Behind the numbers: Digging into Packers Week 1 loss to the Vikings

·5 min read

This season at Packers Wire, I’ll be going Behind the Numbers following each Green Bay Packers game. In this article, we will dive into the stats and figures that you need to know about from the Packers’ performance.

Here is a look at the key numbers from another disappointing Week 1 loss.

8

Somehow, Aaron Jones had only eight touches the entire game. Jones was, of course, very effective with the ball in his hands, averaging a whopping 9.8 yards per carry while totaling 27 receiving yards on three receptions.

To put it simply, this just can’t happen, especially for an offense in search of playmaking ability. As we saw against the Vikings, oftentimes the offense was functioning at its best when Jones was involved. Following the game, both Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur acknowledged this mistake.

184

That is the number of receiving yards that Justin Jefferson had on Sunday. The Packers played heavy zone coverage, which kept Jaire Alexander oftentimes on the opposite side of the field from Jefferson. This also led to a lot of open space to work with for Jefferson and miscommunications between the secondary. First-year head coach Kevin O’Connell also did a really good job of moving Jefferson around presnap, helping to create mismatches and confusion.

Trying to contain Jefferson should have been priority No. 1 for the Packers, but that isn’t what happened. It wasn’t until the second half that we saw Alexander lined up on him, and we also didn’t see any bracket coverages or safety help over the top.

4.5 and 1

Slowing this Vikings offense was always going to begin with the Packers winning the line of scrimmage. However, that often didn’t happen for the Green Bay defensive front.

Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison totaled 126 rushing yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. With the typical light boxes that the Packers play with, slowing the run game won’t always be easy, but in order for that strategy to be effective, there has to, in turn, be some success against the pass with extra defenders in coverage. However, as we know, that wasn’t the case.

The Packers’ pass rush also generated just one sack on Kirk Cousins, although PFF did credit the Green Bay defense with 20 pressures. However, Cousins’ average time to throw was 2.76-seconds, the 11th longest rate in Week 1. Even for what should be a very good secondary, things get a lot more difficult when the quarterback has time.

12

The Packers let 12 points slip through their fingertips – literally – on Sunday. The drop by Christian Watson would have been an easy six points, while the failed fourth down conversion resulted in another missed opportunity. After the game, Rodgers acknowledged that he should have held onto the ball instead of giving it to AJ Dillon, with Za’Darius Smith crashing as hard as he did. Ultimately, it didn’t happen, so it doesn’t matter, but how different does this game look if the Packers are able to capitalize on those opportunities?

3/11 and 1/3

It’s difficult to build any sort of momentum and for LaFleur to get into a rhythm as a play caller when the offense isn’t converting third and fourth-down opportunities. Against the Vikings, the Packers were a combined 3/11. Any time they found themselves in a third and long situation, moving the ball became all the more difficult, with the Minnesota defensive front pinning their ears back.

The Packers were also just 1/3 in the red zone. If you recall, this offense spent much of the 2021 season ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in red zone success rate.

103

The Packers wide receivers totaled only 103 receiving yards against the Vikings. Without having seen the All-22, it’s difficult to know what Rodgers was seeing, but it appeared to be a mixed bag of Rodgers being hesitant, some wrong routes, and drops sprinkled in; also, there were very few quick and easy completions drawn up by LaFleur. We know this unit is going to have growing pains this season, but it’s going to be up to Rodgers playing at a high level and LaFleur scheming players open in order to elevate this group. That didn’t happen on Sunday.

3

The Green Bay Packers lost three defenders to injury on Sunday, including linebackers Krys Barnes and Quay Walker, along with cornerback Keisean Nixon. As good as the starting defense looks on paper, the depth of this unit is a big question mark and may be tested early on, depending on the severity of these injuries.

The only other linebackers on the roster are De’Vondre Campbell, Isaiah McDuffie, and Ray Wilborn on the practice squad. As far as the cornerback depth goes, it is Shemar Jean-Charles, who was inactive against Minnesota, along with Kiondre Thomas and Benjie Franklin on the practice squad. Don’t expect any major additions, but linebacker and cornerback are two positions the Packers might have to add to this week.

7

No surprise, but the Packers missed Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari. The right side of the offensive line, made up of Royce Newman and Jake Hanson, took their lumps during the preseason, and that continued on Sunday. According to PFF, of the 11 total pressures the Packers allowed, seven were from either Newman or Hanson. While Rodgers and LaFleur have to both be better as I’ve already mentioned, one side of the offensive line struggling makes that all the more challenging. We will see in Jon Runyan is available next Sunday after suffering a concussion, but if he is, Zach Tom should be given an opportunity to start on the right side.

6.7 and 8.1

No surprise, but Rodgers and the passing game did find success when he had a clean pocket and off play-action. From a clean pocket, Rodgers completed 20 of 27 passes at 6.7 yards per attempt. On play-action, he was five of seven at 8.1 yards per attempt per PFF.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire