Last week, the Green Bay Packers faced the Chicago Bears, dominating the day en route to a 38-20 victory. Aside from a couple of early drives, the Packers’ offense looked promising at the start of the Jordan Love era. However, the defense showed great potential, possibly hinting at a top-five ranking.
Now, Joe Barry, don’t give me hope. We’ve been down this road before. The Packers consistently pressured Justin Fields throughout the game. They secured four sacks and could have easily had more if it weren’t for Fields’ elusiveness. In total, the Packers generated 36 pressures during the game. Moreover, they forced two takeaways, both occurring with Justin Fields under pressure.
Defense – Stars
Rashan Gary had ten pass rush attempts in the game and successfully pressured the quarterback on seven of those tries. This doesn’t even account for the sack Gary achieved on a Bears’ free play, which may not show up in the stats but certainly prevented a potentially bigger play. Of course, Rashan Gary is widely recognized as a beast on the field, and if he maintains this level of performance, he’s on a path to an all-pro season. Pay the man!
Kenny Clark put together another outstanding performance. He played 36 snaps on defense and consistently disrupted the Bears’ offensive line. Clark is credited with two total tackles, half a sack, and a forced fumble. He effectively stopped the run on numerous attempts and created opportunities for other players to succeed. Kenny Clark is a cornerstone of this defense. If this team wants to continue improving on defense, Clark will need to consistently produce performances like this one.
Before the game, Quay Walker was seen meditating under a goal post. After last season’s rough ending for Walker, he has really impressed thus far on the season. Walker was flying all over the field and registered four total tackles. But the most impressive play he made on the day was the interception return for a touchdown. The interception itself really wasn’t that impressive. Justin Fields threw the ball right to Walker. The impressive part was the return itself. Quay Walker looked like an amazing running back on the return – and he’s a linebacker!
Hidden Star for Defense
Kenny Clark has help! Devonte Wyatt dominated in the game against the Bears. He is credited with one and half sacks on the day sharing that sack fumble with Kenny Clark. He had six total pressures and had some of the Bears offensive linemen in a blender! Because of this, he had Justin Fields running all over the field! At one point, I saw a pass rush move that I haven’t seen too often. It was like a weird fake-spin move. It worked well enough and Wyatt got into the backfield. Watch for Wyatt to use this move later in the season to some degree of success.
Devonte Wyatt makes this defensive line scary good if he can keep playing at this level. If you are wanting more fantastic Devonte Wyatt analysis then checkout Greg Meinholz’s article all about Devonte Wyatt, “Devonte Wyatt Will Put the League on Notice in 2023.”
Defense Looking Ahead
All of this is to say, this was just one game against the Chicago Bears, who were the worst team in football last season. I mean, some of the plays that the Bears ran on offense were simply terrible. I think about the play in which Lukas Van Ness earned his first career sack. What were the Bears even trying to do on that play?! I don’t think the Bears even knew!
There are plenty of things to like about the Packers’ defense, but we need to temper our expectations. Accordingly, I want to see them perform like this consistently. I’ve been hurt way too many times in the past, so excuse me while I don’t hold my breath. However, there are many positives so far!
Let’s see if the defense can maintain this level of play against the Falcons. The Falcons have a strong run-first offense, presenting a challenge for the Packers.
Can the defense continue to stop the run and maintain this level of dominance? Look for them to prove that they can.
Don’t let me down, Coach Barry. This season will come down to that defense.
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.