Blake Martinez’s hustle, defense’s goal-line stand lift Packers

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is stopped just short of the goal line on a 4th-down stop in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 42-24 win over Oakland
Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is stopped just short of the goal line on a 4th-down stop in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 42-24 win over Oakland

GREEN BAY – For all of the touchdowns and explosive plays on Sunday, there was one moment in particular quarterback Aaron Rodgers singled out as perhaps the most important of all during the Packers’ 42-24 win over Oakland.

It was the hustle inside linebacker Blake Martinez showcased on the play in which Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled into Green Bay’s end zone near the end of the first half.

With Oakland threatening to retake the lead before halftime, Carr scrambled right on second-and-goal from the Green Bay 2 when Martinez met him near the goal line with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining.

The pressure forced Carr to lunge for the pylon, losing the ball in the process. While Carr initially was ruled down, booth review determined he’d lost the ball before getting out of bounds.

Starting at its own 20 after the touchback, the Packers’ offense marched 80 yards in 1 minute, 37 seconds to extend its lead to 21-10. Receiving the ball after halftime, Green Bay scored again coming out of the break with Rodgers scrambling for a 3-yard TD to push the Packers ahead 28-10.

“I think everybody had big plays throughout the game,” said Martinez, who tied a career-high with 16 tackles and was credited for the forced fumble on the play. “That was one of those plays that I wanted to make for the team. It helped us get a score right before half.”

The Raiders’ offense had a big day, gaining 484 total yards and converting seven of 11 third downs. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs rushed for 124 yards on 21 carries, while standout tight end Darren Waller caught seven passes for 126 yards and his first two touchdowns of the year.

Waller’s 48-yard catch came on the same drive Carr later fumbled, but reserve safety Will Redmond managed to trip up the 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end to keep the Raiders from the end zone.

Green Bay’s defense kept its composure throughout and continued its strong play in the red zone, with Martinez’s forced fumble being the first of three critical stops the Packers made.

The second came with Green Bay leading 35-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. On third-and-goal, the Raiders were again spotted at the Packers’ 2-yard line but Green Bay stopped Jacobs on back-to-back halfback dives.

On fourth-and-goal, cornerback Jaire Alexander was the first to hit Jacobs before cornerback Kevin King and inside linebacker B.J. Goodson teamed up to spin Jacobs around, keeping the ball from crossing the goal line and forcing the turnover on downs.

“It’s a great feeling,” King said. “I have to watch the play, I didn’t even know he got helicoptered to be honest. I don’t know what the (heck) happened. But I opened my eyes, he was right there and we got the stop.”

Any hope of a late rally officially ended on the Raiders’ next possession when Carr tried to force a pass to Waller in Green Bay’s end zone, which King picked off after safety Adrian Amos in front of him got a hand on the ball.

It was King’s third interception in six games, tied for the second most in the league. Although the Packers didn’t sack Carr, the defense continued to show it could play complementary football.

“We just come together,” linebacker Preston Smith said. “We might make some mistakes, but in the red zone we just make sure we give them nothing easy. Make them earn everything, and just go out there and play hard, regardless of (whether) we’re back up against the wall.”

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

Setting the stage: Rodgers’ career day wouldn’t have been possible without the Packers’ offensive line having perhaps its best game of the season.

Rodgers was sacked on only one occasion and even then it came on an extended play in the first quarter. Beyond that, Rodgers had a comfortable pocket to throw from the entire afternoon in the fifth start David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Elgton Jenkins, Billy Turner and Corey Linsley made together.

“I feel like as an offensive line we’re doing a good job communicating at the line, understanding the calls, and understanding what we’ve got to do,” Linsley said. “I feel comfortable in that, but we still have areas to improve.”

Finding the fullback: For weeks, the Packers have teased using fullback Danny Vitale more in the pass game. On Sunday, they finally did it against the Raiders.

Vitale saw his most action of the season in several two-back sets, frequently running routes out of the backfield and motioning wide pre-snap, en route to catching two passes for 43 yards.

“It does a lot (for the offense),” running back Aaron Jones said. “He’s always in the right spot at the right time and he’s a weapon with the ball in his hands, as well. I think people underestimate him with his speed. With all those muscles, he still takes off on you. Danny is a special player.”

Delightful way to debut: Backup quarterback Tim Boyle officially played in his first NFL game Sunday, with Rodgers’ 74-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling signaling the end of his career day.

A healthy scratch in all but one game as a rookie, Boyle has served as Rodgers’ primary backup through the first six games but had yet to step onto the field until entering the game with 4 minutes, 36 seconds remaining.

He didn’t throw a pass but kneeled out the Packers’ sixth win of the year.

“It was nice to get that part out of the way,” Boyle said. “I knew eventually there’s going to be a point in the season, whether it’s a situation that I’m forced to go in or we’re blowing a team out. I knew there was going to be an opportunity for me to go in. I’m glad I was there and kind of get my feet wet a little bit so I can understand what to expect next time.”