Kevin and Evan have done a good job of breaking down this game from a big picture point of view, so I’m going to cut down on the amount of intro this week. I will say this though, that was the first game where the offense and the defense was there. It was also the first game where they played four quarters of good solid football. It also means that I have more choices for nominations for this week’s MVP.
Now I normally like to give you 3-5 players to choose from, mostly because it makes the discussion that much easier to manage. This week I can think of 5 players on offense to nominate alone…and the defense has another two or three as well. As a result I’m going to do something a bit different and add in an honorable mention to the MVP discussion. Normally I reserve this for the Working Class Hero of the Week where I don’t give you fine people any choice, but I have to draw the line somewhere for nominations and I don’t feel like nominating the whole team.
That said there is only one place I can start for this week’s MVP…..
QB Aaron Rodgers. It just looked like he was playing Madden out there and not football. Throwing six touchdowns, no interceptions and 300+ yards? That’s crazy. It’s even crazier when you consider that this is the first time this year that a running back has had 20+ touches as well. Extra strength crazy. It was nice to see him back in his 2011 form and shredding what was considered one of the best defenses in the league.
RB Alex Green. For those who didn’t watch the game and only watched the stat line this has got to look wrong. Why on earth would Green be nominated when he only ran for 65 yards off of 22 carries? That’s an unacceptable 3 yard per carry average. There is something about Green’s performance though that the numbers don’t really capture. Green was able to give a pretty consistent rushing threat against the Texans and was regularly able to rattle off runs of 8-9 yards. Most important he was able to fill the role that Cedric Benson has played so far this year and take pressure off of Rodgers and the passing attack. Not bad for a guy people thought would be limited to third down back duties.
WR James Jones. I went back and forth over Jones or Nelson here. Nelson has the stats with more receptions, yards and touchdowns, but Jones was fantastic in all his catches. The wow factor of those catches put him over the top of Nelson for the MVP nomination this week. The best part is that this is the third week in a row where he has put together a pretty good game…he may yet turn into a consistent productive receiver for the Packers.
LB A.J. Hawk. I love trolling Hawk haters by nominating him time and time again. Mix in the fact that he is probably playing some of his best football of his Packer career and it makes it a fun choice week after week. Hawk was instrumental in stopping the league’s best rushing attack….and he did this in fine form. Throw in a pretty good sack as a shocker (see what I did there), and you have a pretty complete game. His only real flub was blowing a coverage that turned out to be a big play for the Texans. In the end this is a pretty forgivable offense, mostly because I go into most games expecting Hawk to be below average in coverage anyways.
CB Casey Hayward. Hayward’s performance may not of helped the Packers take the lead, but it sure helped seal the win. Hayward finished the night with two picks (the first of which is one of the prettiest picks you will see this year). That gives him three picks in the last two weeks…not bad for a rookie. If he can continue making plays like this he will continue his climb up the depth chart.
WR Jordy Nelson. Rodgers wasn’t the only one to go back to 2011 form. Nelson looked like his old self with 121 yards and three touchdowns. Another performance like this and he could be ready for the #1 receiver position.
WR Randall Cobb. Cobb becomes more central to the Packer attack each week and this week was no exception. If the Packers needed a big play, a key catch, or a big return Cobb was there.
LB Clay Matthews. Matthews is a bit like Rodgers, he’s so good I could nominate him every week and I wouldn’t be wrong to every time. This week he was critical in taking a way the outside run of the Texans and forced them to put the game in Matt Schaub’s hands…..which did not turn out well for the Texans.
DT’s Jerel Worthy and C.J. Wilson. With B.J. Raji out and the Packers facing a run heavy team, they were going to need a big night from their defensive linemen….and these two delivered. Each registered a sack early in the game, setting the tone (by the way, this is the second sack in two weeks for Wilson who has really stepped up his game as of late). They also racked up 5 tackles between the two of them and helped the Packers control the line of scrimmage all night long.