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Other Week 9 Game Recaps

Week 9 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 11, Los Angeles Chargers 26

What you need to know

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers lost to the LA Chargers 26-11 on Sunday to drop their record to 7-2 on the season. Aaron Rodgers completed 23 of 35 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing one time for five yards. Running back Aaron Jones rushed eight times for 30 yards and caught one pass for -1 yards. Jamaal Williams rushed two times for 10 yards and caught six passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. Davante Adams made his return to the lineup and caught seven passes for 41 yards, while Allen Lazard caught three passes for 41 yards. Marquez Valdes-Scalding went catch-less on two targets. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 17 yards.

Los Angeles Chargers

This was the first game since the Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The results were very encouraging, as the Los Angeles offense played a nearly flawless game. The big three receivers of Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen were open almost at will, and Philip Rivers picked the defense apart with precision.

This is exactly the type of performance the Chargers hoped for with the 1-2 punch of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. After struggling mightily since Gordon's return from a holdout, the duo combined for over 200 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Ekeler was once again more productive on a per touch basis, but Gordon got the scoring opportunities (and fantasy glory).

Tight End Hunter Henry continues to be almost uncoverable in the passing game. He has been extremely consistent since his return from a knee injury, and appears to be Philip Rivers' favorite target at this point. Keenan Allen started off hot over the season's first three games, but has been unbelievably quiet ever since and this game was no exception.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 161 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 23 of 35 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown in the Packers loss to the Chargers on Sunday. As good as Rodgers had been in weeks seven and eight, hopes were high that the one time MVP was back in peak form, but the Chargers defense had other plans for Rodgers and the Packers offense. Joey Bosa, specifically, reeked havoc on the Packers offense, beating the Packers offensive line consistently. This led to the Packers offense punting on their first five possessions. Aaron Jones averaged only 3.8 yards per carry, but it was also only on eight carries, and a lot of that was due to the Chargers controlling the tempo of the game. The Packers offense looked slow as a unit, and they never really got into an offensive groove. While Rodgers was at a disadvantage due to the lack of a running game, he was responsible for having a sloppy day as a passer. He overthrew several deep routes, as well as crossing routes over the middle, and even uncharacteristically threw passes that came up well short, something we rarely see out of Rodgers. Rodgers sole passing touchdown came with the Packers facing a first and goal from the Chargers 10 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and was soon forced out of the pocket to his left. Rodgers ran towards the sideline and as he was reaching the line of scrimmage he pump faked once, moving the defense away from Williams, before throwing a pass to a wide open Williams in the end zone. Rodgers then rushed in the following two point conversion.

RB Aaron Jones, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (4 targets)
Aaron Jones rushed eight times for 30 yards and caught one pass for -1 yards in the Packers loss to the Chargers on Sunday. It wasn’t that Jones was completely ineffective as much as it was the entire Packers offense. For Jones to only see nine total touches in the game, it tells a story of the offense just not having the opportunities they’ve had in weeks past, and that is a testament to the Chargers defense, and a knock on the Packers defense as they just could not stop the Chargers rushing attack. This was an outlier game for Jones, but it also raises an interesting question regarding Davante Adams return. Jones shined brightest with Adams on the sideline, and while the Packers desperately needed their star wideout to return, it is interesting that Adams received 11 targets, while Jones only had nine total touches. Jones needs to be the Packers primary playmaker, especially in games where they are losing the time of possession battle soundly, as he is the only player on the offense capable of scoring a touchdown on any given play. It is something to keep an eye on going forward, most importantly with respect to how Jones is used in the passing game.

RB Jamaal Williams, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0, Rec: 6 - 39 - 1 (6 targets)
Jamaal Williams rushed two times for 10 yards and caught six passes on six targets for 39 yards and a touchdown. Williams continues to be a key cog in the Packers offense, scoring the Packers only touchdown while seeing the second most targets in the passing game. In a game where Jones only saw eight carries, it is not surprising that Williams saw only two, but with the Packers trailing for most of the game he was counted on frequently in the passing game. Five of Williams six catches came on second and third down and he did very well with gaining yards after the catch. Williams touchdown came with the Packers facing a first and goal from the Chargers ten yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and was forced out of the pocket to his left by an aggressive Chargers pass rush. Williams ran a short route out to the left flat, but as he saw Rodgers escape the pocket, he turned his route upfield toward the goal line. Rodgers did well to manipulate the secondary with a pump fake before finding Williams wide open in the end zone for an easy 10 yard touchdown.

