The Green Bay Packers defense did it again, forcing three more turnovers and sacking quarterback Joe Flacco six times, on the way to a 27-16 win over the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
The Packers defense hasn’t been perfect, allowing 149 rushing yards against the Broncos and a 4.91 yards per carry average in the first three games. But so far, pressure on the quarterback has made up for the inability to stop the run, giving the Packers a 3-0 start to the season.
Preston Smith led the way with three sacks, including a strip sack of Joe Flacco with rookie Rashan Gary recovering the fumble and setting up a Packers touchdown.
Za’Darius Smith had two sacks and Gary would later add the first of his career. Second year cornerback Jaire Alexander stripped a ball away from tight end Noah Fant and recovered it at the same time. That set up a short touchdown drive.
Rookie safety Darnell Savage also added his first career interception a short time later.
The Packers had 52 sacks last season and they’re on pace to go well past that number this year.
On the flip side, Aaron Rodgers came into the game being sacked seven times in two games. The Broncos didn’t get a single sack on Sunday as they remain sackless for the season. Rodgers said after the game that he only hit the ground once and felt great after the game.
While the defense did its job again, the Packers offense made a slight improvement from a week earlier, but still struggled to get on track at times.
The Packers top offensive weapon, wide receiver Davante Adams, caught just four passes for 56 yards on Sunday. He has 15 receptions for 196 yards and no touchdowns for the season. It’s the first time since 2015 that Adams has gone three games in a row without a touchdown.
The Packers totaled just 305 yards of offense and finished 2 of 9 on third down. Aaron Rodgers went 17-for-29 (58.6%) for 235 yards with one touchdown and a 96.2 rating.
Prior to the Packers final offensive series, Rodgers had actually completed fewer than 50% of his passes. Some of his passes were off target during the game and at times, Rodgers had to simply throw balls away to live for another play.
Prior to the Monday night game, a total of 18 quarterbacks had a higher quarterback rating than Rodgers total of 96.5. He is averaging just over 215 yards per game, which is far and away a career low since becoming the starter in 2008.
Rodgers is well aware of the numbers, even more so that it just doesn’t feel right at the moment. And he’s not falling into a false sense of security with the defense keeping them in games.
The Packers finished with just 77 yards rushing, 59 for Jamaal Williams and 19 for Aaron Jones. They lost the time of possession game, 35:34 to 24:26.
But the Packers took the most important statistic and that is the final score. They’re 3-0 and have a short turn-around before facing the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night at Lambeau Field. The Eagles are coming off a home loss to the Lions and are 1-2 and now have to travel to Green Bay on short notice, in need of a victory.