Now that the dust has settled and the hangover has worn off, here are five more thoughts on the Green Bay Packers 28-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Falling out of favor
Both running back James Starks and tight end D.J. Williams were healthy, but inactive for Sunday’s game. Starks was healthy for the first time this season. Williams had been a regular contributor through at least the first two weeks of the season. Starks started training camp as the team’s No. 1 back. Honestly, neither player was missed on Sunday, with Cedric Benson carrying the running game and performing well (84 yards on 18 carries) and Jermichael Finley turning in his first solid performance at tight end (four for 54). That being said, it’s interesting to see how far these guys have fallen in the eyes of the coaching staff since the season began.
Greg Jennings is broken
The Packers No. 1 receiver can’t stay on the field. Jennings has missed time with a concussion and a groin injury this year. He aggravated the groin injury on Sunday and sat out the second half. In fact, he was in street clothes for the second half. So far, Jennings has missed the end of the San Francisco game, all of the Chicago game, and half of the New Orleans game this season. He has 12 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown on the year. He’s not exactly earning that big money he’s expected to get as a free agent at the end of the season. In fact, he’s starting to look injury-prone.
It’s time to check the emotions
The Packers aren’t known for collecting personal foul penalties. That would be the Detroit Lions. Still, the Packers looked somewhat like the Lions on Sunday. B.J. Raji could be seen punching a guy in the head. He’s lucky he didn’t get ejected. Charles Woodson had to be restrained on the field. The usually-talkative Woodson hasn’t said anything about the incident. What the hell is going on? Were the Packers overly emotional because of the Seattle game? Let’s hope so and hope acting like Detroit is over and done with.
Last year’s defense is back. Or is it?
The Packers gave up 474 yards on Sunday, which is terrible. In doing so, they looked a lot like last year’s unit, which surrendered an NFL-record-high number of passing yards. It’s true. Drew Brees owned them, but Drew Brees is a little better than your average quarterback. The difference this year is the Packers have a pass rush. Although they accounted for only two sacks on Sunday, that’s not bad against the guy with the quickest release in the league. I think it’s safe to say the Packers won’t be facing anyone the caliber of Brees again this season. They should clean things up this week against the Colts.
Don’t crown the offense just yet
Similar to how the defense looked, the Packers offense showed signs of last season’s dominance for the first time on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers threw for 319 yards and four scores. Having the real officials back was supposed to equal an uptick in offense. The replacement officials let defenders get away with a lot, which limited offense through the first three games. That looked to be true on Sunday. However, the Saints defense also played a big role there. We’re talking about what is by far the worst unit in the NFL. They’re giving up an average of 463 yards per game. The Packers didn’t quite reach that level, gaining 421 on Sunday.