Game Recap: Packers Comfortably Beat Steelers, 27-17

Dusty recaps the Packers Week 4 win over the Steelers

With the extremely talented Sarah Kelliher attending the game in person, I am writing the recap for her this week. So here I am. And there you are.

Due to overtime football and the fall of man, I - like many of you - was forced to watch the end of the Jets/Titans game, an act which is actually a felony in 3 states. The Jets got the ball first in that final period, and I found myself shouting "J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS." Out loud. Where my children could hear me. They hid their faces and rent their garments, and I begged for the sweet release that only a quick touchdown would give me. It was a touchdown that would never come. At a certain point I was sure the Titans were drawing flags on purpose, just to make the game last as long as humanly possible. All that and my tinfoil hat wasn't even in the same room.

By the time the network cut over to the Packers game I was soakin' wet and wild eyed and the Packers were down by a touchdown in the 2nd quarter to the hapless Steelers. 

But enough of my steady descent into madness. Let's get to it.

The Packers won the toss and deferred. Lately it seems as though more people have been imploring the Packers to take the ball first to set the tone, but I've always been a fan of deferring, because the game can really shift on that end of the first half, start of the second half turn.

That preference of mine was put to the test when the Steelers - who hadn't scored a single 1st quarter point in their first three games - opened the game with an 8 play, 75 yard drive that ended with a bang: a 45 yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson. Uh-oh.

The Packers kicked off their first drive pretty well, with a nice mix of running and passing. They were driven forward by a nice back-shoulder throw to Davante Adams on 2nd & 7, but were stalled out and forced to punt after Rodgers was dropped for a 6 yard loss by Devin Bush. But even then, there was reason to cheer, as Corey "Bojo Blast" Bojorquez dropped a perfect punt, and special teams downed it at the 4 yard line.

At this point I was hoping to see Howard Green up on the line, but no such miracle occurred. Still, the Packers held the Steelers to a three-and-out and the Packers took over at their own 36. This is when the Packers really starting imposing their will, as they ripped of a 13 play drive that ended in a touchdown, knotting the score at 7. The Packers started going to their jackhammer - one Mr. AJ Dillon - on this drive, and he did some nice work, displaying his strength and nice balance. He kicked the drive off with a 7 yard gain, then picked up 3 yards on 3rd & 3 to keep it from becoming a three-and-out for the Packers. Rodgers hit Cobb on a couple of big 3rd downs, and the drive ended with Rodgers scampering into the end zone from 4 yards out, casually leaning back to say hi to TJ Watt on his way.

Three plays later, Kinsley Keke forced a Roethlisberger fumble. It was recovered by Kenny Clark, and the Packers took over at the Steelers' 23 yard line. On 3rd and 10, Rodgers found Cobb late, and he picked up a 23 yard touchdown. At this point the outcome felt certain, but they still need to play the entire game, I guess.

The Steelers got back on the board on their next drive. Roethlisberger sailed his fair share of passes, but the drive ended with a 52 yard field goal. Boswell didn't call "glass", but he banked it in all the same and the Steelers brought the score to 14-10.

The Packers then went on another 13 play drive that ended in a field goal, but not before making all of us sweat. The Steelers blocked the inital attempt and ran it back for a touchdown, but Joe Haden was a hair offsides and Mason Crosby nailed the next attempt. The Packers were up 17-10 heading into the half, and all of Packer Nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.

The Packers opened the 2nd half with a 12 play drive that resulted in a field goal. Once again, Cobb came up big on 3rd down, going for 25 yards on 3rd & 7 from the Packers 28 yard line. Aaron Jones had a big gainer on this drive as well. With the right side of the field cleared out, Jones ran an underneath route, found a lot of space and picked up 26 yards. The Packers found themselves with 1st & goal on the 5, but a negative rush, a sack and an incomplete pass led to a field goal instead of a touchdown. After being the best team in the league in the Gold Zone last year, the Packers are still trying to find their way in that area of the field a little bit this year.

Due to sailed passes and dropped balls, the Steelers only gained 12 yards on the next drive, and Harvin shanked a 20 yard punt, giving the Packers the ball on the 40. (Truly a new era when I can say something like, "shanked a 20 yard punt," and know for a fact it wasn't the Packers who did it.)

