GREEN BAY—Pick a highlight, any highlight.
There were a ridiculous number to choose from in the Packers’ 53-20 blowout of the Eagles on Sunday at Lambeau Field, and they came in every phase of the game.
On defense, there was Julius Peppers’ 52-yard interception return and Casey Hayward’s 49-yard fumble return, both for scores.
On offense, how about Eddie Lacy pinballing over, around and through seemingly the entire Eagles defense on his way to a 32-yard catch-and-run TD. Or Jordy Nelson’s toe-tapping 27-yard touchdown catch just inside the pylon, Randall Cobb’s career highs of 10 catches and 129 yards, and the dynamic duo topping 100 yards each in the same game for the second time this season.
Throw in Micah Hyde’s 75-yard punt return to paydirt on special teams and the dominance was complete.
“We’re on a roll right now,” Cobb said. “We’re playing great, all phases.”
The two defensive scores came in the second half after the game got out of hand, but they served as exclamation points for how the Packers didn’t back down against the Eagles’ highly ranked and high-powered offense.
Both Peppers and Hayward scored for the second time this season. Peppers now has four pick-sixes in his career, this one coming on a simple zone drop into the passing lane tight end Brent Celek was entering. Peppers went 52 yards in all, stiff-arming receiver Jordan Matthews out of his way for the final 15 or 20 yards.
“I was able to get a read on his eyes, get a jump on the ball, and take it in,” Peppers said. “There wasn’t any doubt (about scoring). I was too close.”
Peppers’ teammates are getting envious of the veteran’s big moments.
“I tell him all the time, ‘Man, they just throw you gifts. You’ll be standing there and they throw the ball right to you,’” Mike Neal said. “How do you not miss this dude? He’s 6-7.”
Lacy used all of his 230 powerful pounds in refusing to go down on a swing pass to the left early in the fourth quarter. By the time tight end Andrew Quarless helped him across the goal line in a pile of bodies, Lacy had spun at least twice if not three times on a play that looked even more impressive than his two long screen passes in the last two games.
“I kind of got dizzy a little bit,” Lacy said. “I was just trying to get a first down, and I made a guy, two guys miss, I think? I really don’t remember. Then it was the goal line right there. I tried my best to get in, and ‘Q’ came in and pushed me the rest of the way when I was on the 1, so it’s always a team effort.”
Lacy finished with 114 yards from scrimmage (69 rushing, 45 receiving) and two scores.
Nelson and Cobb both went over 100 yards receiving back in Week 4 in Chicago and did so again, this time with Cobb’s 10 receptions for 129 yards topping his previous career bests in each category by one grab and one yard. Nelson’s 64-yard gain down the sideline on the third play of the game jump-started his four-catch, 109-yard day.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Eagles decided to play with just a single safety in the middle of the field much of the time against QB Aaron Rodgers, and the results were predictable.
“That’s their plan. They were sticking to what they do,” said Cobb, who now has four 100-yard games this season to Nelson’s five. “We were able to make plays in one-on-one matchups.”
Rodgers also was sacked just once in 39 dropbacks (36 pass attempts, three scrambles for 32 yards) as the Packers offensive line faced an Eagles defensive front that recorded nine sacks in a Monday night game just six days prior.
“We know as a line if we can do that, he’s going to go out and pick defenses apart,” said left guard Josh Sitton, who continues to play with an injured big toe. “He’s the best in the business.”
The same might be said of the Packers right now. They’re perfectly aware no trophies are handed out in Week 11, but the calendar says the season is nearing the stretch run.
“It seems like we’re putting it all together at the right time,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “November-December is when teams start separating themselves from the pack.
“We’ve got everything in front of us now, and we just have to maximize on that.” COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE