The Green Bay Packers secured a 27-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. Matt LaFleur’s team overcame an early 7-0 deficit by scoring 27 of the game’s next 30 points, and a late interception from rookie Eric Stokes sealed the deal.
Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from the Week 4 win:
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Rodgers-to-Randall: Without Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Packers needed a secondary spark in the passing game, and Randall Cobb provided it in a big way. Aaron Rodgers hit him four times on third down, including twice on the Packers’ first scoring drive and on the go-ahead 23-yard touchdown in the first half. Cobb looked quick and explosive on the wet surface at Lambeau Field.
RB tandem: Sunday was the physical manifestation of everyone’s hopes and dreams for the top two Packers running backs. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 196 total yards, including 129 rushing yards. Jones and Dillon both had important catches on touchdown drives, and Dillon’s late 25-yard run set up the final touchdown. Overall, Dillon had a season-high 16 touches and a game-high 81 rushing yards.
Offensive line: The starting five survived again against a talented defensive front despite not having David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. The Packers won two games and scored 57 points against the Steelers and 49ers with Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Billy Turner along the offensive line. That’s a huge accomplishment.
Rookie dagger: The Steelers went after rookie cornerback Eric Stokes for much of the game, but he continues to prove he’s a competitor with a short memory and a lot of upside. When the Packers needed a play to seal the deal, Stokes provided it with blanket coverage and a leaping interception of Ben Roethlisberger with 1:11 left. Stokes will have better games. But his takeaway prevented any kind of chaos to end Sunday’s win.
Explosive plays: The Packers had five different players create a play of at least 20 yards on Sunday. Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard all had a catch of at least 20 yards, and Dillon had a 25-yard run. Jones also had a run of 15, and Dillon had a catch of 16. The Steelers had only two pass plays over 20 yards, and one was the result of a missed tackle. Pittsburgh’s longest run was just 11 yards.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) is carted off the field.
Jaire Alexander’s injury. A win in Week 4 is great, but it would pale in comparison to a significant injury to the Packers’ All-Pro cornerback. Alexander injured his shoulder and was carted off after trying to make a tackle on Steelers running back Najee Harris in the second half. The Packers don’t know the severity of the injury quite yet. In fact, coach Matt LaFleur didn’t even know if the injury could be season-ending or not on Sunday night. More testing will be done to start this week. Packers fans must cross their fingers. The defense had Isaac Yiadom on the field as a replacement at cornerback to end Sunday’s win.
Green Bay Packers special teams cordinator Maurice Drayton.
Right side of the field goal protection. For the second straight week, the Packers special teams almost provided another game-changing play at the end of first half. On Sunday, a (questionable?) offsides penalty saved the Packers after a blocked field goal was returned 75 yards for a touchdown. Robert Tonyan, the protector on the right side of the field goal unit, was unable to block either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Joe Haden on the block. Later, the Steelers almost blocked another field goal attempt. And remember, the 49ers were an inch or two away from blocking the game-winning field goal last week, and the pressure came from the same side. The Packers need to make some changes on the protection group, probably starting with Tonyan.