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Packers vs. Raiders: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 31-21 Win

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Packers vs. Raiders: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 31-21 Win

Three drives ending in touchdowns from the Aaron Rodgers-led first-team offense and five straight three-and-outs from the starting defense helped the Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 31-21 in the slightly more important third preseason contest Friday night at Lambeau Field. 

It was over when…

…Alex Gillett made a circus-like catch in the corner of the end zone, which gave the Packers a 31-7 lead with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter. He extended with one hand to make contact Scott Tolzien's throw, before corralling his own rebound and getting two feet in bounds. His catch ensured Oakland's two late scores would mean nothing in the final outcome. 

Game Balls 

  • DuJuan Harris: With 98 total yards from scrimmage and one return of 34 yards, Harris locked up his role as both the offense's No. 3 running back and the team's primary kick returner. He's a unique player. Shifty but still a punishing finisher; short but certainly not small. Harris can get lost behind the line, and then flash into the smallest of spaces. The Packers must feel very good about the talent in their running back room. 
  • Julius Peppers: Dom Capers continues moving Peppers around the defense, giving him chances to rush the passer from the left and right side, while also providing opportunities for the former 4-3 defensive end to put his hand on the ground.  The results are following. He had a sack and two tackles for losses. Every week he looks more comfortable and aggressive. 
  • Scott Tolzien: Matt Flynn played with the second-team offense but struggled, while Tolzien once again made the most of his snaps. He completed 8-of-11 passes for 107 yards and one score while captaining the No. 3 offense. On Green Bay's final touchdown drive, Tolzien went 5-for-7, with three of the completions going for 15 or more yards (including the score). He's always in attack mode. 

Key Stats

The Raiders went 4-for-14 on third down and 1-for-3 on fourth down. The Packers converted 9-of-19 third downs. As a result, Green Bay ran 80 plays, to Oakland's 64…The Packers finished with 11 accepted penalties for 109 yards…Green Bay led time of possession, 34:48 to 25:12…Packers quarterbacks combined to throw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, while taking just two sacks…Harris, Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 175 total yards…Roster hopeful Jayrone Elliott had one sack and one batted pass…After going 60 yards on five plays on their first series, the Raiders went five straight drives without getting a first down. Oakland went 12 possessions between scores…The Packers went 4-for-5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Oakland made just two trips inside the Green Bay 20-yard line…Davon House broke up three passes and made five tackles...Seven of the game's 42 first downs came via penalty. 

Other Notes

-- Another break-neck first drive for the starting offense. Lacy carried five times for 36 yards, including runs of 12 and 17 yards on consecutive plays to get Green Bay inside the 10-yard line. Rodgers completed his one pass—which came on third down—to rookie Richard Rodgers for 32 yards. The seven-play drive took just over three minutes. 

-- A lot went wrong on Maurice Jones-Drew's touchdown run on the first series. Morgan Burnett crashed down the line and then missed his tackle attempt as he tried to recover. Micah Hyde over-reacted to the outside and then whiffed when Jones-Drew cut back inside. A.J. Hawk got caught in the mass of bodies and then couldn't arm tackle Jones-Drew down from behind. Datone Jones and Clay Matthews had disruptive penetration; the rest of the crew needs to do a much better job of cleaning up. 

-- Rodgers' six total drives netted three touchdowns and three punts. On the scoring drives, the Packers gained 206 yards over 27 plays. The three ending in punts gained minus-2 yards (-3, 0 and 1) over nine plays. What separated the productive trio of series from the unproductive trio was mostly the offensive line, which held up fine on the scoring drives but really struggled on the others. But even with three empty possessions, the Packers still managed to score 22 points with Rodgers under center. 

-- MIke McCarthy called this game exactly how all NFL coaches should be managing preseason games. The Packers went for the two-point conversion after all four touchdowns, and he passed up a short field goal on fourth down in the first half. No opportunities were wasted. McCarthy maximized the learning experience. 

-- Preseason results mandate that Scott Tolzien be the team's backup quarterback. He outplayed Matt Flynn for the third consecutive week. Maybe the club decides to stay safe and keep three quarterbacks. Or maybe the Packers roll with Tolzien, with Flynn as nothing more than a free-agent insurance policy. Who knows if Flynn would find another job if released. Tolzien might have locked up a roster spot. 

-- The post-game injury report was mostly clean, but B.J. Raji's arm injury sounds iffy. McCarthy was cautiously optimistic. Losing Raji for any significant time would be a big loss. 

-- The Packers wrap up the preseason next Thursday, when the Kansas City Chiefs come to Lambeau Field for the fourth and final exhibition contest. The first round of cuts come this week. Getting down to 75 players shouldn't involve any surprises.

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

davy jones's picture

DuJuan Harris not only had a fine night offensively, his tackle of Mack after the INT was one of the better tackles of the night...The guy is just a football player.

ZeroTolerance's picture

After the Worthy trade, Colt going on IR, and Abbrederis and Barclay going to go on IR, there will only need to be one other roster move on Tuesday.

jmac34's picture

they have 88 players on the roster right now and that includes the worthy trade and colt going on IR. They have to get down to 75 players. I don't think putting Barclay and Abbredaris on IR is going to get them to 76 players on the roster

ZeroTolerance's picture

You are right. I was thinking, for some reason, 85.

Clay Zombo's picture

Unless they cut Brad Jones, GB will end up keeping at least 11 LBers on the final 53 man roster.

CM3
Peppers
Perry
Neal
Elliott
Hubbard
--------------
Hawk
(Jones)
Lattimore
Barrington
Bradford

They should just go ahead and move Bradford to ILB now, not because I think he sucks at OLB (I don't) but because hes not gonna be needed on the outside this year.

