Preseason Game Recap: Jets Beat Packers 23-14

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ second preseason game against the Jets.     

After a week of joint practices with the New York Jets, the Green Bay Packers fell short with a 23-14 loss in week two of preseason.  

The Packers won the coin toss and deferred, so the Jets were first to take the field and try and make something happen on Saturday. They rolled out their first-string offense, against what was primarily second and third sting guys for the Packers, and quickly found some rhythm.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson led the way for New York, connecting with wide receiver Corey Davis over the middle for a 24-yard pickup for a first down. Green Bay’s rookie cornerback Eric Stokes got beat badly on the play. However, Stokes channeled his inner goldfish and quickly forgot about the mishap. On a third down later in the drive, Stokes bounced back by breaking up a key pass play and forcing the Jets to settle for a 54-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Jordan Love was inactive Saturday as a result of a strained throwing shoulder in the first preseason game, so Kurt Benkert got the start at quarterback for the Packers, and he didn’t disappoint. On Green Bay’s opening drive, Benkert and running back AJ Dillon took charge.  

The duo connected for 6 yards to open what would be a four-minute drive. Then, Dillon rushed for 9 yards and a first down, followed by another 5-yard pickup. Following back-to-back rushes from Dillon, Benkert showed off his stuff by making an impressive throw on the run to wide receiver Malik Taylor for a 23-yard gain. The officials initially ruled the catch out of bounce, but Packers head coach Matt LaFleur (with encouragement from Aaron Rodgers) challenged the ruling on the field and won.

From there, the Packers continued to make their way down the field. Dillon rushed for an 11-yard gain and a first down, and then picked up 3- and 6-yard catches consecutively to put the Packers in scoring position. Then, rookie running back Kylin Hill rushed for 12 yards and a touchdown to give Green Bay a 7-3 lead.

On their next offensive drives, both the Jets and Packers failed to make anything happen. For the Packers, on the defensive side, linebacker Krys Barnes came up with a key stop on 3rd and 1 to force New York to punt. And, on the offensive side, tight end Jace Sternberger dropped a nice pass from Benkert on third down that would’ve been a first down.  

As time ticked away in the first quarter, the Wilson to Davis connection only improved for the Jets. Wilson found his favorite target for 14 yards and 27 yards on back-to-back plays to quickly put New York at Green Bay’s 16-yard line. Then, to open the second quarter, Wilson completed an 18-yard pass over the middle to tight end Tyler Kroft for a touchdown and the 10-7 lead. To make matters worse, it appeared there was a clear miscommunication from the Packers pre-snap that may have led to the scoring play.

Green Bay, however, was not fazed. They responded with the game’s most impressive touchdown drive, which stretched 10:19, 19 plays and 81 yards. After tripping on his offensive lineman’s foot on back-to-back plays, Benkert quickly bounced back on third down by throwing a laser to Taylor for a first down. Then, rookie wide receiver Amari Rodgers got into the mix for the Packers with a 9-yard gain on third down. And, in line with what LaFleur has said all preseason, the Packers weren’t afraid to go for it on 4th and 2. Lucky for them, they got the first down, and more, after Benkert hit wide receiver Reggie Begelton on an 11-yard play. Benkert continued to heat up, then hitting Taylor on a 21-yard pass play to put the Packers at the Jets 14-yard line. With the help of a defensive holding call on third down, the Packers found themselves back in the end zone after Benkert lobbed one up to Sternberger for a 5-yard touchdown and the 14-10 lead.

The excitement from the Packers’ monstrous drive was short lived though. On the kickoff, Packers special teams laid a huge egg and allowed a 73-yard return that almost immediately put the Jets in scoring position. Barely a minute later, Wilson connected with Kroft again, this time for an 18-yard touchdown on the left side of the field to put the Jets up 17-14.

Green Bay and New York would each get another shot at putting points on the board before halftime, but both failed to make something happen.

Most of the action in this preseason matchup took place in the first half, but there were a few notable moments in the second half as well. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the negatives outweighed the positives in the latter half of week two of preseason. For the second week in a row, the Packers failed to score a single point in the second half.

On the first play of the second half, Packers running back Patrick Taylor fumbled and the Jets recovered it with great field position. However, Packers’ rookie TJ Slaton came up with a big play on second down and sacked Jet’s quarterback Mike White for a 7-yard loss. After that, New York couldn’t recover on third down and had to settle for a 46-yard field goal attempt. And, just as they were all day long, the attempt was good, and the Jets extended their lead to 20-14.

On their next drive, the Jets would eat up over four minutes on the clock, but, in the end, still had to settle for a field goal to extend their lead to 23-14.

Later in the third quarter, the Packers appeared to have finally gained momentum, but it didn’t last long after Benkert was intercepted on 1st and 10 at the Jets 34. Luckily for Green Bay, New York struggled to take advantage of the turnover and was forced to punt.

The late third quarter punt resulted in a rare highlight for the Packers’ special teams unit, after Begelton had a solid return to the Green Bay 40 for 28 yards. It appeared that brought some life to Green Bay’s offense after Benkert connected with Rodgers on back-to-back 4- and 15-yard plays, but it wasn’t enough after the Packers failed to convert on fourth down, resulting in a turnover on downs.

