2020 Week 4 - That’s What Cheese Said

Hear from the head coach and key players from the Packers' Monday Night Football victory over the Falcons. 

The Green Bay Packers head into a Week 5 bye undefeated at 4-0. Without receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, new faces emerged on offense, as has been a theme this season. Both running back Jamaal Williams and tight end Robert Tonyan had career games.

Williams had only 10 yards on the ground but added eight receptions on eight targets for 95 yards through the air with a long of 29, his career best in receiving yards. 

“Jamaal not only ran the ball but he caught eight passes for 95 [yards]. He played fullback. He led block a few plays,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who’s been quick to praise Williams all season. “He just can do so much for us and obviously Aaron [Jones], we’ve seen that over the last few years, his versatility.”

To Rodgers, the offense is more dynamic because of players like Jones and Williams, saying that it forces defenses to pick their strategy, whether it’s to play more nickel in support to defend the passing game, or stay in a traditional base defense to try to stop the run. 

“The more that you can do out of multiple personnel groupings, that just puts more stress on the defense in terms of what they’re trying to prepare for,” added LaFleur. 

“I think that’s as deep a room as I’ve ever been a part of,” he said of his running backs, including that having such versatile depth is a luxury that very few NFL teams have. 

In addition to the success of the running backs against the Falcons, Tonyan also had a perfect completion percentage, hauling in all six of his targets for 98 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Packers were efficient in the passing game all night, with Rodgers completing 27 of 33 attempts for 327 yards and four touchdowns for a 147.5 rating. 

With one quarter of the 2020 season in the rearview mirror, the Packers continue to make history as the first NFL franchise to score 150-plus points in the first four games of a season with zero turnovers. 

“That’s the biggest thing that you look at from the start,” Rodgers said of the team’s lack of turnovers. “And I think the beauty in that is, there really haven’t been opportunities.”

LaFleur agreed. “I think that’s a big reason why we’re sitting where we are right now,” he said of the team’s turnover-free streak. 

Green Bay also remains efficient in the red zone, converting 3-of-4 drives for a 75% completion rate. The lone miss was on a handoff to Williams that got stuffed at the goal line. 

“I don’t like the call but I do like the mentality of going for it in that situation because we’ve got a lot of trust in our offense,” LaFleur said post-game. “We have a lot of trust that they’re going to come through and deliver.”

On the flip side, the Falcons put together an extensive 20-play drive that took over 10 minutes off the clock and resulted in only a field goal.

“I think if you hold teams to three points you’ve got a pretty good chance at winning,” said LaFleur.

Edge rusher Za’Darius Smith felt similarly, with Atlanta’s 16 points the fewest allowed by Green Bay so far this season. 

“The last couple games we haven’t been good at doing that, so to be in that situation and to make those plays in the red zone was big for us,” he said. 

The Falcons also only rushed for 78 yards on the ground, which again was the lowest total allowed by the Packers defense through four games. Smith added that the run defense had been a point of emphasis and remains something the team will work on.

Smith had the performance of the night on defense, which was enough for him to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He totaled three sacks and led the team with eight tackles (four for loss) and five quarterback hits. He was also attributed with seven pressures after tallying only five through the first three games of the season, per Pro Football Focus. 

“He’s an inspiring player,” said LaFleur of Smith, adding that the team selected him as the defensive captain for a reason. 

“He challenged me earlier this week to bring my all in this game and I’m going to continue to do it,” Smith said of his head coach. “I started off slow but as you can see I’m back on track now to continue to be great.”

Another player getting his due-recognition has been cornerback Jaire Alexander, who allowed Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley zero completions on five targets against him. 

“I think we’re off to a really strong start. We just have to continue it,” said Alexander. “We’ve done a lot of good things. We also have things that we need to work on but it’s a promising start, and we’re just gonna continue on this path of ascension.” 

Tonyan added that this time last year the team was sitting at 3-1, so to be undefeated heading into the bye week shows the team’s improvement in Year 2 with LaFleur. 

Williams too felt the team can continue to do more, and the expectations are high for this squad. 

“We’ve still got more goals that we want. We want to go to the Super Bowl,” he said. “Really just doing what we need to do to make sure that we make the playoffs and then make it from there. Make sure we go to the Super Bowl. Our expectation is, Super Bowl. Win the Super Bowl, get us a ring.”

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (11)

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PatrickGB's picture

October 07, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Yes, key players with key plays. It’s good that a lot of backup players got some time and did ok. Yet it’s going to be the marathon of the season which determines who comes out on top. I like what I have seen so far.

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Jaqu’eau's picture

October 07, 2020 at 01:17 pm

Well done, Maggie. I enjoy having the quotes from the packers peppered in. I love that the team’s own expectations are high with the realistic goal of going to the super bowl. There’s enthusiasm, desire to excel and accountability with this team, an exciting combination.

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Rudedawg67's picture

October 07, 2020 at 02:40 pm

I said earlier that the defensive backs deserved a game ball for keeping Calvin ridley and Julio Jones in check. I would also like to add that Robert Tonyan can be a weapon a tight end like George Kittle or Travis Kelce. He is very similar in size and speed. I believe his combine numbers were better than Jermichael Finleys which tells you what kind of athlete he is. I hope they use them a lot more. Green Bay may not have drafted a wide receiver but Lazard and Tonyan’s development are why the Packers have a legitimate chance to go undefeated represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. If they get by Tampa Bay look out.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 07, 2020 at 03:07 pm

I have lots of room for those late in the game wanting to jump aboard the Tonyan bandwagon!

Tonyan has several advantages over Finley both off the field and on the field. On the field better blocker and better hands!

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:39 pm

Finley a big WR, Tonyan playing it as a TE. Working out with Kittle has developed his pro game.

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Archie's picture

October 07, 2020 at 02:48 pm

Pardon my french but LaFleur has blossomed!

Before we get too crazy though, I can't help but feel the offense still hasn't been tested. The Bucs may change that. But that may only propel us higher.

Looking forward to all our injured players returning for TB game. And may DeGuara have a speedy and full recovery. Only real bummer at the moment.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:42 pm

The Packer offensive line is playing at a pro bowl level.

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PhantomII's picture

October 07, 2020 at 09:28 pm

ML has been designing plays and the offense is executing it better than I have ever seen the pack do it outside 2 min. offense. The snappy execution and different personnel movements make it look very fast paced and harder for other Defenses to get a grasp on what's about to happen. The only poor series was 3-straight runs up the gut for nada after the half and a 3-n-out. Hope we never do that again. There are a lot better teams out there we have not faced, so yes we surely will be tested more down the road. Glad we will get K Clark back and Adams after the bye. Maybe a surprise WR from IR. One can hope. It looks like Pettine has been using bigger bodies and more of them against the run. The Defense did pretty good against an offense that was missing star players and ones not at full strength. The difference was the Packers depth at positions and an offense that has many layers to hurt an opposing Defense. Good to see Z bring it early and often. I like all the TFL same as a sack for me just different player with the ball. I liked how King stepped up outside Z on the run play and broke it up. Good stuff. We are improving on both sides of the ball with several starters out. It will pay dividends down the road giving all these guys xtra snaps (confidence).

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Lphill's picture

October 07, 2020 at 04:15 pm

FYI Bolton and Begelton released today.

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albert999's picture

October 07, 2020 at 04:33 pm

Why can’t anyone ask pettine about all the missed tackles....ANYONE?

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Ovent1965's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:32 am

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