In an offense that could barely move the ball down the field, there was one clear offensive player of the game. Read on to find out which Packers player earned this title.
In the Packers’ Week one loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, September 11, there were some highs and lows for the offense. Green Bay flashed some plays that helped move the ball downfield and others left everyone shaking their head. This is the second year in a row where the Packers were not ready for Week one and it shows. Last year, the New Orleans Saints annihilated the Packers in Week one before Green Bay’s seven-win streak.
Packers Offensive Player Of The Game: AJ Dillon
It seemed like every drive there was a splash of running back AJ Dillon. Dillon was used everywhere on the offense. He ran the ball well, he blocked on passing situations, and he caught passes downfield. It was a surprise that Aaron Jones wasn’t used more in the passing game but the Vikings might’ve planned for him and not Dillon. The rookies did not look good in game one as there were some drops and miscues on route running. This led quarterback Aaron Rodgers to throw to the guys that he trusted most versus the younger guys.
AJ Dillon rushed ten times for 45 yards and one touchdown. His longest run of the day was a 14-yard run. He had plenty of yards after contact as he just plowed through the defense and had a 4.5-yard average on the ground. Dillon was the Packers’ top receiver. He was targeted the most, had the most receptions, and had the most yards. AJ finished with five receptions for 46 yards on six targets. A 9.2-yard average for a running back that catches the ball two yards off the line is impressive.
Other Notable Offensive Players
It was a group effort for the Packers offensive line without top tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. They were able to hold off the pass rush of the Vikings. If the wide receivers were able to gain separation, Rodgers would not have been sacked four times. After half of the game, starting guard Jon Runyan suffered a concussion and we got to see rookie guard Zach Tom in action. Tom was a fourth-round selection in the 2022 NFL draft from Wake Forest. He played well in his debut with the Packers and if Runyan is unable to clear concussion protocol, we could see more of Zach Tom next week.
Aaron Jones also helped out the offense when nothing else seemed to work. Jones rushed five times for 49 yards with a long of 29 yards when he broke out into the secondary. With the inability to move the ball, Jones’s touches were limited. He also had three catches for 27 yards with a long of 22 yards. In his limited exposure, he made every touch count. As one of the Packers captains this year, he helped lead the team by checking on the guys, helping his injured teammates, and trying to fight for every first down.
Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs got his first taste of the NFL regular season by catching four passes for 37 yards. His first target from Aaron Rodgers came early and was a miscue as the ball went outside as Doubs broke inside. On only five targets, he played well but will need to be able to cut back when he sees his quarterback scrambling. The other starting rookie, wide receiver Christian Watson, will be remembered as the guy who dropped a hail mary from Rodgers on the first play of the Packers’ drive. If he would’ve caught the ball, it would’ve been an easy walk-in touchdown.
Packers Offense: What To Look For Next Week
Hopefully top wide receiver Allen Lazard is back healthy and able to provide Rodgers with a friendly face in the passing game. His presence was missed along with starting tackles Bakhtiari and Jenkins. If all three guys are healthy, it will be a huge boost to the offense. Also, now that Watson and Doubs got a taste of the NFL, let’s see if they can focus on improving their route running during practice and prepare for Week two. The Packers will play the Chicago Bears at Lambeau field in front of the home crowd.
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