Green Bay Packers Week 5 Report Card: Grading Each Unit
The Green Bay Packers left Atlanta with a big 25-14 win, in a game where they certainly had their struggles at the beginning, but the defense settled down, and the offense finally started clicking as the Packers scored 25 unanswered points to win the game.
While both units struggled at times, they both made the necessary plays to win the game. It was a crucial divisional win, and I felt that despite their issues at the beginning, they stepped up when it was most important, and now, they are now sitting at 5-0 and will face the 0-5 Rams at home on Week 6.
Here are the grades for each unit following Sunday night's performance.
Aaron Rodgers should get another A+ for his performance. He played another nearly flawless game that would have likely given the Packers the lead much earlier if it wasn't for the offensive line that struggled at times after Chad Clifton's exit from the game, and some key passes that were dropped by the receivers.
Although Rodgers usually gets a lot of help, he didn't have that luxury at the beginning of the game. Running back Ryan Grant fumbled the ball during an important first drive, and Jermichael Finley dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the first quarter forcing the Packers to settle for a field goal.
However, the Packers offense started clicking in the second quarter, with the offensive line tightening up, and the receivers stepping up and making plays. There was a big third-down conversion by Finley in the fourth quarter, and an even bigger touchdown by Greg Jennings that put the Packers up by seven points.
The Packers offense may have stumbled at times, but they were playing in a hostile environment against a good team, and they managed to step up at the right times.
Individual Position Grades:
Running Back: B-
Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
Offensive Line: B-
Like the offense, the defense struggled at the beginning of the game, letting the Falcons score on the first two drives and giving them a 14-0 advantage. But the Packers defense stepped up at the right time, not allowing a score for the entire second half, and forcing two big turnovers in the fourth quarter.
The biggest issue I saw was with the defensive line, who wasn't giving Matt Ryan a whole lot of pressure, especially in the beginning of the game. However, they did redeem themselves somewhat when Desmond Bishop got a huge sack in the fourth quarter when the Falcons offense was finally starting to come back.
Although the secondary was getting beat at the beginning of the game, they locked down on the Falcons' receivers in the second half, giving them the highest marks of the night on defense.
Individual Position Grades:
Defensive Line: B
Special Teams: A
Special teams actually gets the highest marking of the night, particularly Mason Crosby, who knocked in four field goals, one of which was from 56 yards. Tim Masthay also played solidly, putting the Falcons in difficult field position throughout the entire game.
The kick/punt coverage did very well, especially when you consider that they have let Eric Weems run all over them in the past. They also didn't let Randall Cobb go anywhere after catching the ball.
Solid special teams play is more crucial than people think, as a big special teams play can change the momentum of the game, and it has certainly happened to the Packers in the past.
Mason Crosby: A+
Tim Masthay: A-
Randall Cobb: B
The Packers may have started out slow, but every unit stepped up in the second half to give them the wins. My offensive player of the game is certainly Aaron Rodgers, who was facing pressure and dropped passes for much of the night, but he stepped up and made every throw, continuing his dominance this season.
My defensive player of the game would be Desmond Bishop, who made that key sack in the fourth quarter, and who was also solid in both coverage and pressure throughout the game. Honorable mentions include Charlie Peprah and Jarrett Bush, both of whom made big interceptions at the end of the game.
And finally, my special teams player of the game would easily be Mason Crosby, who knocked in some key field goals that helped lift the Packers over the Falcons.
If I were to grade the entire team on this performance, it would likely be a B+. They would have received a C for the first half, but their comeback in the second certainly boosts their grade.
While there are certainly some issues to watch out for with the Packers, they are still playing like the best team in the NFL, and I expect the same next week against the Rams.