While many expected this to be an ugly, defense-led game, I don’t think anyone expected the Packers to give up five turnovers to the 4-5 Baltimore Ravens. While Green Bay has looked like a below-average football team ever since Aaron Rodgers injury, I think yesterday’s game stoops to a new low in terms of offensive output. The offense routinely failed to move the ball down the field, and seemed to either turn the ball over suffer a turnover on downs nearly every drive. Offensive performances like this are certainly an indictment on head coach Mike McCarthy, as he known around the league as offensive-minded coach. On the other hand, the defense actually had a solid showing against Baltimore. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted a poor Joe Flacco pass and the run defense held the Ravens’ running game to a manageable 58 yards. With that in mind, let’s try to separate the good and the bad from this showing as Green Bay prepares for next week’s match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
WR Davante Adams: While Hundley has certainly had his ups and downs as the starting quarterback this season, those ups typically occur on his throws to Davante Adams. These two have appeared to develop a bit of chemistry these last couple weeks, and Adams was one of few bright spots against the Ravens, with 8 receptions for 126 yards. At first it appeared that the loss of Aaron Rodgers might stump Adams’ earning potential at the conclusion of this contract year, but Hundley is taking advantage of Adams’ talent and leaning on him as his go-to receiver. Furthermore, with Adams receiving the bulk of Hundley’s attention, it may force future defensive coordinators to gameplan a bit more for Adams, opening up more space for guys like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and Lance Kendricks. All in all, Adams has been able to show that he is very valuable to this team and Ted Thompson should make sure he does not leave Green Bay at the end of this season.
The Pass Rush: For the second straight week, the Packers’ defense had their way when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Multiple different pass rushers made life rough for Joe Flacco all afternoon, with Clay Matthews being the first to get home and notch his first sack since Week 4 of this season. Unfortunately, Matthews’ success didn’t last long as he exited the game with a groin injury shortly afterwards. But guys like Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Vince Beigel, and even Kyler Fackrell found ways to the opposing quarterback whether it be by sacks or even just pressures. Yes, the Ravens did have to form a rag-tag offensive line due to the absence of their starting left tackle, but yesterday’s showing by the Packer pass rush shows promise for the future.
QB Brett Hundley: It’s really tough to argue against the idea that the majority of yesterday’s loss falls squarely on Hundley’s shoulders. The defense was able to hold Baltimore to only six points on the early turnovers from the offense, and keeping them within two possessions all the way up until the very end of the game shows that this loss was not on the defense. The running game, while not overly effective, did not cost the Packers either as Jamaal Williams was solid running the ball and accounted for 95 of the Packers 265 total yards (this excludes Devante Mays’ fumble, more on him in a moment). Special teams wasn’t the reason either, as the field goal unit never even got the chance to get onto the field. Hundley on the other hand, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble on top of that. Hundley’s first pick could be seen coming from a mile away as he stared down Randall Cobb on an out route in the endzone as CB Jimmy Smith intercepted it. Hundley’s second interception is the ultimate example of why you through the ball out of bounds when you throw it away, and his third was simply the nail in the coffin. If Hundley continues down this path, one has to wonder that it might not be long before we get to see what backup QB Joe Callahan has to offer.
RB Devante Mays: Mays fumbled the ball not once, but twice in yesterday’s game, and they were back-to-back mistakes on his first two career carries. Only his first one was recovered by the Ravens, and while Mays fumble isn’t the main reason the Packers lost 23-0, this is not a good sign from a player expected to step up in the wake of injuries to Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery. Mays was a very exciting and punishing runner in the preseason, his showing yesterday may put him in McCarthy’s doghouse because a player who hasn’t proven he can hang onto the football has no place on this offense.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com