Report Card: Packers vs. Jets

It's about what you'd expect after Green Bay pulled off a 9-0 upset win over the Jets on Sunday. The offense was horrible while the defense and special teams picked up the slack with exemplary performances.

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst passing performances of his otherwise highly proficient three-year run as a starter, finishing with a 59.7 rating. He completed only 15-of-34 throws (career-worst percentage of 44.1) and didn't have a touchdown pass for the first time since Dec. 13. Rodgers, who had a season-low 170 passing yards, wasn't helped any by his shorthanded receiving corps, which had four more drops -- none as profound as James Jones' late in the third quarter on a deep sideline route that would have been a touchdown with Jones behind the defensive back. The only significant pass plays of note of a positive nature were a 30-yard connection between Rodgers and an open Greg Jennings on a deep cross that led to the first field goal of the game and a 14-yard bullet from Rodgers, who was drilled as he released it, that a sliding Jordy Nelson held onto over the middle to convert third-and-6 in the fourth quarter in a drive that ended with another field goal to put the Packers up 6-0. Rodgers wisely had a few throwaways to ensure he didn't have an interception for the first time in six games, but spurts of miscommunication between passer and receiver once again bogged down the offense. Rodgers also was sacked two times.

John Kuhn averaged 2.6 per rush.
Jim Luzzi/Getty Images
RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Throw out Brandon Jackson's 27-yard run in open space out of a shotgun draw when the Jets were in their prevent defense playing nothing but the pass in the closing seconds of the first half, and the Packers would have finished with a season-low output of 54 rushing yards. As it was, Jackson's second-longest run of the season left him with 55 yards, and he averaged a paltry 3.7 yards per carry. John Kuhn was more ineffective with a per-carry average of 2.6 yards with eight rushes for 21 yards. The Packers averaged only 3.1 yards on the ground. Jackson had nowhere to go on a third-and-1 run to the left edge and was gang-tackled for no gain -- left tackle Chad Clifton appeared to not have known Rodgers called for a run in that run-pass option and was hung out to dry in a pass-block set with Jackson sent that way.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- True, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had a pathetic passer rating of 43.3, completed just 16-o-38 passes, was intercepted twice and didn't lead the Jets to any points, but the Packers dodged a huge bullet because Sanchez threw for a sizable 256 yards. The outcome -- on both Sanchez's ledger and the Jets' side of the scoreboard -- could have been a lot different had New York's receivers not dropped eight passes. Two of those would-be catches resulted in the turnovers against Sanchez when cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson shrewdly wrested the football away as they tackled the receivers. The Woodson takeaway was liable to be nullified by replay, but the Jets were out of challenges. Charlie Peprah, the starting replacement at strong safety the last four games, delivered two big breakups in a span of a minute to crush two separate possessions when the Jets were trying to erase the 6-0 deficit with the fourth-quarter clock inside of five minutes. Linebacker Clay Matthews followed Peprah's second breakup with a takedown of Sanchez, one of two sacks.

Packers posted NFL's first shutout.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Jets' longest run came on a meaningless 20-yard scramble by Sanchez to end the game. Otherwise, the Packers would have held New York to 99 rushing yards -- a whopping 60 yards below the Jets' No. 2-rated per-game average they took into the game. The total also included a run of 17 yards on a fake punt. An assertive and heavy front that featured nearly 400-pound nose tackle Howard Green in for 34 snaps in his Packers debut against the team that cut him last week, gave Green Bay the upper hand against New York's vaunted offensive line and made the two-headed rushing attack of LaDainian Tomlinson (16 carries for 54 yards) and Shonn Greene (six carries for 22 yards) insignificant. Neither Tomlinson nor Greene had a run longer than 8 yards. The Packers were onto the Jets' Halloween trickery, as rookie linebacker Frank Zombo forced a fumble by receiver Brad Smith on a Wildcat run to the outside that Williams recovered, and Green snuffed out an end-around carry by Jerricho Cotchery that resulted in an 8-yard loss.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Tim Masthay is coach Mike McCarthy's new best friend after producing the best performance by a Packers punter in a long time. Masthay tilted field position heavily in the Packers' favor with eight kicks that averaged 44 gross yards and, more impressive, 41.5 net yards. Masthay placed five punts inside the 20, the Jets had 0 return yards, and the only touchback came when Jarrett Bush didn't get a bead on the football as it hit inside the Jets' 5-yard line. Kicker Mason Crosby also deserved kudos for connecting on 3-of-4 field-goal attempts in the face of unpredictably windy conditions. His third conversion from 40 yards that sailed just inside the left upright sealed the win with 27 seconds left, when a miss would have given the Jets decent field position to mount one last shot at scoring the go-ahead touchdown. Anthony Smith nudged Steve Weatherford out of bounds just in time to prevent the punter from succeeding on the gutsy fourth-and-18 run from deep in Jets territory early in the game. The Packers once again gave up a long kickoff return, of 47 yards to Brad Smith. Green Bay didn't have any punt-return yards, and the lone kickoff runback went for a feeble 5 yards by Nelson on a short kick to start the game.

COACHING: B -- Defensive coordinator Dom Capers dialed things down with his preferred attacking style of defense, and a preponderance of three- and four-man rushes with few blitzes by his injury-riddled unit paid off in a huge way. The Packers choked off the run by occasionally stacking the box with eight and dared Sanchez and his fingers receivers to beat them through the air, to no avail, as Green Bay pitched the first shutout in the NFL this season. Play-caller McCarthy's offense, on the other hand, continues to be out of sorts. The Packers totaled a season-low 237 yards and didn't score a touchdown for the first time in four years.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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