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Week 9 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 16, Tennessee Titans 19

What you need to know

Green Bay Packers

The Packers do like to throw the ball. Aaron Rodgers had forty attempts on the day, finishing with 314 yards and a touchdown. Against a very tough secondary, the Packers had a hard time throwing the ball in the first half, but were able to adjust and did most of their damage after half time.

Ryan Grant had a respectable day, but it remains to be seen how much that had to do with him, and how much was a result of the Titans focus on stopping the Packers air attack. Grant made no spectacular plays but rattled off a trio of ten+ yard gains for first downs, and moved the ball well when the passing game struggled in the early going.

They were able to finally succeed with their passing game because they have more than one weapon. Early on it was Greg Jennings taking the lead in targets (seven, to Donald Driver's two); and in the second half, that trend reversed itself (Jennings, four; Driver, eight). Rookie Jordy Nelson also showed some flash in limited action.

The defense was stout. They were especially tough in the red zone, allowing only one touchdown, but otherwise forcing the Titans to settle for three short field goals.

Tennessee Titans

Kerry Collins was lucky to have no interceptions -- he could have easily lost three to a formidable Packers secondary -- but sometimes you have to be good to be lucky. He had some trouble moving the chains with the passing game, but came through in the clutch in the final drive in regulation (which concluded with Rob Bironas' missed field goal) and again in overtime to help the Titans remain undefeated.

Yes, running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White both see carries, and yes, both looked quite good. But Johnson was clearly the go to guy, whereas White was used more as a situational back. Johnson got the lion's share of the carries, and in addition caught the ball a number of times, while White had no targets. Also important to note is that while White did get the third down short yardage looks, it was Johnson in the red zone, and even inside the five, who saw the ball, not White.

Collins looked to Justin Gage a lot in the first half, but he caught none of his attempts. So in the second half, Justin McCareins saw the ball instead. After not being targeted at all, he saw five balls come his way, catching three. Tight end Bo Scaife remained Collins safety valve, and as a result was targeted nine times.

The Titans defense was stellar, and matched the Packers defense with their mastery in the red zone, allowing one TD, but also forcing them to kick two chip shot field goals.


What you ought to know

QB Aaron Rodgers, Pass: 22 - 41 - 314 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0

Rodgers had quite a lot of trouble against a strong defense that appeared well prepared for the Packers to throw all day. Even though it started out rough, they did not abandon it, as Rodgers adjusted well and in the second half found a wide open Donald Driver all over the field, after targeting him only twice in the first half. He did not favor any one receiver overall, but seemed to lock on to one or the other for stretches at a time. He was not afraid to throw into tight man coverage, but in most cases, those throws became incompletions.

RB Ryan Grant, Rush: 20 - 86 - 0 (2 targets)

Grant was the primary ball carrier for the Packers, and looked steady all day He had three runs over ten yards (13, 15, 13) and seemed to manage runs in the four to six yard range more often than not. On the downside, once the Packers are inside the ten, they throw more than they run, so he got no carries close to the goal line.

RB Brandon Jackson, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (4 targets)

Jackson only saw one carry, but was valuable on third downs, where he was often looked to by Rodgers when his downfield receivers were covered. Jackson did well, catching all four of his targets.

WR Donald Driver, Rec: 7 - 136 - 1 (10 targets)

Driver was missing in action for most of the first half. He would have gone completely unnoticed if not for his five yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter. But in the second half he announced his presence, and then some. He was targeted eight times and caught six, nearly all for long gains (five first downs of 44, 19, 29, 11, and 20 yards). It was mind boggling how wide open he was on each play, since the Titans secondary had stymied the Packers receivers in the first half.

WR Greg Jennings, Rec: 3 - 79 - 0 (11 targets)

Jennings was inconsistent, but made a couple of big plays in the clutch. He only had three catches on the day, one of which was began as a simple button hook pattern that he was able to turn into a huge 52 yard gain. He narrowly missed a fourth catch that was called out of bounds (he was arguably pushed out, but the call was not challenged), which would have put him closer to a hundred yards in total.

