Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers produce uneven effort as Bills dominate preseason finale 19-0

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The Green Bay Packers reserves were shutout — 19-0 — by the majority of the Buffalo Bills starters in the preseason finale Saturday afternoon. The main attraction was once again Jordan Love as he made his return after missing last week’s contest against the Jets. The 2020 first-round pick produced an uneven outing, but considering the competition, I think he performed admirably. The defense also faced a stiffed test as Josh Allen — along with Gabriel Davis, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders — played the majority of the first half. They held their own for the most part but still gave way on too many long third-downs.

Let’s take a look at some specific performances that stood out from Week 3 of the preseason.

Green Bay Packers Defense

Innis Gaines started the contest out with a bang, sticking his foot in the ground and attacking the receiver right at the point of the catch. However, Josh Allen turned on the mojo and started dinking-and-dunking his way all the way down the field. After reaching the red zone, Chauncey Rivers and Jonathan Garvin combined to take Allen down for a sack to force a long third-down, But Allen proceeded to throw a dart to Gabriel Davis who crossed Isaac Yiadom’s face for an easy score on the Bills’ first drive.

The combo of Jack Heflin and TJ Slaton has been stout against the run all preseason and continued that Saturday as they stuffed a 2nd and 10 run on the Bills’ second drive. On the ensuing third down, Joe Barry sent a blitz that rushed Allen into an errant throw as the Green Bay Packers second-team defense were able to force Buffalo’s offense off the field.

Shemar Jean-Charles also got beat — relatively easily — by Brandon Powell on a 3rd and 15 to set up Buffalo’s third touchdown of the afternoon. Even against stiff competition, you have to be able to get off the field in a situation like that.

Isaiah McDuffie was probably the best defensive player Saturday as he flew around on blitzes and registered a team-high nine tackles. We haven’t seen the sixth-round pick at all this preseason, so it was nice to see him get some action, but I don’t know if his performance was enough to catapult him over Ty Summers on the depth chart.

Green Bay Packers Offense

On the first third down of the Green Bay Packers first offensive drive, Love was able to get the Bills to jump offsides, but the play was called dead before we could see come free-play magic. Lafleur opened up the play book in the finale to get Begelton wide open for a 30-yard gain.

The Green Bay Packers’ ground game looked much better as they handed the ball off six consecutive times in the red zone to get the ball onto the goal line on third down. However, the run game stalled on the goal line — as it did later in the game as well — which resulted in a failed fourth-down conversion as Tre’Davious White made an incredible play on a well-thrown ball from Love.

Begleton continued to do work on second drive thanks another great play design to pick up a long third down on a screenplay. Lafleur continued to the right buttons as he dialed up a great play-action play on 4th-and-1 that left a leaking TE wide open for a big gain. However, on the very next play, Love made his worst decision of his preseason with an ill-advised 50/50 ball into the coverage of White and Micah Hyde.

Love’s best play of the day came on a free play — ala Aaron Rodgers. He slid in the pocket and threw a dime towards the sideline where only Malik Taylor could catch it. Taylor elevated over the defense and caught the ball at its high point and still had the presence of mind to get both feet inbounds.

The Green Bay Packers should be very pleased with what they saw from the their “rookie” in preseason. He displayed his talent, but also put plenty of things on tape that he can improve upon throughout the season. Love showed immense majority with his hard counts, but the offense broke down a few time in late-clock situations. How much of that can be put on Jake Hanson at center is up for debate, but Love will need to work being in control in those situations.

The Green Bay Packers open the regular season on Sept. 12 against the New Orleans Saints and it’ll be a relief to see the starters finally on the field.

 

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