Game Recap: Packers Fall to Eagles 34-27, Suffer First Loss of Season

Undefeated no more. A lot of us thought this would be the game where the Packers (3-1, 2-0 NFC North) would finally get rolling and click on both sides of the ball, but the Philadelphia Eagles (2-2, 1-0 NFC East) had other plans, handing the Packers their first loss of the season, 34-27, at Lambeau Field Thursday night.

"Hard fought game. Obviously one that came down to the ball,” Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur said in his post-game interview. “We talk about it all the time. In this game we were minus two and that's not going to get it done in this league. We got to coach better, got to play better."

The Packers’ offense struck quick on their first offensive drive, which was also their longest scoring drive of the season, as they cruised 89 yards down the field in just five plays in only 2:18 for a touchdown. It was running back Aaron Jones who found the endzone off a 3-yard run, scoring his third rushing touchdown in the last two games.

The first play of that first drive, unfortunately ended up being devastating, as running back Jamaal Williams was involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision and had to be stretchered off the field. Williams gave a thumbs up to the crowd at Lambeau as he was being carted off, but it was heartbreaking to see that happen to him. On a completely personal note, I truly am thinking of Williams and hoping for a speedy recovery for him. We need him back out there dancing.

The Packers’ defense looked sharp in the first quarter, but after that, the Eagles quickly began to pick them apart, especially with their run game. It was the first time this season we saw Mike Pettine’s crew truly be outplayed, and by a pretty banged up Eagles offense too. After Packer’ kicker Mason Crosby hit a 30-yard field goal to open the second quarter, the Eagles responded with a touchdown, held the Packers to another field goal, and quickly responded with two more touchdowns to shift the momentum in their favor and take a 21-13 lead.

And just like that, the Eagles never trailed once the rest of the game.

The Packers’ offense, where much of the weight was carried by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams, was not the problem Thursday as it had been in previous weeks. It was the defense who could not find answers to stop the Eagles’ run game.

The offense even sparked a comeback at the end of the first half after Rodgers found wide receiver Geronimo Allison for a 19-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-20. They even tied the game at 27 late in the third quarter, off another spectacular touchdown catch from tight end Jimmy Graham, but the Eagles’ run game continued to pound this Packers’ defense as running back Jordan Howard found the endzone for the second time to put the Eagles up by 7. Rodgers and the Packers got a chance to tie the game with a minute left, but Rodgers pass was deflected in the end zone off an unlucky bounce and the Eagles were gifted a game winning interception.

It was the first time in Rodgers’ career that he threw an interception within the 3-yard line.

With some questionable play calling, significant injuries, and trouble in paradise for the first time for this Packers’ defense, there was plenty to take away from Thursday night’s game.

The good news? 3-1 is not such a terrible place to be.

 

What we learned: The offense still doesn’t have an identity

Man, oh man, did the offense have ups and downs Thursday night, with the play calling at the center of it all. Davante Adams was literally on fire in the first quarter, yet the Packers decided to fix what was not even a little bit broke. Adams was 6/6 for 107 yards (ESPN stats) and Rodgers was 10/10 for 129 yards (ESPN stats) in just the first quarter, and for a while it looked like the Packers were going to just feed Tae and let him have a night against the Eagle’s depleted secondary. For some reason, that changed.

After the first quarter the play calling was all over the place. The Packers continuously ran on first downs after being successful multiple times in their aerial game, and Jones, who ended up being the only true active running back available, was stuffed repeatedly. When the Packers were running the ball, they should have been throwing, and when the Packers had a 1st and goal on the 2-yard line and decide to throw every single time and get nothing out of it, well, they should have probably been running.

The wide receiver group really got exposed Thursday too. After having a monster night, Adams left the game with a toe injury late in the fourth quarter and never returned. With Rodgers trying to lead the Packers to a comeback late in the game, it was more evident than ever that there was no solid WR2 option that was able to step up.

 

What went right: Rodger’s pass game

Anyone who was watching the game Thursday night got to see Aaron Rodgers playing some of the best football he can play. Although the play calling for the passing game was shaky at times, when it was on, it was on. Rodgers threw for a total of 422 yards and 2 TDs (ESPN stats) and was putting together some spectacular drives for Green Bay. The passing game was not perfect, but it was certainly better than it has been in weeks prior.  

 

What went wrong: The run game and the run defense

Everything related to the run on both sides of the ball Thursday seemed like a mystery for the Packers. They could not produce a run game of their own, only putting up a total of 77 rushing yards, with Rodgers collecting over half of that and it was brutal to watch.

When it came to stopping the run game for the Packers’ defense, things went even further South. The Eagles put together 176 rushing yards against the Packers and on nearly every single one of their scoring drives, a long run was the catalyst that landed them into the red zone. Heading to Dallas in 10 days with a defense that struggled to stop Jordan Howard is going to be in for a rude awakening with Ezekiel Elliot if they do not make the proper adjustments.

