The Green Bay Packers comfortably led at halftime 20-10 in their Week Five game in London against the New York Giants and looked dominant on offense for the most part. Then in the second half, the Packers offense scored zero points as the Giants rallied to score 17 points in the second half. The Packers’ only points in the second half came on an intentional safety the Giants took as they ran out of time on a punt, so Aaron Rodgers had as little time as possible to attempt a final drive.
The Packers owned time for the first-half possession battle at nearly 18 minutes, but the Giants were able to maintain long drives and keep the Packers off the field for much of the second half. with possession time at 10:18 in the third quarter. and 9:17 in the fourth quarter. That translated into just three meaningful offensive drives for the Packers, who didn’t start their first second-half drive until 7:50 a.m. remaining in the third quarter.
First half call
In the first half, the Packers relied on quick passing play and running play to march down the field and score 20 first-half points. The combination of this passing and running attack slowed the Giants’ pass rush, allowing them to take advantage of game action and quick passing options to move the ball around.
First landing practice
On their first touchdown, Rodgers found Romeo Doubs (#87) wide open in the middle on a play action dagger concept. The dagger or a deep dig/break lane is an essential part of offense of the Packers and has explosive passing-play ability for Rodgers. No game action dagger has been very effective for the Packers under LaFleur in recent seasons and it has remained a reliable tool to help put the offense on the board late in the first quarter Sunday.
This is a two progression read for the quarterback, with the deep lane being the first read and the deep lane behind as the second read.
Rodgers executed the false play action run and immediately spun and located Randall Cobb (#18) on the deep road, but the closed side corner of the Giants 3-deep/3-under fire zone swung out. also sinks under the stock. as the middle hook defender, Rodgers comes out of the Doubs road on the dagger road behind Cobb and finds him wide open.
On the touchdown, Rodgers found Lazard on an RPO bubble screen to give them a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter on the same drive.
The read becomes the cantilever defender’s leverage that splits the difference between the end of the line of scrimmage and the slot receiver.
If he crashes or hesitates, Rodgers can launch into the bubble. If he widens at the snap, Rodgers will move through the middle.
Covering defender Lazard plays off-man coverage in the low red zone, which isn’t ideal for defending receivers in the red zone, given what the Packers offense likes to do here. Rodgers takes the snap and at mesh point, reads the overhanging defender stay home to chase the run away so Rodgers quickly fires the pass and throws it to Lazard who catches and secures the pass before sprinting into the end zone.
Second touchdown practice
On the second touchdown, the Packers methodically moved the ball down with gains four to five yards at a time, mostly through their use of RPO play. Each play had built-in passplay to go with the running game inside the zone that Rodgers has the freedom to throw based on leverage.
On plays in progress, Rodgers simply reads the defenders’ leverage and box count. If the defenders are in the press or closer to the line of scrimmage or have a power play advantage on the perimeter, then Rodger will hand the ball to the running back.
Reading the pass, Rodgers sees either uncovered coverage or an unfavorable box to run against (additional defenders the offense needs to block). Quick passes allow receivers to get into space and allow the offense to rely on yards after the reception.
The result of that drive was a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mercedes Lewis when he escaped Christian Watson’s fake sweep throw. The defense was concerned about the false end around Watson that no one covered Lewis wide open in the end zone.
Second half adjustments
In the second half, the Packers didn’t begin their first practice until 7:50 a.m. remaining in the third quarter. The Giants made some halftime adjustments that led to the Packers taking more chances on the field and LaFleur confirmed after the game they started to see more single high safety blankets which led to this series of play calls and almost giving up on what worked in the first half.
They were giving us a lot of cans of run-pass and they played a lot of single high and kept us busy and it’s you know do you want to run into a loaded box or do you want to try to get it through the air and unfortunately It didn’t work for us so like I said give credit you know Wink [Martindale] a guy I have a lot of respect for and he was super coached in the second half.
It wouldn’t have been a problem if Rodgers had connected on a few of those deep shots by hitting open receivers instead of forcing the ball into double coverage or leaving passes in the wrong places.
