Packers @ Commanders
Final Score: Commanders 23, Packers 21
Writer: Justin Havelock (@JustinHavelock on Twitter)
The Green Bay Packers lost their third game in a row in Week 7, as Aaron Rodgers falls to 0-4 in his career against the Washington Commanders on the road. Meanwhile, head coach Ron Rivera has been on the hot seat this season and may have earned back some of his credibility with both management and fans after a commanding win against the Packers. Without further adieu, let’s get right into the good stuff as there’s plenty to unpack here.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers: 23/35, 194 Yards, 2 TD
Sing along with me if you know this one “The old (Green) Bay QB, ain’t what he used to be, ain’t what he used to be, ain’t what he used to be…” If there was any doubt remaining at this point in the season, Aaron Rodgers definitely ain’t what he used to be.
Rodgers has completed just one pass over 40 yards this entire season and that was in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Even if you want to blame this wide receiver room for the lack of a deep ball, the calm, steady progressions and pinpoint accuracy that we have come to expect from Rodgers simply were not there this week and frankly have not been there for most of this season.
Looks like Rodgers wanted Doubs to recognize where the space was and break off his route away from the defender. Didn't happen and Packers miss on a potential big play. pic.twitter.com/XPoYNoy2o4
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) October 24, 2022
1. Wide open WR this has to be on his numbers and a conversion after WAS takes the lead.
2. Rodgers is mad because the spacing with Doubs and Watkins gets all FUBAR
3. It's going to suck when the All-22 shows Watkins out the gate even with the spacing off. Huge play. pic.twitter.com/VpY8A2ZjAX
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) October 24, 2022
Aaron Rodgers after the last play of the Packers-Commanders game. pic.twitter.com/e9atAQ4LXE
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 23, 2022
Yikes. As far as anyone can tell, nope, Rodgers did not appear to be hurt on that play (well, not physically at least).
Aaron Jones: 8 Carries, 23 Yards | 10 Targets, 9 Receptions, 53 Yards, 2 TD
AJ Dillon: 4 Carries, 15 Yards
Aaron Jones finally saw an uptick in his usage this week, leading the team in targets, receptions, and scrimmage yards, as well as scoring the only two offensive touchdowns of the day for Green Bay.
Jones started the game with four consecutive touches on the Packers’ opening drive, one that only lasted five plays. Unfortunately, the three carries that he picked up on that drive were the bulk of his workload on the ground. The Commanders’ offense vultured away more carries than AJ Dillon did this week, as Washington absolutely dominated in time of possession (37:07-22:53).
RODGERS WITH A DOT TO AARON JONES 🎯
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 23, 2022
The Packers need to continue to find ways to get Jones involved in the passing game with this receiving corps, but head coach Matt LaFleur could use a gentle reminder to get his star player more than eight to twelve carries per week.
Dillon was very much an afterthought in a game script that often seemed to forget that running the football was an option. When Dillon was on the field he seemed to lack any explosiveness whatsoever. His 3.75 Yards Per Carry may look optimistic, but the lack of volume here is inflating these numbers as that was buoyed by a ‘long’ seven-yard run.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Allen Lazard: 7 Targets, 6 Receptions, 55 Yards
Sammy Watkins: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 36 Yards
Robert Tonyan: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 32 Yards
Amari Rodgers: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 14 Yards, Fumble (Lost)
Samori Toure: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards
Romeo Doubs: 4 Targets
Allen Lazard has been the clear WR1 in Green Bay this season. In fact, Lazard was the only Packers wide receiver that recorded a catch in the first three quarters. Lazard did leave the game briefly with a shoulder injury, but came back in and made a 17-yard catch to end the third quarter.
Sammy Watkins was quiet for most of this game after returning from a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 2. He was targeted once right before halftime, but otherwise didn’t show up until the fourth quarter where he caught a vintage 28-yard bomb from Aaron Rodgers.
— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) October 23, 2022
Robert Tonyan looked sharp even with the anticipated drop in volume from last week’s 12-target game. His sole incompletion came from a back-shoulder throw that caught Tonyan slightly off-balance with cornerback Rachad Wildgoose bearing down on him. Tonyan has proven himself to be one of Rodgers’ most trusted receivers this season so he should be expected to continue to put up similar lines while mixing in the occasional touchdown.
You can tell the Packers were scrambling to find a way to spark this offense when you see Amari Rodgers getting targeted. The other Rodgers in Green Bay has largely been a disappointment since being picked in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, looking outmatched even in a special teams role. He has yet to show any type of big play ability and has the same amount of fumbles this season as he does receptions (3).
Samori Toure stood out at times for the Packers in training camp with backup quarterback Jordan Love. His lone four-yard target certainly wasn’t anything special as far as NFL debuts go, but with the lack of options in this passing game we could see an increased role for Toure in the coming weeks.
