The Green Bay Packers overcame Philip Rivers‘ single-game Chargers records for completions (43), attempts (65) and passing yards (503) to escape with a 27-20 victory in Week 6. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rivers was surgical, carving up Football Outsiders’ top-ranked pass defense with Steve Johnson inactive. He and Keenan Allen made beautiful music together for three quarters, putting the Bolts’ No. 1 wideout on the doorstep of Kellen Winslow’s franchise record for receptions before a hip injury forced Allen to miss the fourth quarter. Rivers drove the length of the field in a picture-perfect two-minute drill only to be denied on four consecutive tries from inside Green Bay’s 3-yard line. Rookie Damarious Randall deflected a fourth-down pylon pass for Danny Woodhead to preserve the victory.
2. The bye week is coming at the ideal time for the Packers, 6-0 for just the second time in the Super Bowl era. The defense suffered without key players in B.J. Raji, Morgan Burnett and Nick Perry. Just days after Aaron Rodgers conceded that his offense is struggling, it was evident that his skill-position surrounding talent is simply too banged up.
It’s simplistic to point to Jordy Nelson‘s absence as a lethal deep threat and boundary receiver. Also missing breakout candidate Davante Adams and tight end Andrew Quarless, Rodgers saw Ty Montgomery go down with an ankle sprain in the first quarter. At one point in the first half, Rodgers’ red-zone weapons included Jared Abbrederis and Justin Perillo, a duo which had combined for one career snap entering the game. With James Jones and Randall Cobb playing through injuries, Richard Rodgers unable to make big plays in tight spaces and Jeff Janis unable to provide the back-shoulder magic to which he’s accustomed, Rodgers went 20 minutes without a first down across the second and third quarters.
3. If the aerial attack is limping into the bye week, Eddie Lacy is stumbling. Thoroughly outplayed by James Starks on Sunday, Lacy continues to look sluggish and ineffective. We know that he’s an excellent football player when he’s healthy and in shape. Whether it’s the tender ankle or too much weight on his frame, Lacy has to get right over the next 12-13 days with road trips versus fellow undefeated squads such as Denver and Carolina on the horizon in Weeks 8 and 9.
4. Lacy’s San Diego counterpart was also benched with the game on the line. Rookie Melvin Gordon fumbled twice and missed portions of the first half with a foot injury. He was replaced by Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead for the majority of the second half.
5. The Packers entered the game second only to the Broncos with 20 sacks. They managed just three against San Diego’s depleted offensive line. That’s a credit to Rivers, one of the best in NFL history at setting protections and getting the ball out quickly to beat blitzes.