 

Offensive Standouts: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams

Good lord were these guys fun to watch Thursday.

Aaron Rodgers looked vintage for much of the game and finished the night 34/53 for 422 passing yards, 5 carries for 46 yards, and 2 TDs (ESPN stats). Rodgers was dancing around and escaping the pocket on numerous occasions and he looked so good doing it.

There were a few plays where some throws were off, but he was the closest we have seen to his glory days so far this season.

With Aaron heating up, it was not surprise he was continuously finding his favorite target too. Davante Adams had a career night before leaving the game due to injury, with 10 receptions for 180 yards (ESPN stats). According to the Packers’ Official Twitter, his 158 first half yards were the most by a Packers receiver in the first half since Antonio Freeman recorded 169 vs. Tennessee on Dec. 20, 1998.

 

Defensive Standout: Kevin King

Sunday was by no means his best day, but he really turned it around for himself Thursday night. Cornerback Kevin King looked tremendous against the Eagles before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a groin injury. King was a monster in coverage and broke up several potential big plays for the Eagles. That was the King we all know and love to see and that I would love to see even more. Hopefully, with a mini-buy in this next 10 days, he can rehab his injury and be ready to bring it again in Dallas two Sundays from now.

 

Up next, the Packers hit the road and pay a visit to former Packer Randall Cobb and the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:25 PM EST.

 

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (28)

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 27, 2019 at 01:57 am

I truly dislike the Cowgirls and all evidence points towards our D getting run over by them. Our D has been run over 3 weeks in a row. The Cowpies have a better Oline then the teams we played so far and a Pro-bowl RB. This could get ugly and unbearable to watch ( I hope not) .

We need to outscore Dallas. We will need D. Adam's, but I fear he has turf toe or something not so good. I hope not! Here's to Adams, Bulaga, Burks, Williams, King and all injured Packers to heal up fast. Go Pack

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KenEllis's picture

September 27, 2019 at 01:18 am

Love all that Gute has done on D by brining in Jaire, Savage, Amos, and the Smiths.

But this team was so lacking in talent when Gute took over in January of 2018 that not even the D is fixed yet. We need another couple of defensive lineman to complement Kenny Clark and Tyler Lancaster, Montravious Adams, and Dean Lowry are not those lineman.

We also need someone to either be able to play the run or defend the pass at inside linebacker, I can't imagine having one who could do both of those things because it has never been done since I've been watching the Packers. What we've got is Blake who is a little too slow to be good in coverage and a little too small to be much good against the run.

Then there is the offense. A starting TE has been needed since Ted told Jared Cook he'd rather pay Martellus Bennett more money to do nothing for us. We have Davante and a bunch of average Joes at WR so at least 1 decent addition is needed. Then there is tackle where Bulaga is always injured and is about to become a free agent. How about RB?

Love the wins over the Bears and Vikings but this is not a team that can compete for a Super Bowl title in 2019, it's just not.

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 27, 2019 at 02:03 am

I agree KenEllis . We are not going anywhere with this run D. Kenny Clark gets double teamed and the other D lineman get shoved around. Then there's no stud ILB to pop the RB. We need a Ray Ray Lewis type ILB, or better yet, a Brian Urlacher type which can cover and stuff the run.

We also another elite weapon on offense.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:36 am

Part of the issue, i thought, was that pettine was intentionally focusing on pass defense, knowing that the run game can't beat us as easily. This game saw big runs early, this wasn't allowing 4/5 yard plays. So what was concerning is that early on you could see that this was an issue, and there was no answer for ut the rest of the game. Pettine didn't have the guys to stop the run, even when it was the clear priority. Hope montravious adams comes back soon

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holmesmd's picture

September 28, 2019 at 05:35 pm

Martinez certainly isn’t “too small”. We do need a true chase inside backer with a bit more speed. Greene is missed. The season is long. Every team will have ebbs & flows. There is plenty of talent on defense. Be patient!

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NickPerry's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:22 am

After week 4 of the Packers schedule in year 100 of the NFL, I still have no F***ing idea what PI is.

Someone needs to smash Schwartz up the side of the head (Say for example with a football helmet to the ear/temple area) and see if his defenses continue to play the way they do.

As great as Rodgers was this game (And he was GREAT), just as awful are the receiving options not named Davante Adams on this roster. This IS NOT Gutes fault either. Sure they'll have the occasional play here and there (G-Mo's 2 catches at end of 1st half for example). Gute was tasked with trying to rebuild ON THE FLY a roster that was filled with too many bad draft choices from the previous GM and draft after draft after draft of selecting defense instead of giving the most talented QB in the NFL WEAPONS not named Adams. This next offseason will determine if Rodgers wins another SB in GB. Gute HAS to go all in on offense.

