GREEN BAY – San Diego’s 503 yards passing did heavy damage to the Packers defense’s league rankings, but Dom Capers believes his unit will benefit from what it faced on Sunday.
“I don’t like the yardage, obviously, but I like the way our guys competed, because good football teams find a way to win. I think we can take and learn. We’ll take some positives out of this. We made them work when they got into the red zone,” the Packers’ defensive coordinator said on Monday.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers blended a short passing attack and his skill for reading defenses with a talented receiving corps, setting records for production and efficiency. For all of Rivers’ success, however, the Chargers were able to produce only 20 points in a 27-20 loss.
“Our No. 1 emphasis is scoring defense. That’s where it all starts,” Capers said. “It was a really good test for us. Our red zone defense was the best it has been.”
The Packers are likely to face a similar test in the team’s next game, against the Broncos in a showdown of undefeated teams in Denver. Each team has a bye this week.
Peyton Manning will be the opposing quarterback. Manning, of course, is legendary for his ability to dissect defenses. At his advanced age, he’s relying more than ever on the short passing game.
“I think so,” Capers said when asked if the Packers will see a game plan similar to the Chargers’. “The test we had yesterday will be good for us in the long run. Rivers, Manning, put them in the same category. They know when you’re coming with pressure.
“When we pressured, he got rid of the ball quickly. When we had somebody come free, he threw it away. They made plays,” Capers said of Rivers and the Chargers offense.
Rivers beat a Packers blitz on the final play of the first half to throw a touchdown pass that cut the Packers’ lead to 17-10.
“We ran a blitz and he did a nice job. That was on our mind on the last play and we didn’t blitz,” Capers said, referring to the fourth-and-goal play on which rookie cornerback Damarious Randall knocked away a pass intended for Danny Woodhead.
“We saved our best for last. We had guys step up and make plays at a critical time in the game. To be a good team, you have to have that,” Capers said.
The Packers’ overall defensive ranking fell from No. 7 to No. 15, and the pass defense fell from No. 4 to No. 11.