The Green Bay Packers overcame a pair of second-half deficits, got a key stop in overtime and then finally vanquished the New England Patriots with a 31-yard game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby as the extra period expired on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
What did we learn from the 27-24 win?
Here are the top takeaways from the Packers’ overtime win in Week 4:
Wide receivers flash again
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Allen Lazard, Romeo Doubs and Randall Cobb combined to catch 14 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown. and Christian Watson scored a 15-yard rushing touchdown on a jet sweep. The flashes are becoming more and more real. Lazard produced his first 100-yard receiving game of the season, Doubs caught a touchdown pass and was open for a second, Cobb extended two drives with third-down catches and Watson’s speed in motion really helped the run game. Lazard (70 snaps) and Doubs (70 snaps) have the potential to be a strong No. 1-2 punch, and Cobb and Watson are valuable ancillary weapons.
Is this defense good?
Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7)
The inconsistency of the Packers defense is maddening. They are dominant for long stretches but also have big-time lapses, especially on opening drives and in the run game. The Packers got beat up by Justin Jefferson and the Vikings in Week 1, coasted by struggling second-year quarterback Justin Fields in Week 2, got past a Buccaneers team lacking three top receivers and two starters along the offensive line in Week 3 and then just squeaked by a third-string quarterback in Week 4. The numbers look good. The talent is good. But it’s still tough to know if this is a championship-caliber defense after four games. And we might not know until a trip to Buffalo to play the Bills in late October.
Rashan Gary is that dude
Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52)
Gary ended five drives in the first half and kept the Packers in the game as the offense limped into halftime. He ended one drive with a sack on third down, knocking the Pats out of field goal range. Later, his strip-sack and recovery took the ball away as the Pats were knocking on the door of the red zone. He just kept terrorizing right tackle Isaiah Mynn and making big plays. Per PFF, Gary had five pressures and five stops in 43 snaps. He is producing an All-Pro caliber season (five sacks, 16 pressures) through four games.
Time for an offensive line shakeup?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Elgton Jenkins’ first three games at right tackle have been mostly underwhelming, especially in pass protection. Now that David Bakhtiari is back and nearing full-time status, the Packers have the option to move Yosh Nijman around and tinker with starting lineups. Could he go to right tackle and move Jenkins back inside to guard, where he was a Pro Bowler in 2020? Jenkins lost a few big pass-blocking snaps to Matthew Judon on Sunday. Having Nijman start at right tackle could be the way for the Packers to get their five best offensive linemen on the field together.
Inside linebackers need to step up
Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7) warms up before their game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
To get better against the run, the Packers need play from both inside linebackers. While the defensive line hasn’t always provided clean looks for the second level, De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker must fit runs and get off blocks better – especially when the Packers are in nickel – or this run defense will continue to struggle. Teams have too often won the battle at the point of attack running downhill at the pair, and the Patriots even had success getting outside the tackle box, which should be tough considering the speed of Campbell and Walker.
Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
The Packers turned the ball over 13 total times, won the turnover battle 11 times and only lost the battle three times over 17 games last season. Through four games in 2022, the Packers have seven turnovers and have lost the battle twice, including Sunday. Aaron Rodgers threw an unbelievable pick-six before the half, and Romeo Doubs fumbled away the first possession after a poor throw from Rodgers on a screen. The Packers have at least two turnovers in three of four games. This team needs to get better at protecting the football, starting with the quarterback.