WR Davante Adams, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 41 - 0 (11 targets)
Davante Adams made his return from injury this week, catching seven of 11 targets for 41 yards. Adams looked a bit rusty in his first game back, dropping a pass from Rodgers that is usually an easy catch for the star receiver. The Chargers defense kept constant pressure on Rodgers, ensuring that Adams was going to be confined to short and intermediate routes. When he did make a catch, the Chargers secondary was all over him, and you could see the frustration building as Adams just could not shake his defenders when Rodgers had such little time to throw. The Packers face off against the Carolina Panthers and their talented secondary next week, so it won’t get any easier for Adams in week 10. We will see whether another full week of practice can get Adams and the Packers passing offense back in their groove of weeks past.

WR Allen Lazard, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (4 targets)
Allen Lazard caught three of four targets for 44 yards in the Packers loss in week nine. Lazard saw the second most targets amongst Packers receivers and led the team in receiving yards. Lazard nearly had a much bigger day but was unable to corral a deep ball from Rodgers that would have gone for a touchdown. Lazard has become more involved with each passing week, and it was a fantastic sign that the Packers gave him more opportunities even when Adams returned to the lineup.

WR Geronimo Allison, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets)
Geronimo Allison caught two passes for 21 yards on two targets in the Packers loss to the Charges on Sunday. Allison has become an afterthought in the Packers offense, and that trend started well before Adams returned to the lineup. Allison has battled several injuries over the last two weeks, and it is clear that any big games would be a complete outlier for Allison at this time.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 37 offensive snaps (2 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was held without a catch on two targets in the Packers loss to the Chargers on Sunday. With Rodgers under constant pressure and having no time to throw, this was not a surprising stat line for the young deep threat.

TE Jimmy Graham, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 17 - 0 (4 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught four passes on four targets for 17 yards in the Packers loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Graham posted a stat line that is slowly becoming an every week standard. He is seeing between three and five targets per game over the last five weeks, with two games of 41 and 65 yards, and the other three under 20 yards receiving. The Chargers linebackers are led by Joey Bosa, so it was a given that Graham was not going to outrun him up the seam, which even further limited Graham’s floor and ceiling. Graham is hovering around the back end of starting fantasy tight ends, but that is only because the position is so shallow this season.

Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 294 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0
Rivers had a wildly efficient statistical game, completing 75% of his passes and averaging more than ten yards per attempt. The Chargers thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball from beginning to end, which helps explain why they mostly just sat on the lead in the second half so Rivers was unable to rack up big stats. If there was one shortcoming in the game for the Los Angeles offense, it was the team's lack of success in the red zone. On the Chargers first two offensive drives, they reached the red zone on each. But once they got there, sacks and penalties ended up pushing them back out of touchdown range and they had to settle for field goals instead. Still, the offense looked significantly more effective in its first week under a new offensive coordinator (former OC Ken Whisenhunt was fired after last week's game). Despite the lack of touchdowns, Rivers still looked very solid overall. His favorite target again appeared to be Hunter Henry, who saw ten targets. The two really appear to be on the same page more and more as the season has gone along. Rivers also avoided the costly turnover in this game, although he was nearly intercepted once. He was looking for Keenan Allen on a deep route, but Allen was nowhere near the ball. The only player who had a chance at it was a Green Bay defender, who mis-timed his jump and was unable to come down with the football.

RB Melvin Gordon, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 80 - 2, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (4 targets)
The rushing attack started off better than it has in weeks, with Gordon taking a strong run on second down to pick up the first down on the team's opening possession. He continued finding seams that quite literally weren't there in past weeks. But just as importantly as the holes the line was opening, is how good Gordon looked with the ball in his hands. He showed excellent footwork on a dumpoff pass during a crossing route, stopping on a dime to let the defender go flying past him. And he also darted ahead on a short dumpoff later in the half, getting to top speed very quickly. Gordon really got into a rhythm after the half. One of the early second half runs featured a nice hole up the middle, and not only did Gordon hit it but he also leapt over the defender's head for an incredible highlight-worthy play. Later in the half, he took an inside handoff from the 6-yard line, lunging at the last moment to try and get into the end zone but was taken down just short of the goal line. He got the call on the next play and followed the fullback's lead block up the left side untouched for the score. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers kicked a field goal from the 2-yard line to go up by 19 points. Green Bay had gone offsides on the play, so Anthony Lynn surprisingly chose to take the points off the board and go for it on fourth down and goal from the 1-yard line instead. Gordon took the handoff up the middle, crashing ahead for the score. The announcers speculated that the team was making a statement by going for it on fourth down; Gordon owners were simply happy with their good fortune. With the Chargers trying to run out the clock, it was both Gordon and Austin Ekeler who got a significant amount of fourth quarter work (Gordon out-touched Ekeler 23-16 overall, which is still a lower overall percentage of touches than Gordon has been seeing lately even though he had more overall success than he's been having).

