Quick takes: Aaron Jones' big day helps Packers even record with 31-12 win over Dolphins
GREEN BAY – It wasn’t the prettiest picture ever painted, but the Green Bay Packers did what they needed to do Sunday with a 31-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field, halting a two-game losing streak and evening their record to 4-4-1.
Aaron Jones was finally featured on offense, Davante Adams scored two touchdowns and the defense turned Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler over twice. It wasn’t the sharpest of days for Aaron Rodgers or Ron Zook’s special teams group, but the Packers were the more talented team and it bore out over 60 minutes.
Here are five quick takeaways:
1. The offense worked with Aaron Jones
There can always be more to the raw numbers, but on Sunday Aaron Jones’ 145-yard rushing effort was exactly what it looked like — the new Packers offense. The second-year back came in averaging an NFL-best 6.0 yards per rush and 6.4 yards per reception. But, he had never carried it more than 14 times. He had never touched it more than 16 times. Sunday, that changed. He rushed it 15 times. He caught it three times. He averaged 9.7 yards per rush. He scored two touchdowns. On the six possessions he touched the ball at least twice on, the Packers scored touchdowns on four of them and added a field goal on a fifth. After one series with Jamaal Williams in the first half (the Packers turned it over on downs), Jones was the man in the backfield throughout.
2. Accountability check
A week ago, Aaron Jones and Byron Bell were two of the more vocal players on the Packers offense regarding the individual errors that they felt contributed greatly to the loss to the New England Patriots. Both men felt if they were better, the result would have been different. The pair spoke about it — and vowed to be better — and they were on Sunday. Jones had 172 yards of total offense and Bell was out front for many of Jones’ big plays.
3. Win a game you’re supposed to
The Packers were nearly double-digit favorites going into Sunday, and the last time they held such a distinction was their last home game way back on Oct. 15 against the undermanned San Francisco 49ers. And that undermanned team, behind a backup quarterback, nearly pulled an upset. This week, the undermanned Dolphins and their backup quarterback weren’t nearly as successful. Coming up on a short week, the Packers needed to put together a complete effort and get a win over an inferior opponent. They did that.
4. Special teams continues to struggle
It’s not an exaggeration to say there is a weekly problem with the Packers’ third phase. At best, it’s an untimely penalty. At worst, it’s what happened Sunday with a Tramon Williams fumble on a punt return at midfield and a blocked punt deep in end. They allowed a 14-yard rush on a fake punt in a relatively obvious situation in the third quarter. A nice fake punt was executed in the fourth quarter with Raven Greene taking a direct snap and running 26 yards, but overall it wasn’t a great effort. The defense picked up the group after the fumble and the block by forcing two field goals, but overall it wasn’t a solid performance.
5. Injury watch
Starting safety Kentrell Brice suffered what looked to be a serious left ankle injury early in the first quarter, as he had to be helped off the field and helped onto a cart early in the game. The television crew caught him in an emotional moment on the Packers bench prior to his departure to the locker room. Backup offensive lineman Lucas Patrick was evaluated for a concussion and starting linebacker Nick Perry had his right leg awkwardly bent late in the first half, resulting in a knee injury.
Corner Bashaud Breeland, who started in place of an injured Kevin King, hurt his groin and left the game for good in the third quarter. Fellow corner Jaire Alexander was also examined in the blue medical tent late in the game.
The Packers entered the game relatively healthy but with a cross-country flight coming up shortly these could be problems for the team as it faces a tough Seattle team.