LAS VEGAS – The Packers' defense achieved most of what it sought to do Monday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The secondary limited Davante Adams' explosive gains, the defensive front contained Josh Jacobs on the ground, and the pass rush pressured Jimmy Garoppolo to the tune of four sacks, six quarterback hits and an interception.
For all the little victories Green Bay won, however, the Raiders still snuck out of Allegiant Stadium with a 17-13 victory due in large part to a pair of 10-plus-play touchdown drives, one in each half.
The first (14 plays for 62 yards) gave Las Vegas its first lead and the second (10-75) put the Raiders up for good. Five of their six third/fourth-down conversions came on those two series.
"On defense, it's all about we," cornerback Jaire Alexander said. "Left a couple plays out there, a couple third downs we should've gotten off and in the course of a game like this, it adds up."
Coming off a disappointing 34-20 loss to Detroit, the Packers stepped up to the challenge of defending the league's top receiver (Adams) and rusher (Jacobs) from a year ago.
Adams was held to four catches for 45 yards, while Jacobs rushed for a modest 69 yards on 20 carries. Jacobs did kickstart the Raiders' go-ahead drive, though, with a 24-yard run before capping it off with a 2-yard TD to start the fourth quarter.
On that same drive, Adams caught a 21-yard pass on a slant while matched against linebacker Preston Smith and then brought in a 7-yard catch on third-and-3 on the final play of the third quarter to set up Jacobs' TD.
Green Bay had some big stops, including Rashan Gary's third-down sack of Garoppolo in the fourth quarter. Daniel Carlson also banged a 52-yard field goal off the right upright in the fourth quarter, but the Packers were unable to retake the lead again after Jacobs' score.
"I thought we were going to win," said cornerback Rasul Douglas of the Packers' fourth-quarter chances. "It's like damn, it's destiny for us to win. We just gotta win it. We didn't do it."
The defense had success early against the Raiders, with Kenny Clark and Smith earning back-to-back third-down sacks to end Las Vegas' first two series. It's the first time Green Bay started a game with consecutive third-down sacks since 2018 vs. the Los Angeles Rams.
Green Bay also demonstrated good adversity defense in the second quarter, holding Las Vegas to a field goal after linebacker Robert Spillane intercepted Jordan Love and returned it to the Packers' 7-yard line.
After halftime, safety Rudy Ford picked off Garoppolo to spark the Packers' only TD drive of the game. It was the second straight week Ford had an INT and also represented his fifth in his last 14 games.
"There's always plays where you can be better, plays where it could tilt a game," Clark said. "I'm proud about how we played and how we fought. We gave up 17. We did a good job there, but at the end of the day, we still gotta find that consistency because some of those plays shouldn't have been as big as they were. We gotta just fix it."
Check out photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
Savage tried to return in the third quarter but was forced back to the sideline. Fifth-year veteran Jonathan Owens replaced Savage, while Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson filled in for Walker and De'Vondre Campbell, who missed his second game with an ankle injury. McDuffie finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
"It's tough because those are our playmakers," Gary said. "But our defense prides itself on the next man up. They know guys go down, they gotta come in and that's what they did; came in and stepped up."
Dillon's day: The Packers were again without Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury for the third time in four weeks.
In Jones' stead, AJ Dillon rushed for a season-high 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He did his best work on Green Bay's touchdown drive, producing 34 of the 37 total yards and punching in the score.
"I thought AJ played a hell of a game just getting us going in the run game and setting us up for some sort of play-pass," receiver Romeo Doubs said. "But again, this adversity that's kinda hitting us now, it'll build us up in the long run. I believe that."