La Semana 4 de la NFL no tardó en cobrar a su primera víctima por lesión, el corredor Jamaal Williams de los Green Bay Packers.
En corta jugada de pase –la primera jugada ofensiva del partido para Green Bay en el encuentro–, el corredor recibió un duro golpe en el lado izquierdo de su casco por el ala defensiva de los Philadelphia Eagles, Derek Barnett, Williams quedó tendido boca abajo en el terreno de juego por varios instantes. Debió ser inmovilizado contra una camilla y retirado del terreno de juego.
Williams mostró el lugar arriba mientras era sacado del campo, como señal de que se encontraba bien, pese a las circunstancias.
Lambeau Field contuvo el aliento, colectivamente, mientras retiraban a Jamaal Williams. Getty Images
Jugadores de ambos equipos se mantuvieron cerca de Williams mientras era atendido, y Barnett se acercó a decirle unas palabras justo antes de que fuera retirado.
De acuerdo a Michele Steele de ESPN, Williams fue transportado a un hospital local para ser evaluado tras el duro golpe. Los Packers informaron que sería evaluado por lesiones de espina dorsal y cabeza. Green Bay también informó que el jugador tenía sensación en todas sus extremidades.
Williams has been ruled out for the game. He does have feeling & movement in all of his extremities.
Green Bay couldn’t run the ball or stop the run.
The Packers didn’t force a turnover for the first time this season.
And Green Bay’s defense gave up nearly as many points on one night (34) as it had all year (35).
It all added up to a rough Thursday night for the Packers, as Philadelphia came into Lambeau Field and defeated Green Bay, 34-27.
The Packers fell to 3-1, while the Eagles improved to 2-2.
Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Green Bay’s perspective.
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DAVANTE ADAMS: The Packers were hell bent on getting Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams more involved after he entered the game ranked just 42nd in the league with 21 targets. Mission accomplished.
Adams had six catches for 107 yards — in the first quarter alone. Adams’ 107 receiving yards in the first quarter were the most by a Packer since Javon Walker had 122 against Indianapolis on Sept. 26, 2004.
By halftime, Adams had eight catches for 158 yards. And Adams finished his night with 10 catches for a career-high 180 yards before leaving late in the game with a toe injury.
“We’ve got to keep finding ways to get (Adams) the ball more often,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said last week. “We’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball.
“It’s just putting him in position to have some opportunities, whether that’s moving him around or giving him motion or messing with a split, I think it’s just giving him some more opportunities.”
FAST STARTERS: For the third straight week, the Packers scored a touchdown on their opening drive. This time, Green Bay went 89 yards in just five plays and 2:18.
Adams caught three passes for 71 yards on the march, including a 58-yarder in which he whipped cornerback Sidney Jones on a stop-and-go move.
Aaron Jones finished the march with a 3-yard touchdown off right tackle to give Green Bay a quick 7-0 lead.
KEVIN KING: King, Green Bay’s third-year cornerback traveled with Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia’s top receiver and did a terrific job. Jeffery finished with just three catches for 38 yards and only two of those came against King.
The 6-foot-3 King had the length to deny the 6-foot-3 Jeffery the 50-50 balls he’s so good at winning. And because King was faster than Jeffery, the veteran receiver never could separate.
King, who missed 17 games in his first two years because of injury, is proving he can be an elite cover corner when healthy.
AARON RODGERS: The Packers’ two-time MVP quarterback had his finest game of the year, throwing for 422 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers was under duress all night, but did yeoman’s work to escape pressure and make one big throw after another.
Unfortunately for Rodgers and the Packers, his final pass of the night was intercepted by Philadelphia linebacker Nigel Bradham.
RUN DEFENSE: For the third straight week, Green Bay’s run defense was abysmal.
The Packers allowed 176 rushing yards to a team that entered the night ranked No. 17 in rushing offense.
The Eagles’ success continued an ugly pattern for the Packers.
In Week 2, Minnesota gashed Green Bay for 198 rushing yards. And in Week 3, Denver ran for 149 yards.
At midweek, Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said this of his run defense: “It’s a concern because some of the plays we were in a scheme that we should have stopped the run, some of the ones we’ve given up. We want to be good against it all. It’s not a conscious effort to say we’re just going to play coverage every snap and just bend and not break. That’s been our biggest issue.”
That issue didn’t change Thursday.
RED ZONE OFFENSE: Green Bay settled for a pair of first half field goals after driving deep inside Eagles’ territory.
But the Packers’ greatest failures came in the fourth quarter, when they drove inside the Eagles’ 5-yard line twice and came away empty both times.
With 9 minutes left and Green Bay trailing, 34-27, it had a first-and-goal on the Eagles’ 1-yard-line. Rodgers threw the ball on four straight plays — and threw four consecutive incompletions.
Green Bay didn’t trust its running game to get a single yard. Instead, they put everything on Rodgers and the passing game — and they came up short.
Then on the Packers’ final series of the night, Green Bay had a second-and-goal from the 3. But Rodgers’ pass was tipped and intercepted by linebacker Nigel Bradham.
KICK COVERAGE: One week ago, Denver’s Diontae Spencer ripped off a 60-yard kickoff return.
“We’ve got to get that fixed and we’ve looked at it and talked about it and stuff,” Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga said Wednesday. “And I’ve got to do a better job preparing them.”
Clearly, that didn’t happen.
This week, Philadelphia’s Miles Sanders busted a 67-yard kick return that led to the Eagles’ first touchdown.
One long return can happen. Two is a problem — and the Packers now have a problem.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: With teams having just four days to get ready for a Thursday night game, it’s often a battle of attrition. That was the case here as the Packers lost running back Jamaal Williams (head/neck), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (shoulder), wideout Davante Adams (toe), cornerback Kevin King (groin) and safety Will Redmond (concussion) to injury. The Eagles lost cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (cramps) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (head/neck).
The league will never cancel Thursday night games. There’s simply too much money at stake. But with three fewer days for players to get their bodies right, the risk of injury rises dramatically.
DEREK BARNETT: Barnett, the Eagles’ third-year defensive end laid a vicious hit on Packers running back Jamaal Williams that drew a personal foul penalty.
On Green Bay’s first offensive play of the game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers dumped a pass to Williams and two Eagles defenders stopped him for no gain. As Williams was being driven backward, Barnett came from the opposite side and delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Williams was down approximately five minutes, before being placed on a gurney and wheeled to the locker room. Williams was evaluated for head and neck injuries, but had feeling in all of his extremities.
El tackle defensivo veterano de los Eagles, Fletcher Cox, también se acercó a decir unas palabras Barnett.
Los Eagles fueron castigados con 15 yardas por rudeza innecesaria como resultado de la jugada.
Más adelante, el esquinero Avonte Maddox de los Eagles debió ser retirado del campo en condiciones similares, luego de chocar involuntariamente contra su compañero Andrew Sendejo.
Al final, la victoria fue para Philadelphia, 34-27.