2020 Week 9 - That’s What Cheese Said

Hear from the head coach and key players from Thursday night's victory against the 49ers. 

The Green Bay Packers left Santa Clara with a win last Thursday, something the team wasn’t able to do during the 2019 season. Now, the Packers are 6-2 and tied with the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints at the top of the NFC. 

“I thought it was a great team win. It obviously feels really good to come out here and get a win, especially on a short week,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur. “There was a lot of hours put in for the preparation. I was really happy with the play of our team. I thought the energy was there. That was something that we were looking for. And I thought really all three phases came to play.”

Despite the 49ers roster looking almost entirely different than it did last season, with a roster decimated by injuries, the message the Packers sent on Thursday Night Football was still significant. 

For edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, he made sure his team was motivated by reminding them what it felt like to leave Levi’s Stadium last season after the NFC Championship loss.  “They took it all from us last year.”

The Packers defense forced two turnovers on the night, bringing their season total to six. Preston Smith generated pressure that resulted in an interception by safety Raven Greene, Green Bay’s third pick of the season.

“That was big for us and that set the tone for us as a defense to go out there and be dominant,” Za’Darius said. 

Then, Za’Darius had the team’s only sack of the night, a strip sack resulting in a fumble he recovered himself. His sack total this season now sits at seven which is tied for third in the NFL. 

LaFleur called the pressure generated by his rushers “huge” adding that both of those turnovers ended up leading to points. 

“I thought it was an improvement, a step in the right direction,” he said of his defense’s ability to stop the run and tackle more efficiently. “But we know that you’re only as good as your last performance and it’s gotta be who we are on a consistent basis.”

On offense, quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on another electrifying performance, throwing 25 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns with a rating of 147.2. He only had six incompletions on the night. 

His top target, Davante Adams, had 10 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown. 

“I’m relied on a lot in this offense so it’s just about being consistent and being the same person every day,” said Adams. “I just wanna be the best wideout to play this game.”

Green Bay has scored on every one of its opening possessions so far this season, and that’s not lost on the players. The opening touchdown to Adams gave the Packers a lead that never faltered on the way to a 34-17 victory. 

“We’ve gotten off to a good start every single week,” Rodgers said of the team being eight-of-eight on opening drives.

He called Tyler Ervin “one of the unsung heroes of the night” as he had 72 all-purpose yards on offense, rushing for 24 yards and catching four passes for 48 yards. 

“There were a lot of guys that had to step up and embrace new roles, and it’s always fun to see those guys come out on top,” said LaFleur. “Just really proud of our guys’ effort.”

Another player who stepped up big on offense was receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who after a drop on third down that stalled a drive hauled in two receptions for two touchdowns, the only two-score game of his career to date. 

“I do have a lot of faith and trust in him,” Rodgers said of MVS. “I’ve seen him grow as a player.”

While the Packers activated Jamaal Williams off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, it’s possible Green Bay will also get David Bakhtiari and Allen Lazard back for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. 

In Bakhtiari’s absence, the offensive line has remained incredibly consistent, keeping Rodgers clean regardless of who’s playing where on the line. 

“I think one of the coolest things about our room is the quiet confidence,” said starting right guard Lucas Patrick of the offensive line, adding that Billy Turner is one of the players he admires most. 

Turner started the game at left tackle before moving to right tackle mid-game after Rick Wagner suffered an injury. 

Left guard Elgton Jenkins ended up playing three spots along the line throughout the night, starting at guard before moving to left tackle and ending the game at center to give Corey Linsley a breather. 

“Elgton played three positions tonight. That is, unheard of, I think, in this league,” LaFleur said of Jenkins. “For him to be able to play left guard, left tackle, then go in at center at the end of the game, that’s pretty special.”

While much will be said about the 49ers’ depleted roster, the Packers know you can’t take any opponent lightly in the NFL. 

“Every game is super competitive,” said Ervin. “That’s one thing I’ve realized playing in this league. You can’t doubt anybody because each week is a new week. It doesn’t matter what anybody’s record is.”

LaFleur gave credit to Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and the way he built his roster with depth on both sides of the ball. 

“I think we did what we needed to do,” LaFleur said of his team’s performance in Santa Clara. 

“And I know they were short numbers, but, again, it’s the National Football League. You can’t take anybody for granted. I still think they got a hell of a team despite missing some big-time players.”

The 6-2 Packers stay home at Lambeau Field this weekend to take on the 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars. And with a bounce-back game last Thursday, LaFleur still has yet to lose two consecutive games during his time as the 15th Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. 

