Senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.
Packers ailing defense gives healthy performance–shuts down Jets rushing game, hinders Sanchez, and makes key turnovers: Missing four starters on defense and forced to use two players who joined the team last week, the Packers turned in a magnificent four-quarter defensive performance and stunned the New York Jets, 9-0, at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday. “I’m very proud of our defense,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “I thought they were outstanding.” The Packers held the Jets’ potent running game in check, limited Mark Sanchez, & came up with three killer turnovers, all in Green Bay territory. “More than anything, I’m really proud of the way these guys fought their tails off,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “When we needed plays, they went and made plays. I hope we can be gritty like this the rest of the way.” Among the heroes were Woodson and Williams, who wrestled balls out of receivers’ hands for interceptions, and LB Walden and DL Green. “It all comes down to stopping the run, man, especially in their place, in a game like this, tight the whole time,” said linebacker A.J. Hawk. “You’ve got to stop the run and take away their No. 1 threat and make them one-dimensional, and we did that.” The Packers held Tomlinson to 54 yards in 16 carries (3.4) and Greene to 22 in six (3.7). The longest run by either back was eight yards.
Packers 9 Jets 0 as Masthay gives Jets the boot: Cornerback Woodson–“Masthay did an excellent job today of kicking it out of our end of the field and getting it to their end of the field, and the teams getting down there and covering. That was an outstanding day of punting, and that played big for us. To have them have to drive 70, 80 yards, that’s the kind of field position we like to go out there with.” On a day when the offense was out of sync and the defense was forcing turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble recovery, plus a pair of fourth-down stops), the Packers’ first-year punter was one of their MVPs. Masthay punted eight times, averaging 44.0 gross yards, 41.5 net yards and 4.51 seconds of hang time, with five of his kicks being downed inside the 20-yard line and only one resulting in a touchback. The Jets were forced to fair-catch three of the punts and registered zero return yards.
Offense struggles–Rodgers, McCarthy shoulder the blame: There wasn’t a lot of blame to be assigned after the Green Bay Packers’ 9-0 upset of the powerful New York Jets Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium, but any blame there was ended up being directed mostly at the offense. After Aaron Rodgers had the lowest completion percentage in his three years as the Packers’ starting quarterback and the offense registered season-lows in first downs, yards and points, it was coach Mike McCarthy, the architect of the offense, who took the bullet for scoring only three field goals against the fearsome Jets defense. “Frankly, I’ll take responsibility for the offense,” McCarthy said. “We (simplified) a lot of things based on the way we viewed them as a defense and we probably over-analyzed certain situations and I thought we played that way in the first half, especially on third down. We just couldn’t extend a drive there. Came in at halftime, went back to the basics, thought we moved the ball very well but we had the costly penalties on those first two series. We need to clean things up on offense and obviously be more productive in points. They looked like they were moving fast and we were not. It’s like anything in football. You can’t go out and try to be right all the time. You need to go out and play, trust your adjustments. We need to go out there, run our base offense against these defenses and let’s just go play.”