The Green Bay Packers fell behind by scores of 7-0, 14-6 and 20-9 and eventually lost 27-17 to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
The loss dropped the Packers to 4-7 after 11 games, putting the team’s playoff hopes on life support.
Here are the stars, the studs and the duds from the Packers’ Week 11 defeat:
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LB Quay Walker: The rookie certainly wasn’t perfect, but he did a little bit of everything in terms of disruption. Walker produced four tackles against the run on gains of three yards or less, including a stuff of Derrick Henry on fourth down and an impressive open-field tackle of rookie Treylon Burks. On the first play of the contest, he forced an incompletion in coverage. Later in the first quarter, he combined with Preston Smith to sack Ryan Tannehill and force a third-and-long. The rookie also smacked C.J. Board to end a punt return. He played fast and physical, and his athleticism consistently showed up on plays he had to chase. The Packers also confidently played him on the edge for a few plays. If his ability to diagnose gets a little more consistent, he’ll be a difference-making player.
WR Christian Watson: Two more touchdowns for the breakout star. He made a terrific contested catch leaping over the defender on a free play from Aaron Rodgers to the first quarter, highlighting the quarterback’s trust in him making a play. Later, his speed as a horizontal rotue-runner in the red zone busted a zone and created another easy touchdown. Watson also used his threatening deep speed to create an easy throw and catch on a well-run stop route, and his 18-yard catch on the final drive gave the Packers a chance to stay on the field. Once again, the rookie was terrific as a blocker on the perimeter.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith (91)
WR Randall Cobb: The veteran slot was efficient in his return from injured reserve, playing 34 snaps and catching all six targets for 73 yards, including two catches over 20 yards. He also successfully returned a punt, and his fumble recovery saved a scoring drive.
OLB Preston Smith: Both of his sacks ended drives. On the Titans’ second drive, Smith beat the left tackle and combined with Quay Walker for a 9-yard sack on second down, forcing a give-up play on third down and a punt. In the fourth quarter, Smith’s sack on third down forced another punt. The Packers played a ton of six-man fronts to combat the run and Smith did a commendable job setting the edge. He celebrated his 30th birthday in style.
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S Darnell Savage/S Rudy Ford: A big reason why the Packers got burnt a few times for explosive plays in the passing game was the sporadic and free-styling play from Savage and Ford. Not playing assignment-sound football created open spaces and receivers running free downfield. Moving Savage into the slot has provided only marginal improvement because teams can still find ways of manipulating his eyes and attacking his coverage (see: 31-yard completion to Chig Okonkwo), and Ford – after a terrific game against Dallas – struggled in various aspects of coverage (gave up touchdown to Austin Hooper) and also missed a tackle as a 35-snap starter.
TE Tyler Davis: He played only three snaps, but twice he missed blocks on well-designed screen plays to Aaron Jones, killing what could have been chunk plays. His one run-blocking snap wasn’t effective.