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Packers' strong defensive start not enough to ground Jets

Three explosive plays helped propel New York to decisive victory

The Packers' defense huddles up during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.
The Packers' defense huddles up during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

GREEN BAY – The Packers' defense made its adjustments and looked the part of a dominant, tone-setting unit during the first 2½ quarters of Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

Whether it was an uptick in man coverage or deploying more dime on third downs, Green Bay forced New York into three-and-out on four of its first five possessions, all of which ended in punts.

But for all the strides the defense made against the Jets, safety Adrian Amos identified three specific explosive moments in the second half that helped contribute to the Packers' 27-10 defeat.

  • Corey Davis' 41-yard catch in the third quarter.
  • Braxton Berrios' 20-yard touchdown run on the next play.
  • Breece Hall's 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The rest of the Jets' points came via a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a field goal after the Packers fumbled the ball at their own 34-yard line.

"It was a couple plays here or there we gotta shape up," Amos said. "All in all, we gave up 14 points on defense. When we play like that, that means you're playing great defense for the most part. We gotta takeaway those two plays and that's not an overnight type thing. That's something we gotta work on, we gotta work on being consistent."

The first two quarters and the Jets' opening possession of the second half couldn't have gone better for Green Bay. On the third series, linebacker Rashan Gary recorded his sixth sack in as many games on third-and-6.

It also was Gary's fifth straight game at Lambeau Field with at least one sack, tying Za'Darius Smith's record for the stadium's longest streak.

The Jets finished the first half with just 80 total yards, while going 0-for-7 on third downs. The Packers had All-Pro Jaire Alexander working against Garrett Wilson, who had one catch for eight yards in the first half. Quarterback Zach Wilson had just 28 passing yards.

"Hands down, I felt like it was working," cornerback Eric Stokes said. "That was something we had practiced all week, that we had prepared for all week. It was a lot of little stuff we were ready for. We just continue to go back to the drawing board."

The Jets went three-and-out again to start the second half before Davis caught a 41-yard pass down the sideline midway through the third quarter. On the next play, New York ran a reverse to Berrios who ran in the 20-yard TD to put the Jets up 10-3.

The Jets gained even more momentum when they blocked Pat O'Donnell's punt on Green Bay's next series, resulting in a 20-yard Will Parks recovery for a touchdown.

While the Packers' offense responded with a 25-yard Allen Lazard touchdown reception, Hall finally broke a big gain on his 34-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

For all the stops Green Bay's defense made, it still was unable to force a Jets turnover. The Packers currently are sitting on four takeaways in their six games this season.

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

"We've been good in spots (but) we haven't capitalized enough," Amos said. "I think if we look at this film … it's the three big plays we gotta eliminate. I think if we get a little more takeaways, I think that will nullify some of that."

The Jets finished with just one third-down conversion and 14 first downs, but Hall's big runs late propelled New York to the 179 rushing yards it needed to put the game away.

As a team, the Packers are keenly aware they haven't played well enough in the category of complementary football. Still, on the defensive side, the overwhelming sentiment after the game was one of no panic.

Gary talked about staying hungry afterward and the opportunity still in front of the defense, as the Packers begin a three-game road swing next week against the Washington Commanders.

"I'm excited and I'm ready for another opportunity to get this bad taste out of our mouth," Gary said. "We understand the standard. We understand where we want to go. We just gotta do it. We've seen it too many times in camp. Going against the Saints, going against our offense, dominance, man. We just gotta do that. Period."


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