The Green Bay Packers are 3-0 after going on the road and beating the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday night. Matt LaFleur’s team scored 37 points, giving the Packers a team-record and NFL-high 122 points through three games.
Here are the studs and duds from the Packers’ 37-30 win over the Saints on Sunday night:
WR Allen Lazard: The degree of difficulty on his 48-yard catch was high. He was stumbling and had to make an over-the-shoulder catch with Marshon Lattimore trailing in coverage. Later, Lazard’s subtle move at the top of his route allowed him to blow past P.J. Williams and uncover deep for 72 yards to start the second half. Teams are underestimating his build-up speed. He might not be super quick, but he can get moving with a runway in front of him. Matt LaFleur is doing a terrific job of putting him in the slot and in bunch formations to create the runways. Of Lazard’s six catches, five gained first downs or touchdowns. His 146 receiving yards were a career-high. He did have a drop on a catchable ball over the middle, and his missed block on Malcolm Jenkins resulted in a stop of Aaron Jones on fourth down.
QB Aaron Rodgers: His impressive start to 2020 rolled on. Rodgers completed three passes thrown over 20 yards and was nearly perfect throwing underneath. The Saints got him with a few pressures, but Rodgers keeps mixing aggressiveness, accuracy and decisiveness with a little of old improvisational magic. He drew the Saints offsides twice and also created an extended play touchdown to Marcedes Lewis. His deep throw to Lazard while moving to his left in the first half was sublime. Matt LaFleur kept dialing up easy stuff, especially on rollouts and bootlegs, and Rodgers kept hitting them for chunk gains. He now has nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions through three games.
CB Jaire Alexander: The missed tackle on Alvin Kamara’s long touchdown was egregious and unacceptable. We’ll forgive it here because Alexander was so good for the other 57 snaps on Sunday night. He delivered a third-down stop on the first series and later dropped Kamara for a loss in the flat. Emmanuel Sanders didn’t have a catch against his coverage. He was very close to ending the game on a pick-six late in the fourth quarter.
DL Kingsley Keke: Both of his sacks – the first two of his career – were impressive. On the first, Keke executed a wide stunt to his right, bursting around the corner and closing down on Drew Brees with Rashan Gary crashing inside. Even at his weight, Keke can really move. Later, he executed a perfect push-pull move on Andrus Peat, beating the block with strength and collapsing the pocket on Brees before he could get rid of the football. He also helped string out a screen on third down, forcing a field goal. Keke might have the right combination of athleticism and power to be a valuable interior rusher. As an added bonus, Keke almost always gets his hands up and into passing windows when his pass-rush plan doesn’t work.
TE Marcedes Lewis: His block on Cameron Jordan helped open enough room for Aaron Jones to score on fourth down in the third quarter. Later, he was on the same page as Aaron Rodgers in the scramble drill and made an athletic catch over his head with Malcolm Jenkins in coverage for a go-ahead score. His one-on-one block on a linebacker helped create Jones’ longest run of the night in the third quarter. Big Dog still has a little bite.
K Mason Crosby: Kicks from 52 yards and 48 yards were no problem for the veteran. He made the 52-yarder with more than enough leg and confidently drilled the go-ahead kick from 48 yards in the fourth quarter. Crosby has made all seven field goals and all 13 extra points to start the 2020 season.
S Will Redmond: He missed Alvin Kamara twice in the open field, and both plays ruptured into big gains. Both times, Redmond came flying in out of control and swung and missed at Kamara’s ankles. On the first, Kamara skipped away from No. 25 and picked up the first down on 3rd-and-15. Later, Redmond was the first to miss on Kamara’s incredible touchdown. Redmond’s misses were responsible for roughly 70 yards of Kamara’s 197 total on Sunday night.
CB Kevin King: Emmanuel Sanders did all his best work against King, catching all three passes for 38 yards, a touchdown late in the first half and two easy first downs. King also allowed a catch to Tre’Quan Smith that converted a first down and got dinged for a holding penalty. He can be disruptive at the line in press, but King can also be exploited in off coverage. Drew Brees picked on him a little bit.
OLB Preston Smith: At what point do the Packers start getting concerned about their veteran edge rusher? Smith just isn’t impacting the game as a pass-rusher to start 2020. He’s also dropping into coverage more and looking shaky in space. Terron Armstead had little trouble with him on Sunday night, although Smith was involved in a third-down stop of Taysom Hill. Through three games, Smith has exactly three total pressures.
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