Romeo Doubs and Rodgers were not on the same page of the playbook at all this week. While Doubs had several drops in key situations for Green Bay, he was also wide open at times when Rodgers instead chose to force the ball into tight coverage. It’s nearly impossible to tell whether this was due to Rodgers feeling some frustration with his rookie wide receiver or merely a struggle to get through his progressions behind this offensive line.
In the long-term, Doubs and Rodgers should be able to get back in sync as the rookie is a talented young athlete, but in the short-term, there will likely still be more growing pains ahead, especially with the Buffalo Bills coming up next week.
Taylor Heinicke: 20/33, 201 Yards, 2 TD, INT | 2 Carries, 4 Yards
Taylor Heinicke made his season debut with Carson Wentz headed to the Injured Reserve for at least the next month with a finger injury. Heinicke may have grown up a Packers fan, but he had no reservations about dismantling the Packers’ defense and keeping the offense on the sidelines. Head coach Ron Rivera and Heinicke were able to move the sticks quite easily against Green Bay with Heinicke posting a 6.1 Yards Per Attempt against one of the league’s best pass defenses.
Heinicke showed off his arm strength throughout the game and his ability to move through his progressions and throw in rhythm with his receivers improved with each quarter.
Taylor Heinicke finds Terry McLaurin in the end zone to give the @Commanders the lead!
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 23, 2022
— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2022
Brian Robinson Jr.: 20 Carries, 73 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards
Antonio Gibson: 10 Carries, 59 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 18 Yards, TD
J.D. McKissic: 1 Carry, 4 Yards | 2 Targets
Brian Robinson Jr. erased any doubts about the pecking order of the Commanders’ backfield this week- he is clearly the lead back in Washington now. While Robinson appeared to be fully healthy, he did not look like the explosive running back that we often heard about throughout the preseason, aside from this one particular big play.
On this second-quarter run, Brian Robinson Jr. was first contacted at the 25-yard line.
He went down on the 11 pic.twitter.com/DxbttEbqbU
— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) October 24, 2022
The question with Robinson remains, have we bought in on a preseason hype train or is this merely a rookie struggling to get acclimated to the NFL after missing the first month or so of the season?
Antonio Gibson may not be the RB1 on the Commanders’ depth chart anymore, but he has proven that he is still a valuable piece of this offense. Gibson ran the ball well and managed to get open in the endzone for a quite spectacular receiving touchdown. As long as he continues to have a role in this passing game, Gibson should be able to consistently deliver solid boxscores like this one.
Petition to throw to Antonio Gibson 5+ times per game pic.twitter.com/nQsY35tp9i
— Underdog Fantasy (@UnderdogFantasy) October 23, 2022
Yes, J.D. McKissic does actually belong in this section. He was deployed as a running back, even if he does have more receptions (24) than carries (20) this season. Since Robinson has returned, however, McKissic’s touches have plummeted. The Packers put pressure on McKissic in the passing game as well, as he was unable to hold onto either of his two targets, including giving up a pick-six to linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Terry McLaurin: 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 73 Yards, TD
Curtis Samuel: 5 Carries, 26 Yards | 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 53 Yards
Armani Rogers: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 28 Yards
Cam Sims: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 12 Yards
Dax Milne: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards
Cole Turner: 2 Targets
Terry McLaurin had one of his best games of the season against an elite Packers secondary that had cornerback Jaire Alexander struggling to contain McLaurin throughout the game. Taylor Heinicke and McLaurin shook off a few incomplete passes early in the first half and were unstoppable once they found their timing. ‘Scary Terry’ stepped up and did an excellent job of evading Alexander in order to get open for his quarterback. When McLaurin’s playing at his best, he can catch just about anything you throw at him and he was truly at his best this week.
Something about Heinicke Magic in DC.
— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2022
Curtis Samuel stood out much more than this boxscore would imply, executing at every level- as a receiver, rusher, and blocker. He continued to earn carries as a dual-threat in this Washington Commanders offense, and even managed to outcarry J.D. McKissic.
Hell of a catch by Curtis Samuel on 3rd and long. Goes up to make a sharp grab to convert pic.twitter.com/FGlWISJvvC
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) October 23, 2022
Armani Rogers, Cam Sims, Dax Milne, and Cole Turner were the beneficiaries of an injured receiving corps for the Commanders with Jahan Dotson (hamstring), Dyami Brown (groin), and Logan Thomas (calf) all inactive this week. The biggest play of the game for Rogers came on a wildcat formation with Rogers handing the ball off to Samuel to set up 1st & Goal.
Turner himself left with a concussion late in the first half, although the rookie tight end made a great leaping catch to bring in a high pass from Heinicke that was inevitably knocked out by safety Adrian Amos.