Matt LaFleur looked EXACTLY like a coach who has one year of play-calling experience.

Rodgers was 50-0 when having a 10 point lead at home, 50-0!

The Packers HAVE to have a better option than Light at RT...They HAVE to.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:40 am

Seriously. There should have been 2 PI fouls against the DB on MVS. Both would have been game changers. But nope.

The Eagles defense was very cheap. That first hit on Williams is the type of play that needs to be out of this game. He should have been ejected!
And there should have been a helmet to helmet hit on the first Punt Return.

One thing that does hurt is they lost EQ from last year. He was another WR with experience. Kumerow is a guy who could be counted on but he is hurt. MVS was interfered with on at least 2 of the passes thrown his way.
I agree next year we need to add more, but I don't think we are in dire need right now.

Overall I'm fine with LaFleur's play calling. I saw complaints of running on first down to much. Honestly I haven't seen anything that is really concerning.

Hopefully with this mini bye we can come back a bit healthier. This team looked like it just played 4 days ago.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 27, 2019 at 01:38 pm

Agree RC, folks acting like the ghost of Dan Divine showed up on the sideline last night. Like we fans didn't know that there were holes on this team unfilled. Bottom line here. Young and thin with real talent across the roster. But we fans knew that too. Yay for the mini bye......

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Cubbygold's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:30 am

I expected growing pains, both from the new offense and a defense that had so many new pieces. What I never thought I'd see through 4 games is a complete inability to run the football.

Old man complaint of the day... I didn't like the second quarter team defense celebration on the fumble return for a TD. LaFleur needs to tell them to cut that out. If the defense makes a game ending play (like PHI last night) go ahead and enjoy the success. Doing that in the middle of the second quarter is just a 'look at me' type of attitude. That play gets overturned and the defense gets steamrolled for a TD. The defense was absolutely terrible last night, they need more humility when they have individual successes. King's celebrations while guarding Jeffrey, who could barely jog, was obnoxious.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:38 am

Jason Wilde has a great picture of the reciever being completely mauled on the final INT. GB had timeouts and, I believe, a challenge. Any reason why lafleur couldn't have thrown the red flag?

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NickPerry's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:27 am

You can't challenge a play inside of 2 minutes of any half. MLF should have called TO there and hopefully, give them some more time to review. BUT...WTF is PI anyways?? The play MLF challenged was such clear and obvious PI it was pathetic.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:51 am

I tend to roll my eyes at people complaining about officiating, mostly because I live in Minnesota and vikings fans actually believe the refs are working for GB.

That said, how were there 0 holding calls last night? I thought PHI was holding a lot, not a single call. I'm not against letting the guys play, but it's just so inconsistent week to week.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 27, 2019 at 01:29 pm

Same problem is pass interference. The league (read Goodell) jaw jaw the officials just before the start of the season to reinterpret the holding call to give more protection to the QB in the pocket. Of course, the league never considered the effect non calls would have on the run game, like outright holding on every play by the eagles. No harm, no fowl right? Teams watch video, they know whats going on, if the league does not return to the old style hold call, this could get real ugly, real fast across the NFL.

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PackersWinning's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:52 am

Anybody still think Graham is worth $12mil...ie 3rd highest paid on the team? After the 1st and goal from the 1........ how about another linemen? Anyone else want to talk about Gary instead of the best middle linebacker in the draft? At least King and Alexander are really good and we have 2 safeties for a change.

I like our coach, but he’s not in Doug Peterson’s league. It’s about in game adjustment. Coach gets a C-

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edp1959's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:10 am

Packers need to find a running back now, A Jones is not one, I have been saying this from day one. The interior offensive line is garbage and has been for years. QB is going to have another year where offense has to score +30 to win games. The defense got their asses handed to them last night.

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johngalt's picture

September 27, 2019 at 06:44 pm

Getting kinda edp. A Jones is a legit rb. What are you wanting, 20yd runs every time? You’re right, the O- line struggled against Philly’s D line. It happens. They get paid too. Thank God you aren’t on the team.

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edp1959's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:22 am

We have a defense.....not!

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Turophile's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:42 am

The refs were awful........... I am not one to complain at refs who sometimes get things wrong, because all refs, umpires, line judges etc sometimes get it wrong, but I do get angry when I see the headhunting attempts by Philadelphia, early in that game, attempts that were essentially ignored by the refs. There were other bad calls, but as I said any arbiter of a game can make mistakes in live action. That happens and is a part of the game. What is inexcusable is failing to take action when they have recourse to watch a replay, and there is a clear view of what happened.

