Yesterday, we watched the Green Bay Packers struggle on offense in the first half (yet again). However, the defense was stout in keeping the Detroit Lions in check, and the offense broke out in the second half to allow the Packers to coast to a 22-9 victory over Detroit and keep the home winning streak against the division rival intact.
With that in mind, we're going to look back at a few key players in the game on both sides of the ball to identify performances that were particularly noteworthy.
The Packers' Swiss Army Knife was not as involved in the passing game as he has been in other games this season, but it was his massive run out of the backfield that earns him special recognition this week. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel discussed Cobb's 67-yard run as a turning point in the game, and I have to agree - up to that point, the Packers' offense had been in a bit of a funk, just okay at moving the ball into scoring position, then being unable to close the deal with a touchdown. Cobb's run flipped the field position battle after Green Bay was pinned deep on a punt and though it only led to a field goal, the Packers scored on that drive and each of the next three to put the game out of reach. Also, he had an absurd one-handed catch on third down on the Packers' first scoring drive, keeping the chains moving.
You could fill a highlight reel with Jordy's catches from the first four games of 2013 alone. He had a third ridiculous tip-toe catch along the sideline this week, and had another four grabs on the day. In all, four of his five receptions went for first downs, including two third-down conversions. He's quickly becoming Aaron Rodgers' go-to receiver on third down.
He's alternating big weeks with quiet ones, but when he and Aaron Rodgers are in sync, there aren't many better combinations in the league. The trust that Rodgers has in him was shown clearly on the audible on Jones' long touchdown pass, as Rodgers knew that Jones would beat Chris Houston off the line of scrimmage and could make a catch along the sideline before the safety came over. With the Lions seeming completely unable to move the ball, Jones' score to put the Packers up by 13 was the dagger in Sunday's game.
Neal apparently showed enough in practice this week to get a start ahead of Nick Perry on Sunday, and he followed that up with his best performance as a linebacker. Neal racked up six total tackles including a sack, and hit QB Matthew Stafford on another throw. He was consistently involved in the play, and was disruptive in the backfield. His performance was a big reason that the team didn't miss Clay Matthews when he left the game with a thumb injury.
The other linebacker who made people forget about Matthews was Nick Perry, who racked up a pair of sacks and a strip of the ball from Stafford. He posted five tackles on the day, and responded the way one would hope he would when getting demoted out of the starting lineup. Both sacks showed Perry's impressive athleticism and, like Neal, Perry was frequently in the Lions' backfield.
Oh what a welcome sight #42 was in the secondary this week, even without Calvin Johnson suiting up for the Lions. Burnett made his biggest mark when he tipped away a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone in the third quarter, but his presence seemed to have a steadying influence on the defense as a whole. He missed no tackles in the game, and was active both in coverage and in run support.