The Green Bay Packers are sitting at 4-1 after their week five victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and in that game we find that there are numerous players deserving of recognition for their performances on Sunday afternoon.
The players earning Game Balls this week are surprises, especially in the aftermath of last week’s win over the Chicago Bears. One was thought to be a sure bet to sit out this game, while another’s role on the team was expected to be limited following a highly-publicized “internal matter” during that game.
Here are our picks for five players deserving of recognition on Sunday.
With Jamaal Williams being active for Sunday’s game, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Packers might split up the carries and the snaps evenly between their two primary rookie running backs. That was distinctly not the case in Sunday’s game, as Jones took nearly every snap in the backfield, very much in the Ty Montgomery role. Even more Montgomery-esque was the fact that he lined up all over the field, splitting out wide for a handful of snaps.
What Jones did in his first start was nothing short of stunning. He ran the ball 19 times for 125 yards and one touchdown, showing excellent vision in the backfield by navigating through blockers and utilizing an excellent jump-cut and burst to explode through the line. He also added one reception for nine yards, a big play that helped the Packers pick up a first down and stop the clock on a drive late in the first half.
Jones clearly usurped Williams as the top option behind Montgomery (when he returns from injury), and he absolutely has shown that he deserves significant snaps once #88 does get back on the field.
Adams led the Packers in all receiving categories against the Cowboys and he did so just ten days after going to the hospital from a hit to the head by Danny Trevathan. Although he had no big plays down the field, he was reliable in moving the chains and he caught a pair of touchdowns — the first and last of the game for the Packers.
On that second score, Aaron Rodgers missed him on a fade route to the end zone on first down, but the QB said that Adams told him to throw it again. Rodgers did, and Adams made the catch for the go-ahead touchdown.
All told, Adams put up 66 yards and those two touchdowns on seven receptions.
Pressed into significant duty on Sunday due to Kevin King’s concussion, Davon House’s cramps, and Kentrell Brice’s ankle injury (though Brice eventually returned), Randall provided a spark early in the second half to a defense that allowed just ten points after halftime.
Although Randall gave up a touchdown early in the game on a pass to Dez Bryant, he did have good position and good coverage on the play. However, it was a series of plays late in the game that earn him a game ball, just one week after he was sent to the locker room in the second half.
Randall was in a fortunate position early in the fourth quarter, as Terrance Williams saw a football go right off his hands and into Randall’s. The embattled cornerback raced 21 yards to the end zone to give the Packers a 28-24 lead. Randall then added a massive pass breakup down the right sideline to stop a would-be touchdown on a free play.
That breakup will not show up in the stat sheet (he did add another pass defense in the game as well), but Randall had a few big plays when the defense badly needed them.
It’s becoming a bit of a refrain in these past few weeks, but Martinez has played extremely well overall as the Packers’ primary inside linebacker. With safeties and fellow linebackers next to him, Martinez hasn’t missed a beat and led the Packers in tackles once again this Sunday with 12 total stops.
He was flagged on the first drive for contact to a defenseless receiver, but that call was terrible, as he only made incidental contact, and should be rightfully ignored. Instead, his activity at and behind the line of scrimmage has been excellent, and he continues to be active as a blitzer as well.
It was another performance to build on for Martinez, who should have his hands full again next week in Minnesota.
Could the final game ball go to anyone else?
It wasn’t just Rodgers’ performance with his arm on the final drive that makes him deserving of football fans’ awe and respect (though that certainly contributes to it). It wasn’t just his ability to escape the pass rush and scramble for 18 yards on third and eight with 29 seconds left. It isn’t just the fact that he put up a passer rating of 122.9, his third straight over 100 and second straight over 120.
It is all of that in its totality, along with his leadership and toughness that make him the best quarterback in football. Thanks, Aaron, for another memorable game.