The rest of the way, both teams struggled to find much of anything. Benkert was sacked shortly before he called it a day and then Packers quarterback Jake Dolegala was intercepted with just under two minutes left to lock in our final score of Jets 23 Packers 14.

 

What we learned: Malik Taylor is probably making the roster

Have a day, Malik Taylor. The gritty wide receiver surely made a statement for why he should make Green Bay’s final roster on Saturday. He was all over the place on offense, leading the team in receiving with 4 receptions for 66 yards (ESPN stats).

LaFleur has been open about how the Packers just need to fill the final few spots on their roster and Taylor surely made an argument for why one of those spots belongs to him. The final days of camp and the preseason game in Buffalo next week will be crucial for him to continue to ride this high.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see how it all plays out.

 

What went right: Kylin Hill and the O-Line

For the second week in a row, rookie running back Kylin Hill looked like he was a steal for the Packers in this year’s draft. He supported the offense with solid play out of the backfield and with pass catching. He finished the day with 7 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown and 2 receptions for 11 yards (ESPN stats).

Unlike last week, Hill did get some support from the Packers’ o-line in week two of preseason. I thought the o-line looked lightyears better than last week, especially with solid play from Yosh Nijman.

 

What went wrong: Special teams (again) and second half offense (again)

For the second week in a row, special teams and the second half offense were sour spots for Green Bay. Special teams truly struggled across the board, with the exception of that nice return from Begelton in the third quarter. In addition to giving up significant yardage on punt and kick returns, punter JK Scott didn’t look great either, even punting for just 21 yards one time in the second half.

For the Packers’ second half offense, it was just a myriad of mishaps. Here is how the second half panned out for Green Bay:

  1. Fumble
  2. Punt (21-yarder)
  3. Interception
  4. Turnover on Downs
  5. Punt
  6. Interception  

I don’t think I need to say much more.

 

Offensive MVP: Kurt Benkert

Kurt Benkert surely won over a lot more Packers fan on Saturday. Although he would be the third string quarterback for Green Bay, he’s still been a huge fan favorite this off/preseason and seems to be really well liked by the Packers players and staff.

With Love out this week, this was a huge opportunity for Benkert to try and prove why he deserves to be with the Packers, and he really took advantage.

He finished the day 18/25 for 151 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception (ESPN stats). Similar to Taylor, I really am invested in how this plays out for Benkert and the Packers at the end of preseason.

 

Defensive MVP: TJ Slaton

To be quite honest, no one in particular had a stand-out day on the Packers defense, but it was great to see rookie defensive tackle TJ Slaton get involved and get a sack on Saturday. He finished the day toward the top of the box score for the Packers with 4 total tackles, 3 of which were solo and his 1 sack for -7 yards (ESPN stats).

Although he still has work to do, Slaton is surely someone the Packers should be excited about on defense.  

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers travel to Highmark Stadium for their final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is set for Saturday, August 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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6 points

Comments (24)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Alberta_Packer's picture

August 21, 2021 at 07:59 pm

*I stopped counting on how many tackles Gaines made.
*the only visual worse than Scott's 21 yd. punt – were his bermuda shorts.
*listened briefly on NFL.com – about how great Wilson was (and he was good) – but they failed to mention that he was playing against Packers second team. Once again, hype over perspective.
*a gold star for Malik Taylor – who refuses to go gently into the night.
*Yosh Nijman may have become fully sentient (“nothing so concentrates the mind as the sight of gallows”).
*once again, Heflin and Slaton were conspicuous by their presence.
*it's not officially a Packers game unless the opposing team has one long ST return.
*I think that the Jets will progress under Robert Saleh – seems like a zen-like dude.

5 points
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Gman1976's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:00 pm

Those “Bermuda shorts” were quite noticeable! I hope they don’t become the next new fad.

3 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 21, 2021 at 10:23 pm

Uniform trending towards women's beach volleyball?

0 points
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HawkPacker's picture

August 22, 2021 at 08:19 am

Isn't it great that the Packers are a 'cold weather' team?

2 points
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Gman1976's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:00 pm

Those “Bermuda shorts” were quite noticeable! I hope they don’t become the next new fad.

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

August 22, 2021 at 09:36 am

This new d coach has installed the exact defense his predecessors did. I now think the zone coverage is coverage for the coaches who have players too slow, too small, too un skilled to actually play man to man coverage.
One thing Wilson did well, saw our guy playing off 8 yards so he passes to his receiver for an easy gain. Ya that is working well for this team.
Second or third string, they were playing what they were coached to do

3 points
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ImaPayne's picture

August 21, 2021 at 07:53 pm

observations. 1. lets get the ateam out there next week. We need to see what love can do, kind of the point of pre season. Saving him, for what?
2. Taylor looked good but St Brown, Funches et al held out, like he has already nade the team?
3. Prevent d again, aka past two d coaches? Why not man to see who can cover who cant. gee must be lack of size and speed. This d is in trouble.
4. looks like pack is lets just score a lot and slow the other teams. Defense means little, we got rodgers.

