3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 2 Win
The Green Bay Packers were blown out in Week 1, and there were times on Monday night when it seemed like an 0-2 start was inevitable.
The Packers struggled to corral the Detroit Lions offense early, and Detroit took a 17-14 lead into halftime. However, some halftime adjustments, a second-half surge and four Aaron Jones touchdowns allowed Green Bay to walk away from its home opener with a 35-17 victory.
While the final result was encouraging, this was far from a perfect game. The Packers, right now, are a flawed team. The defense was awful in the first half, and had Detroit converted on a 4th-and-1 attempt late in the third quarter, this could have been a tied game heading into the fourth.
Green Bay should feel good about the win, but it should also know it has work to do to be a title contender. Here are three other takeaways from the Packers' Week 2 win.
Aaron Rodgers Is Still Aaron Rodgers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't play like a reigning MVP against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. He finished 15-of-28 for just 133 yards with two interceptions. His poor performance led some to suggest his offseason spat with the team was still affecting him.
"Show me it’s important to you," CBS analyst and former NFL coach Bill Cowher said on the Sunday pregame show (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). "That the team is more important than you who are. And right now I have not seen that."
If Rodgers was distracted in Week 1, it didn't carry over to Sunday's game. While he didn't rack up the passing yardage, he was an efficient 22-of-27 for 255 yards and four touchdowns against Detroit.
The 37-year-old very much looked like an MVP candidate in Week 2, which should be a relief for the Packers faithful. As WBAY's Chris Roth pointed out, this marked the fifth straight time he has responded to a loss with a four-touchdown, zero-interception outing.
The only real question is whether Rodgers can maintain this level of play against quality opponents all season long.
Randall Cobb Is a Valuable Addition
While Rodgers' bounce-back performance and Jones' big night will earn headlines this week, we shouldn't overlook the contributions of offseason acquisition Randall Cobb. The Packers brought back their quarterback's former go-to slot man for a reason, and that reason was apparent on Monday.
While Cobbs' 26 receiving yards won't leap out from the stat sheet, it's worth noting that he caught all three of his targets and played a big role on a critical third-quarter drive.
With the Packers leading by four late in the quarter, Green Bay needed a score to create some breathing room. Three times on the drive, Rodgers looked to Cobb. Two of his catches resulted in first downs, one coming on a critical 3rd-and-7 from the Detroit 47-yard line.
The Packers finished the drive with a touchdown and took control of the game from there.
While Jones, Davante Adams (eight catches, 121 yards) and Robert Tonyan (52 receiving yards, 1 TD) remain Rodgers' biggest weapons, Cobb can be a security blanket in clutch situations. Expect him to play a larger offensive role as the season continues and he reestablishes chemistry with his quarterback.
The Defense Is a Work in Progress
While the offense provided plenty of positives, the slow start by Green Bay's defense is cause for concern.
It was flat-out bad in Week 1, surrendering 322 yards, 22 first downs and 38 points. While the Packers did force two turnovers against Detroit, they still allowed 344 yards and 19 first downs.
A couple of issues have presented themselves. With Za'Darius Smith on injured reserve, Green Bay has struggled to rush the passer. It has just one sack through two games after averaging 2.6 sacks per game in 2020.
Perimeter pass defense has also been an issue, as pointed out by ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
"Jared Goff is now 9-of-9 for 105 yards and 2 TD passing outside the numbers tonight, per ESPN Stats & Info," he tweeted during the first half. "In Week 1 the Saints were 9-of-12 passing for 113 yards and 2 TD passing outside the numbers against the Packers."
Green Bay's defense played better in the second half, but if not for those two takeaways and a critical fourth-down stop, this would have been an entirely different game. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry has some adjustments to make with the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers looming on the schedule.