Starters State Their Case in Rout of Raiders

Nelson (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY)

In what might be the front-line players' final game action until the season-opening game at Seattle, the Packers rolled to a 31-21 victory over Oakland on Friday night. Green Bay's No. 1 offense sputtered at times but the defense dominated after giving up an early touchdown.

The Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 31-21 in Friday night’s preseason game at Lambeau Field.

As sharp as the Packers’ No. 1 offense looked last week at St. Louis was as inconsistent as it looked against the Raiders.

Like last week, the Packers stormed down the field for a first-series touchdown. On third-and-2, Rodgers threw a short pass to rookie tight end Richard Rodgers, who turned it into a 32-yard gain. Runs of 12 and 17 yards by Eddie Lacy set up Lacy’s 1-yard touchdown.

Shoddy blocking, however, doomed the next two possessions. On the second drive, blitzing linebacker Sio Moore ran through Richard Rodgers to drill Aaron Rodgers. On the next play, James Starks’ went low to pick up a blitzing linebacker but didn’t get the job done, forcing Rodgers to rush an incompletion. On third down, Rodgers danced around in the pocket and flipped the ball for Starks before getting nailed by Nick Roach and LaMarr Woodley. On fourth down, rookie center J.C. Tretter was flagged for holding.

On the next series, Antonio Smith got late pressure against Rodgers to force an incompletion on first down and Sitton failed to see Woodley’s stunt to yield a third-down sack. And on the next series, Randall Cobb’s first-down drop doomed a potential big play and David Bakhtiari was beaten by Woodley on a third-down incompletion.

Rodgers and the No. 1 offense regrouped with back-to-back touchdowns to take a 22-7 halftime lead. The key plays on the first score were a 39-yard screen to DuJuan Harris, with Sitton and Tretter making downfield blocks, and a fourth-down touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson in which T.J. Carrie went for the breakup but came up empty and Nelson trotted 7 yards into the end zone.

On the next possession, Harris had a 17-yard run on first-and-16 and Starks had a 23-yard reception on third-and-5. Rodgers rifled a third-and-goal touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless despite tight coverage by Miles Burris, and Starks ran through Burris for the two-point conversion.

Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defense smothered the Raiders after 40-yard touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew answered the Packers’ opening touchdown. Green Bay forced four consecutive three-and-out punts and Nick Perry had a sack-strip.

In all, it was an impressive performance from the front-line players -- many of which will not play on Thursday against Kansas City, considering the season opens the following Thursday at Seattle.

Matt Flynn guided the offense to just one field goal in four series, going just 4-of-10 for 37 yards with an interception by Oakland’s top pick, Khalil Mack, as he sniffed out a screen.

Scott Tolzien’s first possession resulted in a touchdown, capped by Alex Gillett’s juggling catch in the end zone on third-and-10 from the 14, which made the score 31-7. On his second possession, he threw a nice ball on a 27-yard completion to Chris Harper but the drive stalled and Mason Crosby missed a 53-yard field goal.

In their return to Green Bay, Charles Woodson was given two standing ovations – including during a brief highlight package in the third quarter. James Jones caught four passes (10 targets) for 36 yards but dropped a tough ball in the end zone against Demetri Goodson in the third quarter.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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