The Packers didn't waste any time. Aided by a 25 yard run by Dillon, the Packers faced 1st and goal at the 1, and they put it away quick. Rodgers scrambled and found Cobb in the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, giving the Packers a 27-10 lead

The Steelers moved 37 yards on 6 plays, but faced a 4th & 4. Roethlisberger threw short of the sticks - as he is wont to do - and Najee Harris was tackled for a loss of 1. However, it wasn't all sunshine and roses for the Packers, as Jaire Alexander stayed on the ground after the hit, obviously in a great amount of pain. After the game we found out that it is believed that he suffered an AC joint injury in his shoulder, and I spent a solid 15 minutes Googling whether or not that was something I could donate.

After opening the next drive with a 28 yard pass to Allen Lazard, Aaron Jones fumbled on the very next play, giving the Steelers the ball back at their 35 yard line. As the 3rd quarter came to a close, Jaire was carted to the locker room as the Steelers attempted to drive down the field, one 2 yard pass at a time.

The Steelers punted, the Packers punted, the Steelers turned the ball over on downs and then the Packers just tried to take the air out of the ball and put a bow on this sucker. They ran Dillon on 4 straight plays, gaining 20 yards in the process. Now at the 35, the Packers went for the dagger. On 2nd & 4 Rodgers underthrew a ball to Tonyan, then missed Tonyan in the middle and threw incomplete on 4th down. The 4th down throw looked like Rodgers trying to throw hot in the face of a pressure look, but Davante Adams and Randall Cobb were roughly in the same area. Rodgers tried to hit Adams, but Cobb went up to make the catch with one hand and the ball fell harmlessly to the turf.

The Steelers scored a touchdown 8 plays later to bring themselves to within 10 points, but, with only 4 minutes remaining and any Roethlisberger completion over 5 yards looking like a miracle, there was never really any real hope for a comeback.

The Packers punted on their next drive, but the game was at the two minute warning and the Steelers didn't have any timeouts left. After a - SURPRISE SURPRISE - checkdown to Harris, Roethlisberger threw a fluttering pass up the left sideline and Eric Stokes hauled it in as gently as he would a frail butterfly. Stokes picked up his first career interception and the offense came out to kneel the ball down twice and go to 3-1 on the season.

What We Learned: This Team Can Win In Different Ways

After the theatrics of last week's win over the 49ers, it was nice to see a nice, boring win. But it was how that operated offensively that was so interesting. With no Marquez Valdes-Scantling, I was curious how the passing game would look. There weren't many big plays, but Rodgers was content to operate in the #midrange game, peppering the area between 5-15 yards.  

Davante Adams turned in a modest game, hauling in 6 of 11 passes thrown his way for 64 yards. The leading receiver was Randall Cobb, wtih 5 catches (on 6 targets) for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns. Aaron Jones caught 3 passes for 51 yards. Allen Lazard caught 2 passes for 33 yards.

And it was the same on the ground. AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones both had 15 carries, but Dillon had 81 yards while Jones had 48. 

Packers peppered the intermediate area and slammed Dillon into the middle of the line to great success. It was something you tend to see in December in Lambeau. But, apparently, it also works just fine against the Steelers in October.

What Went Right: Cobb and Dillon

When they needed some yards, Cobb and Dillon came through in this game. Cobb made a handful of key catches on 3rd down. And when they needed a few yards on the ground, Dillon put his head down and happy obliged. It's the kind of role a lot of us assumed Dillon would take on when they drafted him, so it was nice to see them using him in that way, even while having a fully healthy Aaron Jones. It was nice to see the Rodgers/Cobb connection, but Dillon is the kind of weapon that could really help this team win in a number of ways.

What Went Wrong: Oh no, Jaire. Please no

The defense had some good moments in this game, but it's a defense that needs Jaire Alexander going forward. We still don't know the exact injury or how much time he's likely to miss, but here's to hoping that he's able to get back on the field sooner rather than later. The Packers next three opponents are the Bengals, Bears and Washington Football Team. The Bengals could cause problems given how that offense can look, but I feel like they could weather the Bears & Football Team without Jaire. But, starting in Week 7, they face the Cardinals, Chiefs, Seahawks, Vikings and Rams. That's a tough road without their best defensive player.

Offensive MVPs: AJ Dillon & Randall Cobb

They came up big every time they needed to. I have no illusions about Cobb being the leading receiver on a regular basis, but this feels like the start of something very nice for Dillon.

