3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 2 Win

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2022

3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 2 Win

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    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    The Green Bay Packers' embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 was alarming. However, we've seen this script before—quarterback Aaron Rodgers skips the preseason and comes out flat to open the season. It happened last year against the New Orleans Saints, and the Packers went on to claim the NFC's No. 1 seed.

    While Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears won't put the Packers deep in the playoffs, it was a big step in the right direction. Rodgers was sharper, the running game was phenomenal, and the defense stymied Bears quarterback Justin Fields for most of the game.

    This was a complete performance by the Packers and a sign of what Green Bay can be in 2022. Of course, it came against a team that won only six games last season, so it's far too early to celebrate.

    Green Bay will have a much stiffer test next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Still, a win is a win, and Sunday's was a sign that Week 1 may have been an aberration for the now 1-1 Packers. Here's what else we learned from the team's 27-10 Sunday night victory.

Christian Watson Remains a Work-in-Progress

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    Packers WR Christian Watson (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    When the Packers traded away star wideout Davante Adams this offseason, it left Rodgers without a clear go-to target in the passing game. Many fans likely believed that rookie second-round pick Christian Watson, taken 34th overall, could be that guy.

    Through the first two weeks, Watson hasn't been a significant factor in the passing game, however. He dropped a would-be 75-yard touchdown pass in the opener against Minnesota and did next to nothing against Chicago.

    Watson caught all three of his targets but finished with a mere nine yards. He had one nine-yard catch and had two short receptions—one for a yard and one for a loss. Through two weeks, the North Dakota State product has five receptions for only 43 yards. He's provided a quarterback rating of only 87.2 when targeted.

    For comparison, Rodgers has a rating of 94.5 overall.

    The good news is that Watson still has plenty of time to rebound. He missed much of camp and the preseason while recovering from June knee surgery. His chemistry with Rodgers is understandably lacking.

    Watson can't drop easy touchdowns, of course, but he can still develop into a difference-maker.

Aaron Rodgers Can Thrive by Spreading the Ball Around

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    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Watson isn't replacing Adams on a one-for-one basis any time soon. No one is. The passing game often ran through Adams—he had 169 of Green Bay's 570 targets last season or 29.6 percent—and the Packers don't have a player capable of replicating that role.

    However, Rodgers showed on Sunday that he can move the ball just fine by spreading the ball around. He finished 19-of-25 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He hit eight different receivers and picked up 10 first downs through the air.

    Four different players—Watson, Aaron Jones, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb—caught three passes apiece. Watkins was the only one to see four or more targets on the evening.

    We're highly unlikely to see Rodgers force-feeding the football to JUST ONE pass-catcher this season. We also might not see Rodgers putting up MVP-caliber numbers as a result. However, Rodgers can still make this one of the better offenses in the NFL by playing smart, efficient football.

    Having Allen Lazard back in the lineup—he missed Week 1 with an ankle injury—certainly helped, but Rodgers appeared much more comfortable with his receiving committee on Sunday than in Week 1.

Complementary Football Can Take This Team Far

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    Packers RB Aaron Jones (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

    Rodgers will remain the face of the Packers for the foreseeable future. However, Sunday's win was proof that it's not all about him anymore. Green Bay handled the Bears with good, complementary football.

    Rodgers played well, to be sure, but running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon were the stars of the night. The two combined for 193 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards, two touchdowns and kept the Chicago defense on its heels. Both will be focal points of the offense moving forward.

    "I give both of those guys credit," Rodgers said, per Zach Jacobson of CBS Sports. "They're examples of what it means to be a pro, and especially here."

    The strong ground game and Rodgers' efficient night were complemented by a defense that dominated. The Bears were held to 228 total yards and converted just one of eight third-down opportunities.

    Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who did enough to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, was just 7-of-11 for 70 yards and an interception. He was sacked 11 times and never found an opportunity to get into a rhythm.

    If Green Bay can continue getting the sort of total-team effort it saw on Sunday, it's going to be a problem for most opponents it faces this season.

    *Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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