-2 points
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packer132's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:54 pm

Love had an injury and same with Funchess who was injured in Wednesday's practice. St. Brown had an injury and will most likely be cut. Packers sat 40 starters plus injured players against 1st string of the Jets. You need to evaluate the bottom of the roster to determine cuts, rather than play starters whom you already know.

8 points
8
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Lphill's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:54 pm

JK Scott is God awful .

6 points
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3
Coldworld's picture

August 21, 2021 at 10:13 pm

He had two great punts and one complete howler. The JK Scott we have all come to expect. Just stop asking him to directional stuff. Might as well throw a Hail Mary if you want that. Rodgers can throw 3 times as far.

5 points
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PackfanNY's picture

August 22, 2021 at 10:47 am

JK Scott is consistently inconsistent. At this point of his career he should be better.

2 points
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Horrible4's picture

August 21, 2021 at 08:56 pm

How has Benkert won over fans? I really don't see what other people are seeing. Sure the flashes are great but his concentration sucks and really doesn't offer much more than just being a bad backup. I saw the same unnecessary hype for Tim Boyle as well. For some reason it just seems like every season some no upside UDFA QB comes into Green Bay, has a great personality and as long as he makes one or two plays in the preseason there'll be an overstatement to how good he is.

Tim Boyle isn't good and neither is Kurt Benkert, both are terrible backup options.

-15 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 21, 2021 at 10:14 pm

Benkert is an intriguing number 3 to develop further, but he is going to be on the PS.

5 points
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Bure9620's picture

August 22, 2021 at 08:04 am

While I agree Tim Boyle was overhyped, I think the concensus was for a 3rd QB whom was a tryout guy, he played well and the Packers have a 3rd guy whom can run an offense. Would he win games if pressed into duty? Probably not.

0 points
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egbertsouse's picture

August 22, 2021 at 08:08 am

His mental processing is fast and his release is quick, unlike Love. He is a bit out of control at times but the skill set to be a decent backup seems to be there. If you speed up Love’s processing and coach out that wind-up and long stride throwing motion, Love might be an NFL starter.

1 points
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Horrible4's picture

August 22, 2021 at 03:53 pm

Is the mental processing fast though? Or is he just trying to get it out to his first read ASAP? The release is fine, it's not elite or anything, but the release is fine. You give the processing nod, the progression, the arm talent, and decision making to Love.

Again, I have no idea why you're overstating how good Benkert is.

0 points
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murf7777's picture

August 21, 2021 at 09:51 pm

Benkert reminds me of Majic man. A Gunslinger and should make the roster or PS.

8 points
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Johnblood27's picture

August 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Deleted

0 points
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MITM's picture

August 22, 2021 at 07:01 am

I like Heflin, he is trying to make this team and God knows we NEED depth at the position. Kamal Martin looks absolutely lost out there. Amari Rodgers seems kind've stiff? I'm not sure how to describe it but he hasn't seemed as shifty as I'd thought. I've been done with JK Scott and the special teams coverage still sucks

6 points
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Harold Drake's picture

August 22, 2021 at 01:29 am

Excellent game report. Good to see that Benkert has the makings of a potential back-up or practice squad player. Not so sure that Malik Taylor will beat out Funchess or Winfree if six is the WR allotment. At least it's good to have viable options from which to choose. And this should mark the end of The Weapon's tenure with the Pack.

2 points
3
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ImaPayne's picture

August 22, 2021 at 09:45 am

Lets hope the brain trust understands, its show time next pre season game, time to get the big boys some reps because god knows they need them. Also its time to start getting rid of the dead wood. You dont have to wait till your told to get rid of them now.
Leflower needs to decide just who the hell will be on the O line and assign them postions. For sure most of them are not talented enough they can be moved around.
2. A punter who punts 21 yards would be off Zimmers team like 7 pm last night. These guys kill you in the end. He cut a draftee who missed three field goals in pre season. He was not in the draft and development mode, he was in the win now mode all the time.
3. Time for the pros to stop yuking it up on the sidelines and take it seriously. What you did last year was last year. Teams arent letting Adams run free this year. Teams know that Adams is Rodgers go to guy, no Adams, no easy targets.

-5 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 22, 2021 at 09:57 am

Zimmer is your measuring stick? I'll take Leflower. And you're saying last year teams didn't know Adams was Rodgers's go-to guy, they just figured it out?

3 points
3
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PackerAaron's picture

August 22, 2021 at 10:15 am

"Time for the pros to stop yuking it up on the sidelines and take it seriously." Lighten up, Francis.

2 points
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PackfanNY's picture

August 22, 2021 at 10:55 am

The next pre season game is in Buffalo. I would be more concerned with putting guys at risk on that surface there. If the Packers were going to risk injury this week was a better game. They didn’t. My guess is Packers are going into the season with many guys who won’t see game action this preseason. Is this the right decision? I don’t know but we are going to find out.

1 points
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