Packers notebook: Offensive line makes life easier on ‘both Aarons’ in Green Bay’s 31-12 win over Dolphins
GREEN BAY – It might have been the Aaron & Aaron Show on Sunday, but it was the guys up front – none of whom are named Aaron, for the record – who helped make it possible.
Whether it was running back Aaron Jones (who ran 15 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, plus had three receptions for 27 yards for 172 total yards from scrimmage) or quarterback Aaron Rodgers (who completed 19 of 28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns for a 112.1 passer rating, his highest since the season opener), the Green Bay Packers offensive line made both their lives easier with a field-tilting performance in Sunday’s 31-12 win over the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field.
“The run-blocking and the pass protection was very good,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think both Aarons had clean looks.”
Indeed, they did. Many of Jones’ runs – including a 67-yard home run late in the first quarter that set up the first of his two touchdowns – came with him not being touched as he came through the line of scrimmage and to the second level.
“It starts up front,” Jones said. “There was nobody there (on the 67-yarder). The blocking unit, they did a great job sealing everything off, and it’s like the seas parted.”
Of course, Jones’ explosive, slashing style complements the unit’s blocking, and as left tackle David Bakhtiari pointed out, the admiration is mutual.
“When you have a player like that getting after it, you always want to – we’re always giving maximum effort – but just that little extra edge,” Bakhtiari said.
In the passing game, Rodgers dropped back 36 times and was sacked twice while scrambling out of harm’s way six other times.
“I think they dominated the line of scrimmage,” Rodgers said. “I think both sacks fall under the ‘coverage sack’ category. There wasn’t a lot of pressure. Where there was, I had lanes to move, so I felt like they did really a nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage. We ran the ball well. We used tempo and cadence at times. But Jones doesn’t need a lot of space on his runs and we had a couple of nice schematic things that we did and a couple of double teams at the point of attack and Byron (Bell) and Bryan (Bulaga) moving guys and Corey (Linsley) and Lane (Taylor) moving guys and us protecting the edges.
“It was nice to sit back and watch that tonight.”
What’s not so nice? The Packers were already doing the math for how quickly they’d be on a plane bound for Seattle in advance of Thursday night’s game against the Seahawks. The way Rodgers figured it, they’d be wheels-up 47 hours from his postgame press conference – not something he was a fan of.
“Thankfully, I didn’t get hit a whole lot tonight. This is the beauty, if you will, of Thursday Night Football – a short turnaround,” Rodgers said sarcastically. “And the beauty in a 12 o’clock game being pushed back to 3:25.”
Ban ‘The Wave?’
Rodgers swore he wasn’t trying to surreptitiously suggest to the announced Lambeau Field crowd of 78,076 that he’d appreciate them not doing “The Wave” while the Packers are on offense – as the crowd did late in the game. He was really just trying to compliment Seattle’s fans for how loud it gets at CenturyLink Field.
“When you’re in the huddle, they’re smart fans when it comes to noise,” Rodgers said. Then, seeing smirks from the gathered reporters, Rodgers said, “That wasn’t a shot at any(one) … it wasn’t, it wasn’t.” The room filled with chuckles.
“I love our fans. They still do ‘The Wave’ when we’re on offense,” Rodgers continued, smiling. “It’s OK when it’s 31-12; it’s not that big of a deal. If it was 31-all, maybe take it easy. I think they get a little bored maybe sometimes and they’re like, ‘What are we going to do here?’ Because I was watching at one point from the sideline, it was in the third quarter, and I saw like four people right across from me – this would be about behind their bench from the 40-yard line – kind of stand up and do it. And I was thinking to myself, ‘I bet you they’re going to do it when we’re on offense.’ And they did, and we love ’em.
“Just keep playing ‘Roll Out the Barrel,’ and doing the beer races, and we’re good to go, man. Don’t have to change anything.”