WR Jordy Nelson, Rec: 2 - 34 - 0 (3 targets)

Not many targets for Nelson, however he did look impressive when his number was called. Both catches were for first downs.

WR Ruvell Martin (1 targets)

Martin was targeted once in the end zone, but otherwise was unseen.

TE Donald Lee, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (3 targets)

Lee caught all three passes thrown his way, but was generally the third or fourth look for Rodgers, who did not often have time to get that before being pressured to throw.

TE Jermichael Finley, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)

Finley was targeted in the first half only, once in the end zone and once on a fourth down play (both of which he missed while in very tight coverage). The Packers appeared to like his matchup, since these were clearly plays designed to get Finley the ball.

PK Mason Crosby 3 - 3 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 10 points

Crosby was perfect on two short kicks (23, 25) and made one longer field goal of 38 yards.

GB Rush Defense

The Packers strangely held the Titans ground game in check all day -- except for one drive in the first half in which they allowed LenDale White a 54 yard gain, and then let Chris Johnson run untouched into the end zone for a 3 yard TD.

GB Pass Defense

The pass rush was good enough to hurry Collins' throws on many occasions, and also sacked him twice (Collins had only been sacked once all season). The secondary was good, too, and were three good bounces away from three interceptions.


QB Kerry Collins, Pass: 18 - 37 - 180 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0

It's difficult to fault an undefeated quarterback, and no, Collins did not have a bad game. But he had a lot trouble finding any receivers downfield ... too many of his passes were not on the mark ... his short throws were too often hurried and therefore his receiver was not able to get any separation and gain additional yardage. The exception was the final drive of the fourth quarter, and again in OT, in which he effortlessly marched the team down the field and into field goal position. The bulk of his yardage came from dump-offs to his TE or RB.

RB Chris Johnson, Rush: 24 - 89 - 1, Rec: 6 - 72 - 0 (8 targets)

Johnson was dangerous on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield. He not only saw the bulk of the carries over LenDale White, but more importantly, he also saw carries inside the five, which normally go to White. His versatility and success as a pass catcher ensured that he was the focal point of the offense whether it was a running or passing play.

RB LenDale White, Rush: 8 - 77 - 0

White broke off a long 54 yard run, and otherwise proved beyond a shadow of doubt that when a two yard gain is needed, he will get you those two yards. He only had eight carries to Chris Johnson's 24, so his opportunities were limited.

WR Brandon Jones, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (6 targets)

Jones proved capable as the third wide receiver. Two of his catches were for first downs and the other two were in the ten yard range.

WR Justin McCareins, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (5 targets)

After not being targeted at all in the first half, McCareins was looked to more often after the break. He had catches of 15, 20, and eight yards, and was the most reliable downfield threat for the Titans.

WR Lavelle Hawkins, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)

Hawkins had a single catch as the fourth receiver on this run first offense.

WR Justin Gage (5 targets)

Gage was unable to pull in any of the balls thrown his way. To be fair, he was always in tight coverage, and Collins is not the most accurate of passers. It was clear from the outset that the Titans wanted to get the ball in his hands; it's just that they weren't able to do it.

TE Bo Scaife, Rec: 4 - 26 - 0 (9 targets)

For a guy targeted nine times, Scaife sure looked underwhelming. Collins continued to look his way, despite the fact that he was well covered the entire game.

TE Alge Crumpler (1 targets)

Crumpler was a complete non-factor as a receiver. Adding insult to injury, the one pass that was thrown to him went sailing over his head.

PK Rob Bironas 4 - 5 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 13 points

Bironas made chip shots of 22, 25, and 31 yards. In the fourth quarter, he missed a potential game winning field goal of 47 yards, and then redeemed himself in overtime with a successful 41 yard kick.

TEN Rush Defense

They allowed no big plays, but did not exactly shut down the Packers ground game. One got the feeling that they were a little soft against the run mainly because they were working on shutting down the Packers potent passing game.

TEN Pass Defense

Until Rodgers and Driver found a way to hook up again and again in the second half, this defense looked nothing short of amazing. Pressure on the quarterback was consistent, and Rodgers often had no open receivers. CB Cortland Finnegan was a hair away from intercepting the ball on more than one occasion.


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