Coming off of a very positive week one for the Green Bay Packers, they made the trip to Atlanta in week two to face off against the Falcons. While they would blow a fourth-quarter lead and lose by one point, here are five takeaways from week two.
The Offense Kept Rolling
While there were a few key injuries in Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and David Bakhtiari, the offense picked back up where they were without them. Some key guys in helping do so included Jordan Love, who played another nice game throwing for three touchdowns for the second week in a row, with no interceptions as well.
Other contributors were rookie wide receivers Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks, as well as Romeo Doubs. Those three led the team in receiving, while AJ Dillon took the majority of the carries in the run game. They seemed to be flowing until the fourth quarter on offense, where they went three and out twice, and turned it over on downs as well. Overall, with Elgton Jenkins also suffering an injury, the short-handed, and very young offense more than held their own, scoring twenty-four points.
Run Defense Got Shredded
The defense started last week about as good as you can imagine with the loaded talent and depth on that side of the ball. While forcing multiple turnovers, and even scoring a touchdown of their own against the Bears, the defense came into week two ready to face off against Ridder and his new first-round pick weapon, Bijan Robinson. Bijan would proceed to do exactly what you didn’t want to see, rushing for 124 yards on 19 carries, as well as adding four receptions for 48 yards as well.
Overall, the Falcons run-heavy offense ran for 211 yards total, but the passing game took a leap as well with a total of 237 yards. This defense has to figure it out, especially with the young offense, they will need to play up to the potential that they have.
Rookies Stepped Up
While the defense got shredded, Lukas Van Ness was effective until exiting with an elbow injury. On the other side of the ball, the offense had some bright spots, specifically the wide receiver room. Rookie wide receivers, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks both scored their first career NFL touchdowns.
Reed, who caught not only his first career touchdown, but his second one as well, led the team in receiving, while Dontayvion Wicks stepped up and contributed as well. If these rookies can continue to impact the game, it will only make the offense that much better when Christian Watson and Aaron Jones are back in the fold for the Packers.
The Offensive Line Held Up
With the absence of David Bakhtiari, the Packers came into week two already down one All-Pro lineman, well that was about to change. Packers All-Pro guard, Elgton Jenkins would also exit with a knee injury, leaving the Packers down their two best linemen.
While Rasheed Walker and Royce Newman stepped in, the line went from two All-Pros to two backups in a matter of one game. While the line was banged up, they held strong together, only allowing one sack and a mostly clean pocket. While it sounds like Jenkins will be out awhile, they’ll be hopeful that Bakhtiari can return this upcoming week against the Saints in the home opener.
The Secondary Has To Finish Plays
After a great week against the Bears, it seemed the Packers secondary was in for another big day when Rasul Douglas picked off Desmond Ridder on the first drive of the game. This would not be the case as the run-heavy Falcons passed for 237 yards, but I will mention, a lot of short game and screens. It is worth noting that Jaire Alexander dropped a sure interception, as well as Quay Walker on what was a tougher leaping grab that was dropped.
All in all, the defense could’ve had three turnovers, but ended up with only one. While the scheme seemed unsure at times, regardless, the defense will need to tighten up, especially with the young offense which is off to a great start. The toughest part of the game was the fourth quarter, where the defense was on the field for around twelve of the fifteen minutes, which would ultimately lead to the Packers giving up a twenty-four to twelve lead and losing by one point. They’ll look to tighten up in the secondary once again this week with Derek Carr, Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and company coming into town for the home opener.
Overall, the Packers had a game that ultimately ended up in a loss. While they have their fair share of things to clean up, they also can find some positive takeaways as well.