The Green Bay Packers’ defense turned in a fantastic performance on Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Seahawks. The reigning NFC West champs picked up just 225 yards of total offense, their lowest total in a single game since 2014, and it was truly a team effort by the Packers in that regard.
Still, there were a couple of players who stood out above the rest, and one in particular who is deserving of special recognition as the games best player. Here are our picks for the three Packers on each side of the football who deserve to be called out for their great performances.
Game MVP: DT Mike Daniels
The man they call Diesel made his living in the Seahawks’ backfield on Sunday, constantly hurrying Russell Wilson and stuffing ball-carriers behind the line of scrimmage. He finished the game with a stunning stat line for a 3-technique defensive tackle: seven tackles (five solo), one-and-a-half sacks, another tackle for loss, and a forced fumble. That fumble was recovered by Kyler Fackrell and led to the Packers’ first score, a six-yard run by Ty Montgomery.
Daniels added an additional four hits on the quarterback in addition to his sacks, too. The Seahawks simply had no answer for Daniels at any point in this one, and he made life a living hell for everyone in Seattle’s backfield.
CB Quinten Rollins
The Packers’ primary slot cornerback held Doug Baldwin, Seattle’s best receiver, to just four catches for 63 yards on Sunday. In addition to a pass breakup, Rollins was active in run support and made eight total tackles, including one tackle for loss. With the Packers using their Nitro package liberally throughout the game and particularly in the second half, Rollins played essentially every snap in the slot and did his job well while the front seven did theirs.
OLB Nick Perry
Early on, Perry joined Daniels in making their homes in the Seahawks’ backfield. He was chiefly responsible for Seattle’s first three-and-out, practically pancaking left tackle Rees Odhiambo twice to get a throwaway on first down and a sack on third down. Perry finished the game with 1.5 sacks of his own, matching Daniels in that number, and adding another tackle for loss as well.
If Perry can stay healthy, there’s no reason to think that he can’t expand on his career high 11 sacks from last season.
QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers started quickly, completing five of his first six passes for 66 yards before throwing an interception right into the cut of Nazair Jones. However, his hustle down the field drew a (questionable) block in the back penalty that erased the pick-six. For the rest of the first half, Rodgers looked uncomfortable, often holding the ball too long and taking four sacks, at least a few of which were on him rather than the offensive line.
However, after halftime, Rodgers found his groove as the Packers rejuvenated a quick passing game. He also got his hard count going and caught the Seahawks with 12 men on the field during a personnel change, taking advantage of that free play for a touchdown to Jordy Nelson. All told, Rodgers ended up finishing the game with 28 completions on 42 attempts for 311 yards, one score, and one interception, while adding seven carries for 21 yards (and a couple of first downs) on the ground.
OT Kyle Murphy
Although Murphy struggled a bit early on, allowing a sack to Cliff Avril that was partially his fault and partially on the interior offensive line allowing pressure up the middle, he was able to hold up well overall against Michael Bennett and Avril as the game went on.
In the second half, Rodgers was not sacked once and Murphy had no glaring mistakes -- that’s enough to earn Murphy a game ball, as it is all Packers fans were hoping for out of the second-year tackle. Bryan Bulaga’s return will still be eagerly awaited by the Packers and their fans alike, but Murphy did more than enough to give Rodgers a chance to have a productive day, and his quarterback did just that in the second half.
WR Randall Cobb
Cobb’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. The Packers found plenty of opportunities for Cobb in the middle of the field against the Seahawks, and even threw to him when Richard Sherman was in coverage. Cobb ended up leading the team in targets with thirteen, catching nine of those passes for 85 yards. The last time he put up a stat line like that in the regular season was in week six of last season against the Chicago Bears, when he caught 11 passes for 95 yards and a score.
Cobb looks fully healthy for the first time in a while, and he picked up where he left off in last year’s playoffs, when he averaged six catches and 87 yards in the Packers’ three games.