I will admit it. I doubted Rodgers. When he made the “run the table” comment while the Packers were sitting at 4-6, having lost four straight, I thought that he was delusional. Since then, Rodgers has thrown 14 TDs without a single interception, leading the Packers to six straight wins, a division title, and a home playoff game. Moral of the story: never doubt Rodgers when others tell him that he’s down and out. I know that Matt Ryan has slightly better stats but if voters are being honest with themselves, Rodgers is the most valuable player in the league.
Ripkowski channeled his inner Eddie Lacy and led the Packers in rushing yards against the Detroit Lions (61 yards on 15 carries). It was a bit surprising to see Rip getting so much work as a running back but McCarthy fed the hot hand and it certainly worked for the offense. Rip also added two receptions for 15 yards and a TD. Ripkowski has filled John Kuhn’s shoes very well.
GERONIMO! Ted Thompson hits on one or two undrafted rookies every year. Allison has flashed in recent weeks but had his coming out party against the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. Allison led all Packers’ receivers with 91 yards receiving on 6 receptions, including a TD catch on an unbelievable Rodgers scramble play. The rapport between Rodgers and Allison is certainly growing.
On the stat sheet, Thomas finished with only one tackle and one pass defensed, but he had a much bigger impact on the game than the statistics show. Thomas has been a solid cover linebacker this year. He doesn’t make a ton of tackles but he’s reliable when dropping back into zone coverage or when squaring up one-on-one with a running back or tight end in man coverage. He’s quick to the ball and can even be blitzed up the middle with some success. He’s not a Pro Bowl player, but he is a key (and largely unsung) component of Dom Capers’ defense.
Green Bay Corners
No one wants to play against Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs, but the Packers have a serious corner back problem. It’s unclear whether it’s due to injury or simple regression, but both Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have looked pretty substandard. Both corners are consistently beat in both man and zone coverage. Randall is struggling with a knee injury. Rollins suffered a severe neck injury against the Lions, being carted off the field and taken immediately to a local hospital. Undrafted rookie Makinton Dorleant suffered a knee injury, as well, and another undrafted rookie, Josh Hawkins, didn’t even suit up due to an injury. That leaves the Packers with one healthy corner among a bad bunch: Ladarius Gunter.
The Packers are likely going to have to get creative (and hope for some luck) to keep Eli Manning and ODB from torching the Green Bay secondary next Sunday.
The usually disciplined Green Bay offensive line gave up a lot of yardage on Sunday night. False start penalties are drive killers. No doubt it was loud at Ford Field, but the Packers need to clean it up for the post-season (and you have to think that they will).——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.