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Game notes: Robert Tonyan clears another checkpoint in comeback with career day

Packers tight end makes history for his position in loss to Jets

TE Robert Tonyan
TE Robert Tonyan

GREEN BAY – It wasn't until the dust had settled following Sunday's 27-10 loss to the New York Jets that Robert Tonyan was made aware of what he had just accomplished.

The fifth-year tight end's 10 catches not only shattered his previous career high by four but also established a new franchise record for single-game receptions for the position.

Prior to Sunday, there were four Packers tight ends tied with nine receptions apiece.

While Tonyan gladly would've exchanged his piece of history for a Packers victory, it was a meaningful checkpoint in the 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end's return from the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Arizona last October.

"I know I gotta build back a foundation," said Tonyan, who finished with a game-high 90 receiving yards. "I missed (training) camp so these first handful of weeks were camp to me. Now that I feel good, I got that football soreness in me. I think that's a good thing.

"My body is getting used to it. Just gonna keep grinding and when the plays come, just make them."

The Packers worked Tonyan on a bit of a rep count through the first month of the season, as the veteran tight end played 145 offensive snaps over the first five games (44%).

However, the Packers leaned into the consistent Tonyan against the Jets. In the first half alone, he matched his career high with six receptions for 61 yards.

After the Packers lost Randall Cobb to an ankle injury, Tonyan became an important go-to option for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was responsible for four of Green Bay's 10 longest receptions and two of the offense's four third-down conversions.

In his first six games back, Tonyan now leads the Packers with 27 receptions. Week after week, he continues to look more and more like the playmaker who broke out in 2020.

"That's huge, even going from Week 1 to now," said receiver Allen Lazard of Tonyan's impact. "I'm definitely happy for him. He's really been able to fill in the voids in our offense, especially in that tight end role.

"He's chip-blocking a lot of the time and catching those flat routes, and then still getting five, six, 10 yards to help get those third-down conversions. His role is definitely not overlooked."

More TDs for Lazard: With his 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter, the Packers' fourth-year receiver has now caught nine TDs in his last 10 regular-season games dating back to last year.

It came off a back-shoulder throw against Jets cornerback Brandin Echols.

"Aaron just threw up a nice ball," said Lazard, who had four catches for 76 yards. "We got the premier look for it. I put my head down and knew where the ball was gonna be and Aaron did the rest of it."

Offensive observations: The Packers found tough sledding on the ground against the Jets, specifically in the first half when they gained just 19 yards on 11 carries.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon found a bit more running room in the second half but still finished with a season-low 60 yards on 19 carries (3.2 yards per attempt).

"We just want to be a consistent offense," left tackle David Bakhtiari said. "I wouldn't say we put an emphasis on running the ball. Of course, we want to establish our identity, but the big thing was just making sure that we can be a consistent offense.

"And with that, running the ball, we've got two great running backs who can tote the rock, and we obviously have a Hall of Fame quarterback. Pick your poison. But we've just got to be consistent. It's not a passing or running game."

While Bakhtiari played the entire game at left tackle, the Packers made a brief change at right guard when Jake Hanson rotated in for the two-minute drive before halftime.

Green Bay went back to Royce Newman after halftime when it was announced Hanson had been ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a biceps injury.

See scenes from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets at Lambeau Field on Oct. 16, 2022.

Back-and-forth blocks: While Eric Wilson wasn't officially credited for the block on Bradin Mann's 6-yard punt in the first half, it was the closest Green Bay has been to one since Geronimo Allison got his hand on a Matt Wile punt in 2018 against the Vikings.

"That's a great play. Eric is a great player," safety Dallin Leavitt said. "He's done really well for us. He's jumped in and understood the system really well."

The Packers not only were unable to generate any points off the play, Pat O'Donnell also had one of his blocked in the third quarter and returned for a touchdown.

It was one of two blocks the Jets recorded Sunday, with Quincy Williams also blocking Mason Crosby's 47-yard field goal at the start of the second quarter.

"They got some penetration there in the A and B gap and got a hand in the way," Crosby said. "I obviously can always look at myself first, just evaluate, 'All right, did I hit the right ball, can I get more lift?' Do all that stuff. So I'm always going to look at that, and we just need to clean up that protection."

Six-pack of sacks: Rashan Gary now has registered 12 sacks in his last 11 home games, including at least one in five straight contests at Lambeau Field.

His first-quarter sack of Zach Wilson was one-of-a-kind, though, as Gary slid to the ground, recovered and still spun past both left tackle Duane Brown and tight end Tyler Conklin to drop the Jets quarterback for a 7-yard loss.

"First one," said Gary when asked if he'd ever had a sack like that. "I was shocked myself. (But we) got the loss, gotta get better."


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