First comes the helmet to helmet hit on Shepherd. A shoulder charge would have been fine (the result would have been pretty brutal, but it IS allowable). Targetting the opponents helmet is not allowable and yet there was no penalty given. Then, the much worse, dreadful hit on Jamaal, while he was helpless (ie unable to avoid). He was in the arms of a huge defensive lineman and while being held immobile, was given an appalling helmet to helmet hit by Derek Barnett which he could neither avoid or even bounce off the hit, to lessen the impact.

That smacked of a double-teamed headhunting play that was designed to take a player out of the game due to injury. The hit was so hard you can actually see William's helmet deforming as it is hit in the side by Barnett's helmet. It took out our best pass protecting RB, and had an effect on the whole game.

I haven't see such blatant targetting since Washington's Merriweather tried to take out both the Packers RB's (in that case he knocked one out of the game and knocked himself silly trying a second helmet to helmet hit on another). Why Barnett's hit didn't result in an immediate ejection is beyond me. Zero excuse for the refs, because they can review the play (they had plenty of time while Williams was out, on the ground). I DO understand and have nothing against an attempt to get a helmet on the ball being carried, to try and knock it out, but there was no attempt at that, THIS WAS A PLAY INTENDED TO INJURE, AND IT DID.

Just to be clear, physical play is fine, nothing wrong with that, but what happened at Lambeau was something else.

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stockholder's picture

September 27, 2019 at 07:51 am

Correct in every way. Another thing that must stop. Holding up the ball carrier, so second shot can make them fumble.

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Booner's picture

September 27, 2019 at 09:48 am

Great post Turophile Swartz is a scumbag! Headhunting has always been in his game plan! Barnett not getting kicked out is unbelievable! Why have the rule NFL if you don't enforce it?

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 27, 2019 at 09:33 am

The turnovers were killer. One led to an Eagles touchdown and the other was the end of the game.

But this game came down to red zone execution. The Eagles scored a TD every time they were down close and the Packers kicked two short field goals and came away with no points twice.

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PackfanNY's picture

September 27, 2019 at 09:42 am

After sleeping on the Packers poor performance I’ll say this:
1- Packers didn’t lose because of officiating. It is clear that the pass interference rules and review process is a complete mess. What is PI? Anyone know? I don’t.
2- Players talk crap about player safety. Yet, we had two players carted off the field because instead of tackling they launched themselves like missiles with their head gear as a weapon. How the officials on the kick return did not call a penalty AND eject the player is mystifying. It is not enough that players go over and apologize to the player as the guy is carted off on a stretcher. Until the NFL and players themselves do something about these needless plays it will continue.
3- Contrary to some of the comments here the season is not over. Packers like everyone else aren’t going undefeated. The Eagles who everyone are now praising are 2-2 and lost last week to the Lions. People need perspective. This is a marathon not a sprint. Not meant to be a cakewalk.
4- New staff needs to adjust...Quickly. This is a test of their ability. They need to address, special teams, run defense, run game offense, goal line offense and injuries. We are going to find something about all our players and coaches over the course of the season. Time for them to prove why they were hired and get back to addressing the issues.

I apologize for the length of my post but it was good for me to vent. Go Pack!

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pacman's picture

September 27, 2019 at 11:27 am

On the one yard line - bring in Kenny Clark to pound the the ball in or lead for AJ.

But it certainly shows the our OL is not a running OL. At best, they can protect AR. But they can't open up holes anywhere. It was up to AJ to sneak through cracks.

They say Philly has one the best OL's so maybe our DL is not that bad. But those holes they opened up were so big that it showed that we didn't adjust/scheme to plug the holes.

Sorry, Graham - you get paid that much without the ability to block, then you better catch everything that touches your hands.

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Lphill's picture

September 27, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Blake Martinez is not worth resigning. Lets see what Ty Summers can do,cant be any worse than Martinez,next week can be a nice rebound game,the cowboys beat the Dolphins , Redskins and Giants with Eli, I think the Packers have a chance, Rodgers likes it there, home of his Super Bowl win.

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Lare's picture

September 27, 2019 at 05:09 pm

Two thoughts on the game:

1. The NFL should be truly embarrassed by the quality (or lack thereof) of their officiating. I’ll bet it’s driving many fans away from watching the game.

2. When did they hire McCarthy, Capers and Zook back?

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murf7777's picture

September 27, 2019 at 08:52 pm

Let’s not over react, it’s one loss against a quality team.sure, we need to fix the run D, but the O is coming around and the ST is much better. Scott was a steal in the draft. I’m very happy at 3-1 and twodivision wins.

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wildbill's picture

September 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm

As much as I enjoy reading the over reactions and panic after a loss it always surprises me. Chill the “F” out. Every team has bad days and yea sometimes you may luck out and win those games, but very seldom against a very good opponent. As many have stated, it’s a long season so how about we see what adjustments are made in the next game before you put your Packer gear up for the year.

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JoannaKingsman's picture

June 06, 2020 at 03:28 am

good game

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