Both Mulumba and Palmer are still eligible for the practice squad, if one of them gets through waivers to the PS I'd be happy.

DuJuan Harris finally gets some work with the number 1 OL and justifies all the things I said about him before camp started. He looked good.

Scott Tolzien I believe has locked up the QB2 spot, the only question left is do they decide to keep 3 QBs.

Julius Peppers is everything I thought he'd be and then some, dude is gonna light fools up this year.

COW's picture

Hubbard hasn't done a damn thing.

sonomaca's picture

Hubbard is practice squad material. He's got that notable length, which showed up last night on a batted pass. Bradford is another PS guy. They have to figure out where to play him.

Liked Perry last night. Notably more aggressive and effective.

Clay Zombo's picture

You may be right, I may be crazy but if the Packers cut him someone else is gonna pick him up and turn him into a beast in a year or two.

I know my player evaluation credibility isn't very high right now but that's how I feel about this guy. GB has had a few guys that flash in their first season and then never really develop, this guy I feel has a high ceiling but he needs to get stronger and start developing some better pass rush moves. When he does that, its on.

Hey if im wrong and nobody claims him if hes cut then great he can go to the PS but Im not willing to risk it.

Stroh's picture

I like Hubbard, but he was undrafted and hasn't shown enough to warrant a roster spot. I don't see another team putting him on their active roster. That being the case, I think he gets released and the Packers get him back on their PS. Hubbard has some good traits but he has a lot to learn and a long way to go to prove his potential will ever be realized.

sonomaca's picture

The slimmed down Neal is much quicker around the edge. I'd like to see Neal on one side, Perry on the other, and Matthews roaming free. Bring Elliott in on 3rd and long, and the QB's are going to be feeling the heat.

Stroh's picture

"I'd like to see Neal on one side, Perry on the other, and Matthews roaming free."

I wouldn't worry too much, you will definitely see that kind of alignment from the Packers. You are (Cow) going to see a lot of personnel variations from the Packers this year. They have a lot of interchangeable and movable parts this year that they didn't have last. I'm excited to see what the D can do. The Raji injury hurts but they should be able to make up for that loss, through numbers and versatility.

Imma Fubared's picture

Couldn't agree more. Not seeing a lot out of Mathews right now but he could be pacing himself. Why he doesn't roam or play the middle with his speed, I have no idea.

sonomaca's picture

I don't think the Pack want to show anything. Problem is, it may not matter since Seattle is going to pound the running game with Raji gone.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I believe I seen Peppers standing up in the middle (rushing obviously) on one play. That was interesting.

I think it will all come down to penetration in the middle though. We have enough good-to-great edge rushers,but who can consistently push that Center or Guard 2,3 or 4 yards back?

Stroh's picture

Obviously, the Packers haven't come right out and say it... But from everything I've read, it sure seems like they are moving away from the 2 gap style of a 34 D, to a one gap penetrating 34 D. Even on run plays the DL aren't being asked to occupy OL so LB can make plays, but to hold one gap and penetrate. It also goes along w/ Daniels and Jones being on the DL instead of bigger bodies. They aren't going to bring back Pickett and Jolly who fit the old scheme better. They want the younger, quicker penetrating DL, which plays to the strengths or both Daniels and Datone. Even the young players like Boyd and Thornton are better penetrators than they are 2 gappers.

It will be especially telling they are moving to a one gap, if they don't re-sign Pickett, who is still a good 2 gapper.

Stroh's picture

Obviously, the Packers haven't come right out and say it... But from everything I've read, it sure seems like they are moving away from the 2 gap style of a 34 D, to a one gap penetrating 34 D. Even on run plays the DL aren't being asked to occupy OL so LB can make plays, but to hold one gap and penetrate. It also goes along w/ Daniels and Jones being on the DL instead of bigger bodies. They aren't going to bring back Pickett and Jolly who fit the old scheme better. They want the younger, quicker penetrating DL, which plays to the strengths or both Daniels and Datone. Even the young players like Boyd and Thornton are better penetrators than they are 2 gappers.

It will be especially telling they are moving to a one gap, if they don't re-sign Pickett, who is still a good 2 gapper.

Tundraboy's picture

Speaking of the middle. Isn't that what Hawk and Jones are supposed to do. Time for a change with one of those guys.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I meant the DT/NT.

Hawk/Jones aren't always blitzing.

4thand1's picture

What a shock, "not seeing much out of some players." If they went all out in a scrimmage and got hurt, the same people would be saying, WTF! What are you doing? I have to laugh at the young and dumb.

DrealynWilliams's picture

And another thing!

Maybe I'm just not satisfied -- but I feel Sean Richardson isn't being mentioned enough nor is he getting enough snaps.

Stroh's picture

He's a lock to make the team. He's not someone they need to evaluate. He's been having a terrific training camp by all accounts, so his job is safe, but he's also not to the point where he's ready to challenge for a starting job IMO. Hopefully next year he'll be ready.

DrealynWilliams's picture

He doesn't necessarily need to start. I just don't want them to just sit him until an injury occur. I'm also sick of seeing those attempted ankle tackles. Something MD Jennings mastered.

Stroh's picture

MD Jennings isn't here anymore. Hyde, Clinton-Dix and Burnett are much better tacklers that Jennings was. Burnett isn't the best tackler, but he's not terrible either. All the Safeties are much better in that regard, and every other regard, compared to Jennings. He was a 190'er who lacked any physical presence in his game.

The only reason he lasted 2 yrs in GB was that no matter how bad he was McMillan was always worse and Richardson was injured and inexperienced.

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