CARSON, CA (WBAY)- Davante Adams return was supposed to turbo charge the Packers offense. One pregame national television analyst predicted Aaron Rodgers would throw for 600 yards on Sunday.
That clearly didn’t happen, as the Chargers 6th ranked pass defense was in complete control in a 26-11 domination of the Packers.
Adams was targeted 11 times in his return, catching 7 passes for just 41 yards. And the Chargers didn’t need to do anything exotic because he was back. “It’s kind of like Seattle, you run something a lot and you do the same thing, you become kind of a master at it,” Adams said after the game. “I’m not saying they’ve got it mastered, but they did a good job. Obviously they kicked our butt today.”
The Chargers defensive pan was to play Cover 3 and not send extra rushers at Aaron Rodgers, and it worked to near perfection. The Packers had just 3 possessions in the first half, gaining just 50 yards. Of their three first downs, 1 was due to a Chargers penalty. It didn’t get much better in the second half either. “It’s tough to get big plays, tough to generate big plays because they do such a great job of keeping everything in front of them,” said Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who suffered his first road loss. “They rely on their pass rush, and when they are able to do that with a 4 man rush and keeping everything in front of you, it’s going to be a long day for an offense.”
In Adams absence, running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams blossomed. They combined for 693 total yards and 7 touchdowns in the 4 games Adams sat out with his turf toe injury. But they were essentially non-factors Sunday. The two combined for only 78 total yards. Williams had a late receiving TD, and Jones only catch went for minus 1 yard; this after having 159 receiving yards and two scores last week in Kansas City. “We just had a bad day. We just have to come out and execute better; there are no excuses,” said Jones. “Their defense, their whole team came ready to play. We just have to come out and play our game, and that wasn’t us.”
The last 4 games, Matt LaFleur’s schemes were working, and multiple players were involved as the offense produced over 400 yards per game. But the Chargers front 4, led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III, dominated the game Sunday, and decimated the game plan. Left tackle David Bakhtiari: “Flat out we have to be better, I have to be better. When you don’t go out and execute—they are just ready to play the game more than I thought we were, especially myself and that is unacceptable.“ Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has had an exceptional season, but playing with a broken finger Sunday, he struggled. “Doesn’t matter what you draw up on paper, if we don’t do our job up front that is the way it is going to be. Today wasn’t good enough, and it humbles you and brings you back down to earth,” said Bulaga.
Aaron Rodgers was taken to the earth 3 times by the Chargers defense, who totaled 7 QB hits. “A lot of 4 man rushes and they got after us a little bit up front. We’ve got to get back to protecting and throwing the ball on time, and being accurate. This is a good slice of humble pie for us.”
That humble pie leaves a bitter taste. The Packers could have opened up a 2 and a half game lead in the NFC North with a win over the Chargers Sunday. Now they will look to rebound in their only November home game, Sunday against the Panthers.