Week 5 Recap: Aaron Rodgers Delivers Dallas Another Painful Loss
Aaron Rodgers wanted a fast start in hopes of locking up more playoff games at Lambeau Field. He’s got it.
Five games into the 2017 season, the Packers have four wins and sit atop the NFC North, a full game ahead of the 3-2 Detroit Lions.
Each of their four wins has been well earned, and each has showcased a different aspect of the 2017 team.
The Packers’ defense throttled Seattle thanks to a dominating performance by Mike Daniels and the rest of the defensive line. Aaron Rodgers heated up in the second half to come back against the Cincinnati Bengals. Every part of the team caught fire in Week 4 to rout the Bears. And this week, a cobbled together secondary gave just enough of an effort to give Aaron Rodgers a shot at another miracle comeback, which he was happy to supply.
That the Packers have been able to accomplish so much with so many key contributors missing time speaks not only to the depth of the roster still remaining but to the coaching staff, front office, and virtually every other part of the organization.
Now, two games from their bye week and the influx of healthy bodies it could bring, the Packers are extremely well positioned for the rest of the season. Even with a roster operating at less than full capacity, everyone else in the NFC North is looking up at the Packers.
Four and Out
1 - Aaron Jones looks like the real deal. Although he didn’t post blistering numbers at the combine, he’s easily the quickest of the three running backs the Packers drafted this spring, and it showed in a big way on Sunday. Jones was explosive and decisive in his cuts and had speed to the edge the likes of which the Packers haven’t seen in a long time. He’s assured himself a big role going forward.
2 - Davante Adams is the undisputed number one receiver in Green Bay. Fresh off a tooth-rattling hit not quite two weeks ago, Adams looked every bit a number one receiver. With Jordy Nelson on the sideline with a mystery ailment late, Adams was targeted four times on the game’s decisive drive, including the gorgeous game winner. Nelson will always be the primary option in the red zone, but everywhere else, it seems like Rodgers is looking for Adams first.
3 - Damarious Randall isn’t off the hook yet. We devoted a lot of space last week to Randall’s questionable career in Green Bay to this point, and it couldn’t have been more appropriately timed, as Sunday’s game encapsulated everything great and frustrating about Randall. He gave up a touchdown. He was in and out of the lineup with a variety of small injuries. He made a timely interception and scored a touchdown, but promptly earned a taunting call. He batted away a key pass on a free play in the second half, but also let Cole Beasley blow by him on one of Dallas’ last gasp plays. If it was a redemption tour, it was a bumpy ride. Randall still has a ways to go.
4 - Third down defense is still a work in progress. We also wrote leading up to the game about Green Bay’s improved third down defense, which more or less completely fell apart in Dallas. The Cowboys converted seven of twelve third down opportunities and were also a cool three for three on fourth down tries. Even with a banged up secondary, that’s a difficult rate to justify.