Packers movie theater: Green Bay’s defensive mistakes against Baltimore
The Green Bay Packers defense finds ways to keep their squad in games week after week, but suffered a few mental failures in their Week 15 game in Baltimore. Despite winning and securing NFC North and a playoff berth, they gave up 30 points to alternate quarterback Tyler Huntley who was playing in place of injured Lamar Jackson. It should be noted that the defense was without Kenny Clark and his presence was missed.
Putting the defensive performance into context, the defense not only played without Clark, but also misses Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander. Their substitutes intensified in their absence and this game was more about the mental mistakes that can be corrected if they play another dynamic quarterback at some point in the playoffs.
They played well against Kyler Murray in week eight and against Patrick Mahomes a week later. There is no reason to believe that this game revealed any new weaknesses in the armor.
The last row of stats for Huntley was 215 passing yards and two passing TDs. Tight end Mark Andrews had 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Huntley also ran for 73 yards and added two rushing touchdowns. He and Andrews were the Ravens’ entire offense. We wonder what Lamar Jackson would have done.
Miscues vs. Ravens passing game
The Ravens have taken the Packers’ defense off guard a few times, likely because they’ve focused in the backfield and spied on Huntley in case he breaks his pocket to run. They were a little too careful and it almost cost them dearly.
The Ravens started their offense with a long catch and ran from Huntley to Andrews for 43 yards in their first practice of the game. The Ravens called a fast pass concept called “Flame,” which is a double tilt of receivers # 1 and # 2 and a flat run through # 3. Andrews is the second receiver to take a quick slant through the middle. The Packers are in Cover 1 with five-man pressure and five defensemen to cover five receivers.
For trips that defense plays, a common way to play is the formation of travel groups to avoid being picked up or rubbed down by different routes. Darnell Savage (No 26) has Andrews on the cover and against that play call he’s too far. He still manages to drive obliquely but tries to repel the pass rather than conclude for the tackle. Andrews sprints for a gain of 43 yards.
On the Ravens’ next ride, they tackled Savage again, this time having Andrews cross on a Y-cross concept. The Packers are back in cover-1, playing a variant called “hole”. De’Vondre Campbell is the low hole dropper and is there to spy on Huntley in case he breaks the pocket.
Campbell has his eyes on Huntley, so he’s unable to gain depth and can’t turn to run. Savage gives too much cushion and Andrews gets free access to the middle on the Y-cross. Huntley gives him the pass and wins 22.
Savage had a tough day guarding Andrews and was responsible for dropping the two touchdowns Andrews grabbed.
In the two touchdown passes to Andrews, Savage couldn’t be physical with the Ravens tight end at the catch point, allowing him to gain space in the back of the end zone . On the second touchdown, Savage attempted to disrupt the timing of the route. As the ball arrives, Andrews steps in front of Savage and boxing to catch a catch in the end zone. Savage got caught in no mans land and lost early in the descent when Andrews got out of the first jam on his release. Savage never recovered from this room.
Losing your content on Tyler Huntley
The defense also gave up several scrimmages and a run from the quarterback in the second half after largely keeping Huntley in the pocket in the first half.
In a read option game midway through the third quarter, the defense got caught without a gap as they traded linebackers in a power read run. The power reading is like the zone reading except that it is blocked like the power with two traction blockers. Huntley reads defense for his shot or give signal.
Rashan Gary is responsible for squeezing the edge and chasing the back too far down the line. Huntley pulls him and runs behind Gary for 13 yards. Gary should slow down the play of the advantage and force the surrender where the defense probably could have gotten a save for minimal gain.
In all of his races where he couldn’t find anyone open, Huntley just took off and played with his legs in their last two practices.
During their rush, the Packers’ defensive line was either washed too far inside or too far into the field, or both, and Huntley was able to escape and run free in the secondary to keep the discs in. life.
He also rushed for two touchdowns because of those defensive line breaks as well.
The defense will have to go back to their Week Eight strip against the Cardinals to see how solid their missions were to contain Kyler Murray, who they’ve sacked three times. The Packers wouldn’t see a mobile playoff quarterback unless you play against the Cardinals or see the Ravens in a Super Bowl game, but if Huntley could do that kind of damage late in the game, I shudder to think. to what Lamar Jackson could have done or would have done.
They’ll need to clean up those urgent tasks and responsibilities over the next few weeks heading into the playoffs and they probably will, which is why this game is likely just an anomaly for a defense that has been playing football all season long. anyway. There is no reason to think that they will take a step back now.