The Green Bay Packers overcame the absence of several key players, including All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, and beat the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night at State Farm Stadium.
The win extended the Packers’ win streak to seven games and ended the Cardinals’ win streak at seven games to start the season.
Amazingly, the Packers scored 24 points (and probably should have scored 31 or more) despite Aaron Rodgers producing only 187 passing yards on 37 attempts and Randall Cobb, Juwann Winfree and Equanimeous St. Brown playing the majority of the snaps at receiver.
Here are all the studs and duds from the Packers’ Week 8 win:
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RB A.J. Dillon: He ran hard, often bulldozing through tacklers and making up for poor run-blocking. He broke at least four tackles and gained 61 of his 78 rushing yards after first contact. His fourth-down conversion after getting hit behind the line of scrimmage was a huge play in the early portion of the game. Of his 16 rushes, six gained first downs. On one run in the third quarter, he spun away from a tackler in the backfield, ran through the arms of a defensive lineman and gained nine yards on a play that was dead in the water. The Packers probably should have fed him the ball more. He’s getting better and better at running low and behind his pads, which truly unlocks the power of his tremendous size and strength.
CB Rasul Douglas: Even before his game-sealing interception, Douglas delivered a pass breakup on A.J. Green and a team-high nine tackles. On the pick, he made a terrific individual play to find the ball and secure the catch in traffic along the sideline. The difficulty was high, and it was the definition of a clutch play. He gave up a fourth-down conversion and was dinged for a questionable pass interference penalty (for the second straight week), but it’s hard to knock him for either play. His competitive fire burns hot on every play.
LT Elgton Jenkins: What could be his final act at left tackle was nothing short of impressive. He essentially took All-Pro Chandler Jones out of the contest, limiting him to two pressures over 62 snaps. Jenkins was also leading the way on a few of the Packers’ best runs of the night. Over five games at left tackle, Jenkins allowed only 10 pressures. The Packers are so lucky to have him.
DL Dean Lowry: His emergence as a consistently disruptive pass-rusher has been huge. On two different snaps, he drove the right guard into the backfield for a pressure. The second time he took down Kyler Murray in the process. After four straight games with at least a half-sack, teams may need to start giving him more attention. He’s beating blockers one-on-one, often with pure power. He’s also been effective helping others with stunts and slanting rushes.
RB Aaron Jones: He averaged only 3.9 yards per attempt, but almost every yard was hard-earned. A replay decision took away what would have been a second touchdown run. The Packers made him the centerpiece of the plan in the passing game, and he caught seven passes for 51 yards and probably should have had 15-20 more with better blocking in front of designed screen plays. He also couldn’t bring in a deep shot down the sideline against the coverage of Isaiah Simmons. Twisting and falling to the ground, it would have been a terrific catch for a running back. He gained 110 total yards.
TE Dominique Dafney: He wasn’t targeted and didn’t show up in the box score, but his 14 snaps showed why the Packers like him so much in the H-back role. He’s so good blocking on the move. Several times, he was able to seal off the backside of a run by walling off the defensive end.
WR Randall Cobb: His first touchdown catch was a difficult one with Byron Murphy right in his face. It’s doubtful any of the other Packers receivers on the field Thursday night make that catch. He also was the beneficiary of a great play design in the red zone, which created his second touchdown when the Packers faked a screen play they had run over and over. Cobb faked a block, cut inside and was wide open for the score. He could have had three scores but the timing was just off on a third-down attempt in the first half.
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6).
LB Krys Barnes: He struggled to get off blocks in the run game and got picked on in coverage. His work in the red zone against the run was especially poor, and the Cardinals found four completions against his primary coverage throughout the contest. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for the Cardinals touchdown. He lost Zach Ertz in man-to-man coverage for an explosive play and then failed to bring down James Connor at the goal line. Of course, the defense played a ton of light boxes in the red zone and sometimes left Barnes in the middle by himself. The Packers prefer him as the sidekick alongside De’Vondre Campbell but the second-year linebacker hasn’t played well through eight games.
WR Juwann Winfree: To be fair, the Packers threw him out there for 54 snaps and asked him to play the Davante Adams role as the ‘X’ receiver. It was a difficult assignment for a practice squader. He caught four passes on six targets for 30 yards. He also dropped a pass, fumbled away a chance at a big play and failed to catch his only contested opportunity.
CB Eric Stokes: It’s tough to put him here because facing DeAndre Hopkins, even for only a handful of snaps, is a tough ask of any rookie corner. Stokes gave up the 55-yard play to Hopkins early, and although the end of the play was a tough look, the coverage was great for 95 percent of the rep. The All-Pro just made an All-Pro play. The rookie gave up a few more catches, including a conversion to Hopkins after he re-entered the game in the second half. It would have been interesting to track the matchup had Hopkins played the full game. Stokes had his hands full.
WR Amari Rodgers: He dropped a pass in the flat and nearly created a giveaway by fumbling along the sideline at the end of a punt return. The rookie is getting more comfortable as a returner, but Thursday night showed he’s still a ways off as a receiver. And any fumble on special teams is a big no-no. The Packers did scheme up a run play for him that gained 11 yards.