Packers fall to the Raiders 22-21 in game played on shortened field

Poor field conditions led the Green Bay Packers to sit most of their starters in what turned into a 22-21 preseason loss to the Oakland Raiders Thursday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Playing at a stadium that serves as the home of a Canadian Football League team, the field needed to be changed to an NFL size. That meant moving the goal posts out of the end zone. The only problem was the turf that covered the holes for the goal posts was not stable. The fix was playing on an 80-yard field with the 10-yard line serving as the goal line. And it also pushed both teams to sit most of their starters.

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For the Packers, that meant not seeing quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the first time this preseason. The two-time NFL MVP warmed up and appeared poised to play after missing last week’s game with back tightness.

“It has nothing to do with the back, I can promise you that,” Rodgers said in a sideline interview of why he didn’t play. “It’s more the field conditions we had tonight.”

Rodgers was one of 33 players not to suit up, and it likely means he won’t play this preseason, as Green Bay is expected to play all backups in the finale next Thursday against Kansas City. That’ll result in him facing Chicago in the season opener on Sept. 5 without having played a single game snap in new coach Matt LaFleur’s offense.

“No, we just need a good week of practice coming up,” Rodgers said when asked if he was concerned about the lack of playing time. “We’ll probably be looking ahead (to Chicago) next week in practice. (There) will be some good opportunities to get some good work in. Then we’ll just get ready for a normal game week after that. It’s a short week. We haven’t been in this game in a long time, so it’s exciting. But we’ll be ready for sure.”

In Rodgers’, Tim Boyle stated his case for the backup job. He started just 2 of 8, but led touchdown drives on his final three possessions. That included a pair of touchdown passes — one to Trevor Davis and the other to Jake Kumerow. The second-year pro finished the night 16-for-25 for 191 yards and two touchdowns in one half of play.

DeShone Kizer got the second half and was unable to get much going. He completed 4 of 5 passes for just 24 yards, got sacked three times and didn’t lead a single scoring drive.

It was also a big night for Davis’ roster chances. He’s battled injuries throughout his career, but came up with five catches for 78 yards, one rush for 18 yards and returned a punt for 17 yards.

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Green Bay will close out the preseason next Thursday against Kansas City at Lambeau Field.

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