Green Bay Packers: 10 Observations from Sunday Night Win

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kingsley Keke #96 of the Green Bay Packers is congratulated by Za'Darius Smith #55 after a sack against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 27, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 27: Kingsley Keke #96 of the Green Bay Packers is congratulated by Za'Darius Smith #55 after a sack against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 27, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Here are 10 quick observations from the Green Bay Packers big win on Sunday night over the New Orleans Saints.

In what was the Green Bay Packers’ first true test of the season, they go into New Orleans without Davante Adams, Kenny Clark, or Josiah Deguara, and come away with the 37-30 win to move to 3-0 on the season.

The defense certainly had their issues against the run as well as covering Alvin Kamara out of the backfield, but they came up big as they often do, with a forced fumble by Za’Darius Smith and then on the Saints’ next drive forcing a three and out. Meanwhile, in the passing game, Aaron Rodgers was Aaron Rodgers, Allen Lazard put together a monster game, and the Packer tight ends took advantage of this Saints’ defense.

Typically after the game, I’ll post my instant takeaways, but this week I decided to switch it up, and I’ll go through my 10 observations from the Green Bay Packers’ impressive Week 3 win.

Allen Lazard, what a game!

I’ll start with the obvious, with no Davante Adams, this Green Bay Packers’ passing game needed someone to step up and, of course, it was Allen Lazard. Early on, as he often does, he came up with two big third-down receptions to extend drives, and from there, he had two deep receptions that eventually led to touchdowns. When it was all said and done, Lazard finished with 146 yards on six receptions with a touchdown.

Where is A.J. Dillon?

I understand that A.J. Dillon is the third RB on the roster right now; however, the Green Bay Packers have struggled inside the five-yard line this season – including last night – and there was also that fourth and one conversion attempt at midfield that they were denied on. At 250 pounds and with an uncanny ability to break tackles, these seem like perfect opportunities to get Dillon the football. Per Football Focus (subscription required), he is averaging 3.71 yards after contact this season, which is 15th best in the NFL.

Why does Mike Pettine continue to play soft in coverage?

The defense has had their issues this season, but last night was quite frustrating to watch. Drew Brees has been reluctant to throw the ball downfield this season, instead choosing the easy throws, letting his pass-catchers do the work from there. As I said earlier in the week, and as odd as it may seem, Green Bay should have dared Brees to beat them deep while taking away the underneath throws.

However, that isn’t what happened. Pettine continued to dial up soft coverages, leaving the flats and middle of the field wide open, which Kamara was happy to take advantage of. You have Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, put them in press-man coverage, trust what they can do, and flood the middle of the field with defenders to take away those easy passes.

Kingsley Keke, we see you!

The run game has been rough, but a bright spot early on this season has been Kingsley Keke. Through the first two games, we saw flashes from him here and there, but on Sunday night, he would put together his most complete game. Keke would force Brees to fumble, he would then sack Brees on a beautifully ran stunt, and he sniffed out a screen to Kamara. While we still need to see more consistency, Keke’s development is fantastic news for this defense.

Aaron Rodgers is looking like an MVP

Week 1 started off with a bang with a vintage Aaron Rodgers-like performance in Minnesota, and he’s continued to play at a high level since then. On the season, Rodgers is completing 67 percent of his passes for 887 yards, with nine touchdowns and a passer rating of 121.1. He’s getting the ball out quickly, taking what the defense gives him, but also knowing when to take his shots downfield. And perhaps most importantly, he’s having fun out there. Buckle up and enjoy the ride, folks.

No need to worry about Sternberger

There’s no way to sugar coat it; the first two weeks for Jace Sternberger were disappointing. He was expected to play a major role in this offense – and he still can – but he had taken the fewest number of snaps each week out of the Packer tight ends. Not to mention that he had some brutal drops as well. But last night, he hauled in three receptions on three targets for 36 yards, which hopefully gives him the boost he needs moving forward.

Packer tight ends take advantage of Saints defense

This was one of the big matchups I highlighted earlier this week as we’ve seen both the Tampa Bay and Las Vegas tight ends have success, especially over the middle, against this Saints’ defense. Well, you can add the Packers to that list. The trio of Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, and Robert Tonyan would combine for nine receptions, 104 yards, and two touchdowns.

Packers’ defense makes big plays when they have to

I’ve already touched on this, but as brutal as last night was at times for the Green Bay Packers’ defense, as they oftentimes do, they came up with a turnover and a big stop. With their backs against the wall after a failed fourth-down conversion by the offense, Za’Darius Smith forces Taysom Hill to fumble and the Packers recover. The next Saints’ possession, the defense forces a three and out, to which the offense goes and scores, making it a two-possession game.

We need more Raven Greene

To his credit, Will Redmond has been decent through the first two games, but last night we saw the same issues that plagued him last season; missed tackles and looking lost in coverage. Raven Greene missed Week 1 with an injury but has been suited up the last two weeks, however, playing in only six defensive snaps against New Orleans.

With players like Kamara and Jared Cook to worry about, this seemed like a prime Raven Greene game, not that he would have solved all the defensive issues by any means, but I don’t believe that he would have been worse. Let’s hope we see more Greene on defense moving forward.

Surprised by the shuffling on the offensive line

Through a game and a half, Rick Wagner had performed quite well as the Green Bay Packers’ right tackle, allowing only two pressures and no sacks during that span. However, on Sunday night, we saw LaFleur choose Billy Turner to take those right tackle snaps, to which he performed quite well.

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Before training camp began, LaFleur did say that he wanted the best five offensive linemen on the field at all times, which I’m sure is something that we can all appreciate, but I do have to say that I’m surprised that didn’t include Wagner given his recent play.