Football is a funny sport, and more of a team game than just about any other major sport in America. It's a sport that features dynamic stars like baseball or basketball, but winning almost always comes down to nameless, faceless players making critical plays at critical moments....often not seen by the cameras or lauded by the announcers. These players can be offensive linemen who do their job and open holes in the running game, special team players making that critical stop or downing the ball in the right place, or defensive linemen who cause enough havoc up front to allow a linebacker to break free and make the tackle for a loss. In that spirit, I am going to start a new series after each Packer win to highlight one of those players who may not have made enough splashy plays to be the MVP, but had a key performance to allow the Packers to win.
This week's silent hero: John Kuhn.
Kuhn gets lots of attention for his similarities to Mike Alstott. He's a fullback who is able to make things happen when he gets the ball and gets some flashy runs where he trucks people left and right. That didn't happen on Thursday night. Instead, he did was fullbacks are supposed to do....block. Mike Mayock pointed out something interesting last night, specifically that Cedric Benson likes to run with a fullback leading him. With that in mind the Packers gave him that with lots of Tom Crabtree and Kuhn clearing the way for Benson. Kuhn made lots of a good blocks opening holes for Benson through out the night. This was especially important since the Packers needed a strong running game with the Bears all but shutting down the Packers high powered passing attack.
What really got my attention though was a great tackle Kuhn made on Devin Hester on special teams. Kuhn came in and flipped Hester over, stuffing him for little to no gain on punt return. This was just another example of Kuhn being a four down player and a key contributor in each phase of the game. When the Packers win tough defensive games like this one, it's guys like Kuhn that open the door for victory.
Honorable Mention: Jerron McMillian. McMillian didn't get much love on the box score with only two tackling assists. His impact on the game was much bigger than that. He had two near interceptions of Cutler showing a good presence breaking on the ball in coverage. Most important though is that he showed an ability to hold down the safety spot opposite Morgan Burnett competently and allow the corners to play man to man. The defense looked much better with McMillian in there, and hopefully McMillian can limit the amount of malpractice we get to see from M.D. Jennings for the rest of this season.
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