“It’s still football. It still feels great to win,” said Rodgers. “Feels good to be 6-2 at the halfway point and first in the division.” 

 

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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 (17)

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4thandinches's picture

November 10, 2020 at 01:47 pm

Maggie, you do such an excellent job of stringing together meaningful quotes from coaches and players into a clear narrative in these articles. I love them! Thanks so much!!

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Archie's picture

November 11, 2020 at 09:01 am

Yes, I will 2nd that.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 10, 2020 at 02:40 pm

Hard to take any of the quotes seriously. They played a team completely devastated by injury with a QB no one ever heard of. The problems that were so blatant before; inability to stop the run, pass rush, LB play, likely still exist and Pettine is still the DC. It's going to take a couple of games of good defense against top tier offensive teams before anyone will believe this is a SB worthy team.

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PeteK's picture

November 10, 2020 at 04:35 pm

We had many injuries and nicked up players of our own. Any win in this season of parity is important.

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wildbill's picture

November 10, 2020 at 04:36 pm

Not totally disagreeing with everything you stated but we were missing a number of players also. 1- top LT in the NFL 2- #2 WR 3- our top three RBs 4- #2 CB 5- our only real HBack/FB(ok not sure how big of a role he was going to play)6- our #1 ILB. This isn’t including our losses during the game and I’m probably forgetting someone. Injuries are part of the game and no one is feeling bad for beating us in the games Rodgers was out over the years

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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 10, 2020 at 05:01 pm

Can't compare. We had our All-Pro QB vs their no-name, our All-pro WR vs What's his name?, our All-pro RB vs. Who?... They had so many 1st string people out it was more like the 4th quarter of an exhibition game with us playing starters and them playing players about to be cut. No, they didn't field a competitive team so all this talk about "We had to win and we did." or any gloating highlighting improvement is way premature. We likely won't know if there is an improvement on this defense until after we play the Titans and Colts.

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Duneslick's picture

November 10, 2020 at 03:34 pm

Much better coverage than Nagler and you stick to football and not political agendas

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fastmoving's picture

November 11, 2020 at 02:07 am

Its not politics if you point out the weakest lowlife cowards we had around for the last 4 years. Everybody know that anyway.
Thats just life and whats comes with it. There is no chance to leave it out.

Nagler has no agenda, but for the ultra right, who runs America into the ground that the whole world is laughting at us, everything what has to do with dignity and moral seems like an agenda. Its just common sense.
Did Lombardi had a agenda just because he was a good guy with values?

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Leatherhead's picture

November 11, 2020 at 07:06 pm

I always enjoy hearing stuff like this on Veterans Day. “Lowlife cowards”. Nice.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 11, 2020 at 02:14 am

Advocating for equal justice is not a political agenda. It is a human rights issue that people of all political persuasions should support.

Supporting discrimination against people because of their race, gender, or nationality is not a legitimate political agenda. It is simply hate, hate that scarily way too many people support.

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Guam's picture

November 11, 2020 at 07:53 am

HPD: you are correct that advocating for equal justice is/should not be a political agenda and should be supported by all. However HOW you advocate for equal justice can become political. Kneeling during the anthem or rioting in the streets are highly divisive and political acts that will offend significant portions of the population. The offended segments are often pro equal justice, but anti divisive and offensive political acts. Don't brand everybody who protests Nagler's advocacy for kneeling during the anthem as discriminatory. They aren't and would just prefer a less divisive form of protest.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 11, 2020 at 09:11 am

The anti-kneelers purposefully ignore the reason for the protest, which is to call attention to the murder of unarmed Blacks by the police. They falsely claim that the protest is against the flag. The anti-kneelers support the killing of minorities, they celebrate those deaths.

A great majority of the violence is perpetrated by groups like the Proud Boys, who infiltrate the peaceful demonstrations and commit vandalism and other offenses. Do not fall for the deplorable rhetoric. Peaceful demonstrations are not riots.

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WMA's picture

November 11, 2020 at 08:43 am

Agree HighPlainDrifter. There is hate from people of all political persuasions - that hate is not limited to any one party.

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Helga33's picture

November 10, 2020 at 04:02 pm

A very good article. Thanks to the author. It is very important to support and help students.

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Blood-McNally's picture

November 10, 2020 at 06:17 pm

Very interesting article and well written.

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Archie's picture

November 11, 2020 at 07:32 am

Until this defense shows it can stop a good offense, count me as a non-believer.

Offense and defense getting lots of starters back this week but Jaire may be taking a week off.

How about 40-21, Packers, this week.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 11, 2020 at 08:55 pm

It held New Orleans and Atlanta under their averages.

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