Four observations the day after the Packers' 20-15 win over Washington on Sunday:
The Packers and coach Matt LaFleur have campaigned this year for the crowd at Lambeau Field to get more involved in games, and their push was justifiable. Though most NFL stadiums are loud, Lambeau is among the least loud. But crowd noise is a two-way street, and the Packers had no grounds on which to complain about the relative quiet Sunday as the game went on. After a fast start with two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Packers’ offense went dead the rest of the game, and the enthusiasm at Lambeau drifted away with it. By the second half the atmosphere was remarkably blasé. I’ve been covering the Packers since 1993 and don’t remember a quieter crowd leaving the concourses at Lambeau after a win in December. That’s not on the crowd. It’s on the home team to give fans something to get excited about, too.
LaFleur used more three-tight-end sets than he had all season, mostly early in the game, and with success. LaFleur went to it at least five times in the first half, and among those five were a 20-yard pass to Jimmy Graham and runs of 16 and 42 yards by Aaron Jones. Jones also had a 10-yard run out of the three-tight-end set on the last play of the third quarter. The three tight ends usually were Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan, though Jace Sternberger was active also. Well see in the next three weeks whether that was just a Washington-specific package, or something LaFleur wants to mix in regardless of opponent.
Josh Jackson finally saw some regular snaps on defense, though it took injuries that landed cornerbacks Kevin King (shoulder) and Tony Brown (heel) on the inactive list to do it. Tramon Williams moved from slot corner to King’s spot as a starter on the outside, where Brown might have played had he been healthy. Ibraheim Campell held his usual role as the safety-linebacker hybrid in most of coordinator Mike Pettine’s defensive packages. Chandon Sullivan was the slot cornerback in some dime packages across from Ibraheim. But on the most obvious passing downs (third and long), Jackson and Sullivan played the two slots, and Campbell stayed on the bench. Jackson, a second-round pick last year, has been buried deep on the bench most of the season. He played 50 snaps combined in Weeks 3 through 5, but only 12 snaps total in the other nine games coming into Sunday. He had one tackle and no other stats in 26 snaps Sunday.
Receiver Jake Kumerow had one of the blocks of the day Sunday. On Jones’ 42-yard run in the second quarter, Kumerow came from a bunch formation tight to the run side and hit safety Landon Collins with a solid head-on-block, which opened the hole for Jones. Receiver Davante Adams, who was on the sideline at the time, saw the block and ran onto the field to acknowledge Kumerow with chest bump.