Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Packers 31, Detroit 24. It seemed likely that the Packers offense would struggle against Detroit's defense since Detroit held Seattle to under 10 points at home in week 1. Instead QB Brett Favre continued to pick apart Detroit's secondary, just as QB Rex Grossman did last week in Chicago. Unfortunately it was another bad week for the defense, which hasn't been able to stop anybody so far this season.

First Quarter: WR Greg Jennings has made a big play early two weeks in a row. Both plays were just as much bad plays by the defense as a great play by Jennings. The defense struggled badly in the quarter by allowing more than 200 yards in the quarter. DE Aaron Kampman had a quiet day against a rookie right tackle, but he won't dominate like he did against New Orleans every week. The pass to RB Shawn Bryson was really ugly, as Bryson ran past both safeties for the TD. On the pass to WR Roy Williams, it was cover 2 and FS Nick Collins got turned around by Williams as he sped toward the corner of the end zone for the TD reception. The Packers shut down number 1 WRs last season and CB Al Harris usually lined up against him, but this season Harris is kept to his side of the field. I don't know if that is making a difference, because CB Charles Woodson is playing as well as Harris, but something isn't working this season. S Marquand Manuel helped make up for all his troubles in coverage by being in the right place at the right time for a pass deflection and a run into the end zone. It was a good pass by QB Jon Kitna, but this score ended up making the difference in the game.

Second Quarter: The defense got a big assist from two long offensive drives that kept Detroit off the field. That was very good because even the run defense, which had played great in the first two games, struggled. RB Kevin Jones had two of the worst games of his career in week 1 and 2 this season, but averaged almost 5 yards a carry in this game. The big difference appeared to be the safety and linebacker pursuit; for whatever reason they were not as good as filling the holes as they had been against Chicago and New Orleans. Hopefully it was just a one game problem. The offensive line continues to play better. Detroit's defensive line, led by DT Shawn Rogers, is the strength of their team, but they had no sacks in the game. The Packers still didn't run the ball very well, but overall the offensive line seems to be improving. One thing that was not missed this week was dropped passes, I only counted one early drop by RB Ahman Green. Unfortunately fumbles were a problem, with RB Noah Herron's fumble costing at least a field goal.

Third Quarter: Another improvement on defense was 3rd down convertions; Detroit only completed 3 for 12. The Packers gave up the big play, but Detroit had trouble sustaining drives. Still, Detroit scored zero offensive TDs in their first two games and scored 3 in this game. After WR Donald Driver's TD reception, the Packers offense completed their 3rd 10+ play drive which helped the defense recover from a bad 1st quarter and built a 10 point lead, which was too much for Detroit to come back from. It is interesting that although Driver had a TD reception, Football Outsiders said Driver was least valuable receiver in week 3. Driver only caught 3 of 10 passes intended for him, which was a problem, but just as Aaron said, Detroit seemed determined to stop Driver at the expense of opening the field up for the rest of the receivers.

Fourth Quarter: The Packers final TD was set up by winning the field position battle. Last season, the Packers rarely won this battle due to poor special teams. This season, P Jon Ryan is punting outstanding and pinned Detroit down at the 2 yard line. Detroit could not make a first down and the Packers got the ball in Detroit territory for a short TD drive. The kick coverage is improving, and the kick returning is as good as ever now that Woodson is returning punts and WR Koren Robinson is the kick returner. K Dave Rayner also had a touchback; unheard of during the K Ryan Longwell era. The Packers pass defense could use an interior pass rush badly and DT Corey Williams stepped up to provide 2 sacks, including what would have been the game ending sack if Green hadn't fumbled a couple plays later to give Detroit one last chance. Hopefully some combination of Williams and DT Cullen Jenkins step up each game to give the Packers some inside pass rush this season.

1 comment:

Dakota said...

Go Pack!!!