Defensive MVPs: Kenny Clark, Kingsley Keke

Clark was dominating the line of scrimmage once again. It's not a surprise at this point, but it's always lovely to see. Keke had a forced fumble and seemed to be flashing quite a few times on Sunday. I hate to make any major statements about him right now, but he looked to have turned in a nice game against the Steelers. That was encouraging.

Up next, the Green Bay Packers travel to the Queen City to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Kickoff is set for Sunday, October 10 at 1:00 pm EST.

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

8 points

Comments (9)

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Wilment's picture

October 03, 2021 at 09:23 pm

Well, it was a nice win, team took control, defense bent but didnt break O line looked good in protection and a nice job run blocking, especially Josh Meyers who is doing a hell of a job getting to the next level on rushing plays. Battle between Turner and the Steelers Watt for who can be dirtiest in the trenches. Late hit on Rodgers and a trip by Watt, a couple gut punches and a nice eye poke by Turner. Rodgers looks crisp and engaged. only issues I see are the injuries. I believe they escorted half the secondary off the field tonight. Now the tough times start, four of next five are away games. I think if we can avoid more injuries this team can win a super bowl. Oh, big shout out to Gary for going over a lineman to sack Big Ben, and to Eric Stokes on a nice pick. They went after him all game, but he stood in there and made a big play at the end to seal the deal. GO PACK GO!!

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NJMagic's picture

October 03, 2021 at 09:49 pm

Cobb might be our second best DB too

4 points
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croatpackfan's picture

October 04, 2021 at 03:11 am

Well, he showed us how good he can be at zone D. Well thrown pass from Diva, he was able to deflect. Great CB play!

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Thegravedigger's picture

October 03, 2021 at 10:02 pm

im surprised by all the negativity in the chatrooms today after this win. the Defense played a tough, and gritty game once again. they contained the run, got some pressure, and tackled very well. thats 3 huge issues that the packers had last year. they are giving up a bit more in the passing game, but they are playing tough, hardnosed football on the LOS on both sides of the ball. they won the LOS the last 2 weeks for 8 quarters straight. with 2 rookies, 2 first time starters in nijman and runyan, and billy turner. those guys won the LOS against bosa, ford and armstead last week, and watt, heyward, engram, devin bush and alonzo highsmith this week, those are some bad dudes. since 2019, ive heard alot of fans call this team "soft." i too was guilty of that. they are not soft anymore. not these dudes. and with rodgers at the helm, they have proven they can win in different ways like the author said. last week, it was man coverage on adams, so rodgers fed it to him. THis week, he was doubled and tripled, with no mvs to take the top off, and rodgers still found cobb, lazard and the backs running around the middle of the field. No z, no mvs, no jaire in the 2nd half. no bakh, no elgton, no kris barnes. the only guy who was missing tackles was oren burks. so instead of complaining about them not running the ball at the end of the game, or some other bs, im gonna give this team credit today for a hard fought victory, again. this game is won at the LOS, and the packers are doing just that. onto the bengals.

6 points
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Crankbait's picture

October 03, 2021 at 10:49 pm

Pack very fortunate to win this game. Rogers couldn't put them away in the fourth quarter but the defense did against a worn out Ben Roethlisberger.
Packers very lucky that Ben missed at least two wide open touchdown passes.
Not impressed by the Packers in this game but not in panic mode either.

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wildbill's picture

October 03, 2021 at 10:52 pm

Was at the game and was wondering how many pressures we ended up with. We had some decent pressure at times but mainly seemed Big Ben mostly had a lot of time to pass and he missed a number of good opportunities with bad passes. Happy for the win and praying Alexander is ok

3 points
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Wrongbayfeldlman's picture

October 03, 2021 at 11:27 pm

Well it looks like we need a moniker for our punter. Doesn’t seem like the ‘weapon’ should be used again.
What a leg. Seems like GB has a top tier punter on it’s hands.
Lefty? Boomer? The assassin?

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Turophile's picture

October 04, 2021 at 04:30 am

A nod to past Bond films with:
'Skyfall'.

Alternatively, 'Sinistral'

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PatrickGB's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:49 am

I think that the negativity comes from proactive fear. Fans say negative things to protect themselves against a letdown when it might happen. For some, the roller coaster of highs and lows are difficult to handle. And standards are high in packer land.

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