or fewer.
Overall, the defense was good and never broke – their run defense was disappointing yet again, especially when they knew that was what the Patriots were going to rely on for most of the game. With Saquon Barkley up next, the Packers will need to clamp up their run D for one of the better running backs they will face this season.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