RB Austin Ekeler, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 70 - 0, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (4 targets)
Ekeler didn't have any huge gainers like he had early in the season (in this game, his longest run went for 16 and his longest reception went for 12). And he again took a back seat to Melvin Gordon on overall touches (23-16 in favor of Gordon) and also relinquished goal line duties (Gordon scored twice from the goal line, without Ekeler getting in). But the split between the two players appeared to be precisely how the Chargers would prefer to attack teams with this 1-2 punch going forward. Ekeler was split out as a wide receiver at times, as the Chargers have made several attempts to figure out how to best deploy the duo. As usual, Ekeler looked very good with the ball in his hands. His only scoring opportunity came from the 2-yard line on a second half run to the left side. He looked to have a seam, but the defenders up front did a good job of quickly closing it up. Outside of that, he was a change of pace to Gordon more often than not although more of a complementary piece than a true backup. In recent weeks, Gordon has been seeing a lot more touches than Ekeler but in this game the coaching got those touches a bit closer. And not surprisingly, they had far more success than they'd been having in recent weeks. Ekeler briefly left the game after a first half run play and appeared to be pointing to his eye, but he returned soon after that showing no ill effects.

WR Mike Williams, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 111 - 0 (4 targets)
Williams only saw a handful of catchable passes, but he sure made them count. He picked up 57 yards on a crossing route early on when the defender tried jumping the route and going for the interception. Williams snagged the ball with one hand, then raced up the sideline to stay away from defenders and take it to the 13-yard line. Williams' other big gain was a second half deep ball down the seam. At first, it appeared he had jumped a bit too soon. But upon replay review, it looked like it was intentionally early so that he could kind of shield the defender out with the back of his body. Williams went up and plucked it out of the air, tallying 46 yards on the play. It was the first play from scrimmage for the Chargers since Green Bay's first points of the game, so it was a pretty big statement play on an afternoon that was full of them.

WR Keenan Allen, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets)
Allen started the year on fire, with 29 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season. After several quiet games, owners were eager to expect him to break out again. But after Week 9, they are still waiting for that return to form. Despite the Chargers having very little trouble moving the ball through the air, Allen was again something of an afterthought. In the six games since that hot start, Allen has totaled 25 receptions for 253 yards without a score. He had a nice gain over the middle early in the first half, leaping between defenders for a 20-yard pickup. And he picked up another handful of shorter receptions as the game went along. But he saw just four targets as opposed to ten for Hunter Henry, who has seemingly supplanted Allen as the favorite target of Philip Rivers. Allen has simply disappeared for long stretches of gameplay over the last several weeks, without much explanation for why. Allen lost seven rushing yards after a holding penalty negated an end-around gain up the right side.

TE Hunter Henry, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 84 - 0 (10 targets)
Henry had yet another huge gain, and statistically at least it appears he has surpassed Keenan Allen as the team's top go-to option in the passing game. He made a terrific diving catch for his first reception of the game, getting away from the defender and snagging the perfect pass from Rivers to gain 19. None of Henry's other catches in the game went as far as that one, but most of them resulted in first downs. Henry was also looked to several times in the red zone, although none resulted in a score. On his first end zone target, he appeared to be contacted by a defender down the field but no call was made and the pass was way off-target. Henry was later open along the sideline, but Rivers overthrew it for an incompletion. Aside from those two, however, the two players were very much on the same page. Henry made a couple of key grabs over the middle, including one in the red zone that he took down inside the 5-yard line late in the game. He played a nearly flawless game, also helping out numerous times with some terrific run blocking which is what keeps him on the field in all scenarios. About Henry's only mistake of the game ended up not even being costly - he made a 13-yard catch over the middle and appeared to lose the ball as he was tackled. But the call was never challenged, and it was difficult to see if the ball came out prior to his knee touching the ground anyway.