Here are some numbers of you: 122 points through 3 games. Not a single lost fumble or interception thrown. Only 2 sacks given up through 3 weeks. 5.5 yards per rushing attempt. 6 players with at least 1 receiving touchdown. 3 wins. 0 losses. Quite an impressive start for the Green Bay Packers offense this season. They continued the necessary efficiency this week against the New Orleans Saints, scraping by with a 37-30 victory. What else can Packer fans take away from Week 3 Recap?
Both the Lions and Vikings, while division opponents, did not prove to be difficult tests for the Packers. The Minnesota game was close on paper only because of garbage time production by the Vikings’ offense. Next, the Packers took control of the Week 2 game against Detroit in the second quarter, and comfortably held the lead. However, week 3 was a much more difficult task, with Alvin Kamara terrorizing the defense on the ground and through the air. There was also the fact that the Saints defense kept coming up with crucial red zone stops. The Packers pulled through with 7 points to spare, showing that they are a team to truly be reckoned with moving forward.
Run Defense Needs Help
Once again, the run defense was shielded by playing with a lead & positive game-flow for most of the contest. Kenny Clark was sorely missed for the second week in a row, The Saints averaged over 6 yards per carry on the day. If New Orleans was able to play with a lead, there is a good chance they would’ve been able to routinely grind the clock while driving the ball down the field for points. If Clark is going to miss significant time, the Packers need to look to free agency for run defense help, especially after Christian Kirksey left the Week 3 contest with an injury as well.
Rodgers & LaFleur Clicking
If it weren’t already obvious with the historic offensive numbers and efficiency, Aaron Rodgers pointed it out himself after the game on Sunday. “We’ve gotten in a good flow,” Rodgers said. “I feel so much more comfortable in the offense this year, and I think Matt has really settled into the rhythm of the play calling, and it’s made my job a lot easier.” What seemed like a tenuous and strained relationship much of last season has grown into a dynamic partnership this season, and the positive side effects of that are obvious on the field. The players look much more comfortable on the field and the sidelines look much more positive. There is much less frustration and much more celebration, and that’s a sight all Packer fans can get behind.
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Must Focus on Improving Tackling
Kamara regularly made Packers defenders look silly in the open field. He broke several short passes for huge gains and also cranked out a 49-yard rush. Analysts far and wide (including us here at FPC Packers) noted that Kamara has been almost the entire offense for the Saints with Michael Thomas out, but he still managed to have a huge game. Kamara is an exceptional and special player with a legendary offensive coach in Sean Payton, so big plays are bound to occur. However, there were countless missed tackles that allowed Kamara to gain 10-20 more yards than he should’ve been able to. On his highlight 52-yard touchdown reception alone, there were at least 4 defenders who could have made a tackle but could not bring Kamara down. The defense must improve in that area as the season progresses.
Playmaking Defense Continues
While they allowed another 30 points on Sunday, the defense again created a game-changing turnover that swung the momentum and arguably changed the outcome of the game. This week it was Za’Darius Smith forcing and recovering a Taysom Hill fumble in the 4th quarter. Also, massive credit goes to Kingsley Keke for getting 2 sacks, the first 2 of his career, earlier in the game. The Packers’ defense isn’t expected to shut opposing offenses down entirely. Rather, their role is to create turnovers and big plays and get the ball back to the offense so Rodgers and Co. can cook opposing defenses. They have done exactly that through 3 weeks.
Another week, another win for the Packers. The offense continued to operate with great efficiency, despite stalling in Saints’ territory a few times. The defense made a couple of momentum-shifting plays and won the turnover battle. Mason Crosby was clutch as always by making all 3 of his field-goal attempts and all 4 of his PATs. most importantly, the Packers avoided making any crucial mistakes. They beat a playoff-caliber team on the road, a great accomplishment even without fans present. They now look to a Week 4 matchup with the much-maligned Atlanta Falcons with the goals of maintaining their positive momentum and garnering a 4-0 start to the season.
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