Week 9 Recap: Giving Up in Green Bay

Almost a month ago, the worst thing that can happen to a team with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback happened to the Packers.

Since then, everyone involved with the team has said the right things. Yes, we believe in our new starting quarterback. No, we haven’t given up on the season. Absolutely, we expect to remain in contention for the playoffs and even a Super Bowl.

However much the Packers’ coaches and front office staff may have believed those words, the results on the field have reflected something far different. The Packers don’t look like playoff contenders, but rather a team whose very structure has been exposed to the core. Certainly the Packers have quality players outside Aaron Rodgers, but the team is built to be utterly dependent on his consistent greatness.

Receivers can’t get open without Rodgers extending plays. Running backs are stymied without Rodgers’ godlike thunderbolt strikes to open up running lanes. Even the defense is even more exposed than usual, having to do more than just avoid giving up big plays.

And for all the happy talk from the guys wearing headsets on Sundays, the level of execution on the field doesn’t belie a team of players believing they’re still in contention for anything more than an extended offseason.

It’s hard to say for sure the Packers have given up, but it’s hard to imagine things looking much different if they did.

4 and Out

1 - For whatever reason, the Packers could not get Aaron Jones going. He finished the game with seven touches (five runs, two receptions) for 11 yards. Much of this likely has to do with an inability to get Brett Hundley going through the air, but it was odd to not see Jones get more opportunities.

2 - Speaking of odd running back stat lines, Ameer Abdullah had 4 catches for 62 yards, including a long of 63. That saying about only needing one touch to make a difference? Especially true in Abdullah’s case.

3 - The Packers’ pass rush is utterly inconsequential. Dean Lowry and Nick Perry were awarded half a sack for taking down Matt Stafford, and it feels fitting that nobody on the Packers had more than that. Stafford had all day to throw, and even on the Packers’ lone sack, he was taken down after a flea-flicker failed to develop. Even if Vince Biegel becomes an instant All-Pro, this group is still miles away from where it needs to be.

4 - The NFL’s next gen stats shed a lot of light on Hundley’s struggles to push the ball downfield throughout the game, but really, you don’t need to look any farther than Davante Adams’ stat line to see how bad it was. The Packers got Adams seven catches, but he only managed 53 yards with a long of just nine. That’s a pretty pitiful stat line from any number one receiver and it shows how little of a threat the Packers are down the field right now.