On two pitches later on the first drive of the second half, Rodgers passed open receivers to force the ball toward coverage. In the opener, Rodgers had Lazard open up against cover on a deep cross but looked to shoot Romeo Doubs who wasn’t really open and couldn’t separate well from the corner.
Lazard, on the other hand, had at least two steps on the defender. Rodgers shoved him down the field and luckily the Giants defender fired a penalty in the process.
In the second clip, Rodgers again forced the pass into the Doubs field, but this time the Doubs was framed by the deep safety with a corner kick into the lane below. The margin for error here was slim and Rodgers left the pass in front of everyone.
He should have recognized that he had no more throws towards the Doubs once security closed the course and that he missed seeing Christian Watson (n°9) wide open. If he chose not to cast Watson because he doesn’t trust him, then that’s a bigger issue.
Later in the fourth quarter, Rodgers let a pass in and out for Lazard who was 1-for-1 with the corner and Lazard couldn’t do it.
It’s a throw Rodgers has made a ton of times in the past and it’s one he should have given Lazard a better chance of catching by putting the ball on his outside shoulder and letting him make an adjustment. outside. It could be a timing issue or a chemistry issue with Lazard on those specific routes, but whatever the case, the playcalling was less of an issue than the pitches that were made.
The final game sequence
The Packers went back to what was working and fought their way to the 8-yard line where all they had to do was score to tie. The simplest task for this offense turned out to be overwhelming. From the 15-yard line, they gained 9 yards on two plays and needed a yard for a first down. The room calling to go there was not sound.
The Packers tried to simulate running a slant/flat concept that turns into a sluggo route by the #1 receiver on the outside in the trips and a fast flat route where the #2 receiver in the trips burst inside. The route combination is meant to confuse because defenders can’t determine who should cover whom, but the Giants are playing with No. 1 receiver coverage and tight No. 2 coverage to prevent that from happening.
The play is set to go the sluggo route run by Doubs but Rodgers has no window to throw and runs inside towards Cobb on the flat return route down the middle. The pass rush doesn’t come home as Rodgers turns to locate Cobb and resets, Kayvon Thibodeaux enters the passing lane and raises his arm, flipping the pass.
On the 4th and 1, LaFleur called an RPO with an inside zone. Defenders play the two-receiver side similar to the game above with coverage off on No. 1 and tight coverage on No. 2. Rodgers has his window based on route concepts, a “now” tilt with a “stack” route on top to create a pick or scrub on defenders.
But Rodgers signals Lazard by tapping his right shoulder, a signal that alerts the defense to point in that direction as well while they get in front.
This is purely a pre-snap box read and the original play call would have scored a touchdown or first down whether Rodgers decided to pass Doubs on the slant or give Dillon in the interior area. Instead, Rodgers takes the snap and fires it at isolated Lazard outside on the single receiver side. The Giants sent a blitz from the edge on that side and Rodgers threw it straight into the wall of Giants defenders.
It seems, based on the post-snap picture, that Doubs or Dillon would have been the better choice to give. Either player could have picked up first down. If Doubs wasn’t in the progression of the RPO, as it’s not common for the pass concept to be on the opposite side of the ball carrier where the quarterback can’t see him after the break, then the reading would have should have been to pass with the defensive leverage set on the edge and not in the middle.
Aaron Jones on #Packers passing 3rd-and-2, 4th-and-2 nearly a minute left at the 6-yard line on a touchdown.
“I would put my money on giving me or AJ Dillon two tries to get two yards, I would put my money on that.” pic.twitter.com/FL1sLZqYzi
— Cody Krupp (@CodyWKrupp) October 9, 2022
Aaron Jones expressed some frustration with the end of the game in the clip above, but wouldn’t rightly criticize his coach or quarterback. But his feelings are widely felt.
The offense has a few issues that need to be fixed and it mainly starts with the quarterback and the execution of called plays. It’s also incumbent on LaFleur to put the receiving group in positions where they can win on their roads and get non-press coverage. The two go hand in hand and if Rodgers hits one or two of those deep shots, maybe they set the defense back which relieves the RPO packages as well.
Either way, the adjustments were made correctly in the second half, the offense just has to find ways to connect and they can do that by forcing Rodgers to execute the called attack in front of him.