On Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 31-24, but they did so with a skeleton crew in the defensive secondary. Three corners suffered injuries in the game - Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and Makinton Dorleant - with two of them being taken off on carts (on the same play no less) and Rollins actually going to the hospital.
Those issues - combined with Josh Hawkins being inactive - led to Dom Capers shuffling the defensive backfield to an extent that we have not seen recently. As the snap counts will show, the team had no choice but to use both of their undrafted rookie safeties after shifting a pair of starting safeties over to corner.
On offense, the Packers benched their starting running back early in the first half and let their Pro Bowl alternate fullback take on a prominent role in the second quarter.
Here’s how the snaps broke down for the Packers as they won the NFC North yesterday.
OFFENSE (75 total plays)
LT David Bakhtiari 75, LG Lane Taylor 75, C Corey Linsley 75, RG T.J. Lang 75, RT Bryan Bulaga 67, OT Jason Spriggs 5, OT Don Barclay 3
The Packers saw a pair of tackles go down with injuries late in the game, as both Bulaga and Spriggs were banged up. Other than that position, there were no issues, as the other starting four played every snap.
QB Aaron Rodgers 75, FB Aaron Ripkowski 36, RB Ty Montgomery 35, RB Christine Michael 9, FB Joe Kerridge 6
Montgomery’s pass blocking error early set up Ripkowski for a big workload in the rest of the first half. Ripkowski ended up being the team’s leading rusher, picking up 61 yards on 9 carries for a 6.8-yard average. He also scored the game’s first touchdown on a reception, and had two catches for 15 yards total.
Montgomery was worked back into the offense in the second half, and had a few nice runs, finishing with over 5 yards per carry. As a team, the Packers ran for over 150 yards, though Aaron Rodgers was responsible for 42 of those yards on ten carries.
WR Davante Adams 70, WR Jordy Nelson 70, WR Geronimo Allison 61, TE Jared Cook 40, TE Richard Rodgers 35, WR Jeff Janis 12, WR Trevor Davis 1
With Randall Cobb out, Allison once again had a big workload and a big day receiving - he led the team in yardage with 91 on four catches, and had the touchdown catch that resulted from a ridiculous nine-second dropback by Rodgers.
Cook continues to be a great option on third down and a deep threat over the middle, as he reeled in four passes for 56 yards, including a 24-yarder up the seam. Richard Rodgers had just one catch for 14 yards. Neither Janis nor Davis saw a pass thrown their way.
DEFENSE (66 plays)
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 66, S/ILB/CB Morgan Burnett 66, CB LaDarius Gunter 66, CB Micah Hyde 66, S Kentrell Brice 49, CB Damarious Randall 26, CB Quinten Rollins 23, S Marwin Evans 12
This is where it got screwy. Early on, Burnett was playing inside linebacker, but played a bit of safety as well in the first half. However, following the injuries to Randall in the third quarter and then Rollins and Dorleant, Burnett was moved to a nickel cornerback role while Micah Hyde was asked to move out to the boundary from his usual slot position.
That forced the Packers to line up a nickel unit of Hyde, Gunter, and Burnett at corner with Clinton-Dix and Brice at safety; then when they went into the dime, they moved Brice into the slot and put Evans at strong safety.
ILB Jake Ryan 58, OLB Clay Matthews 51, OLB Nick Perry 36, OLB Julius Peppers 35, OLB Datone Jones 34, ILB Blake Martinez 15, ILB Joe Thomas 15, OLB Kyler Fackrell 2
Thomas started the game at linebacker, but left the game early and did not return. Ryan took over, and Martinez played as well once Burnett was forced to bounce outside to cornerback.
On the outside, the Packers used a fairly typical rotation of Matthews, Perry, Peppers, and Jones, with the latter two lining up on occasion as interior pass-rushers.
Perry and Martinez recorded the Packers’ only two sacks of the game, with Martinez adding a second tackle for loss. Matthews also recorded a TFL, while Peppers had a hit on Matthew Stafford as well.
Mike Daniels 45, Letroy Guion 34, Kenny Clark 15, Dean Lowry 12
With the Packers using primarily the nickel and dime packages, the defensive linemen’s snaps were somewhat limited. Christian Ringo did not take the field at all despite being active for the game, while Clark and Lowry had little work. Daniels had three tackles and was his typical disruptive self.