Green Bay Packers grade card: Position evaluations vs. Atlanta Falcons

Eric Baranczyk and Pete Dougherty
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) stiff arms a tackler on a run against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, December 9, 2018 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis

Here's a position-by-position analysis of how the Green Bay Packers graded out during their 34-20 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers (103.1 rating) made no stunning throws but had a better rhythm in the short passing game than he has most of this season, and scrambled three times for 44 yards. Grade: B

Offensive line: With backups Jason Spriggs at right tackle, Justin McCray at right guard and Lucas Patrick at left guard, this had the makings of a disaster. But all three blocked OK in the run game — Patrick especially — and while Rodgers was sacked four times he wasn’t under siege all game. Grade: B

NOTESMakeshift line spells trouble vs. Khalil Mack, Bears' pass rush

Wide receivers: The passing game centered on Davante Adams (seven catches on 11 targets) and Randall Cobb (five catches on six targets), and they delivered 124 yards and two touchdowns combined. For only the second game this season, Equanimeous St. Brown had more snaps (34) than fellow rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling (30). Each had two catches for a combined 31 yards. Grade: B-

Running backs: Aaron Jones (42 snaps, 17 carries) and Jamaal Williams (24 snaps, four carries) averaged 4.6 yards and 4.3 yards per carry, which is a pretty good day. Jones showed his vision and cutback ability on his 29-yard touchdown and caught three passes for 28 yards. Grade: A-

Tight ends: Jimmy Graham is struggling at catching the ball with an injured thumb — he had two blatant drops and could be charged for a third when his attempt to body catch a deep ball allowed a defender to break up the play. The other tight ends (Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan) had no targets on 40 snaps combined. Grade: D-

Defensive line: Another tough day stopping the run without Mike Daniels, who’s on IR. Falcons running backs Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith and Brian Hill combined to average 5.0 yards on 22 carries. Dean Lowry (56 snaps) is better as a rotational player than starter. Tyler Lancaster had a big tackle for a four-yard loss on a dump off to Coleman. Grade: C

Inside linebackers: Blake Martinez is racking up the tackles (12 in this game) but isn’t making impactful plays — he had no sacks, tackles for a loss or turnover plays Sunday. Antonio Morrison shot through a window and blew up a run for a two-yard loss. Grade: C+

Outside linebackers: Clay Matthews had a sack on a stunt. Kyler Fackrell didn’t do much as a rusher (one quarterback hit) but got off a block to drop receiver Marvin Hall for a three-yard loss on a jet sweep.  Grade: C+

Cornerbacks: Jaire Alexander was matched against the great Julio Jones most of the game and played him well in bump coverage — Jones had eight catches for 108 yards but didn’t make any big plays. Bashaud Breeland had a pick-six by reading Matt Ryan on an out pattern. Grade: A-

ANALYSISPettine's mixing and matching keeps Packers' defense competitive

RELATEDBreeland hoping Packers take leap of faith on him

Safeties: Tramon Williams and Kentrell Brice didn’t have a big impact on the game but didn’t give up any big plays deep and appeared to get everybody lined up. Grade: C

Special teams: Mason Crosby was 2-for-2 on long field goals (50 and 49 yards) on a day when the winds were swirling in Lambeau Field. Rookie punter JK Scott was fine (42.3 gross, 38.8 net) on a day when the wind chill was 15 degrees. Grade: B


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