GREEN BAY – Jayrone Elliott estimated he had only played a handful of snaps on defense by the middle of the fourth quarter on Sunday night.
That’s when Elliott, a second-year outside linebacker who came to the Packers last year as an undrafted rookie, snagged Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s pass one-handed for an interception that was the biggest defensive play in the 27-17 victory at Lambeau Field.
Elliott’s gem of a catch, on what appeared to be a screen pass intended for running back Marshawn Lynch, came with the Packers leading by seven and led to the field goal that basically sealed the win.
Just for good measure, though, Elliott created another turnover on Seattle’s final drive, stripping running back Fred Jackson of the ball after a short reception. Teammate Micah Hyde recovered in the final half-minute and the Packers’ work for the evening was done.
“That boy Jay, he had a day,” Hyde said. “We have depth on this defense, that’s for sure. The backups can make plays just like the starters, and Jay is one of them. He does that in practice.
“That’s the kind of player he is, and we’re looking forward to seeing him blossom like that.”
Elliott joked that he learned to catch one-handed by doing a lot of ball drills in college at Toledo, and by working on the JUGS machine one-handed last year while trying to protect a banged-up finger.
A regular on special teams, Elliott has never been bothered by the minimal activity he gets on defense, and he likely earned himself some more snaps from scrimmage in the coming weeks.
“It feels pretty good to be on a national stage and show I can compete,” he said. “I’m an undrafted guy, just trying to get my name out there a little bit.”
Consider that mission accomplished.
“Those are huge plays that we needed on defense, and I think coming in here, if I had asked who was going to make those plays, I don’t think anyone would have said Jayrone,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Turning point?: Green Bay’s defense did a solid job containing Lynch all game, holding him to just 41 yards on 15 carries.
In the second half, Seattle turned to Wilson to get its running game going, as the Seahawks QB gave the Packers trouble with several read-option runs. Green Bay finally snuffed one of those out, though, as outside linebacker Mike Neal stayed home on a read option and tackled Wilson for a 2-yard loss.
Two plays later, Wilson threw the interception to Elliott that changed the game.
“It was huge. That’s a hard play,” Hyde said of Neal’s stop. “It’s not just the quarterback and the running back. They do a whole bunch of stuff up front to mess you up.”
Franchise record: Kicker Mason Crosby was 4-for-4 on field goals in the game, scoring 13 points in all to become the Packers’ all-time leading scorer.
Crosby surpassed Ryan Longwell’s previous record of 1,054 regular-season points. He was good from 54 and 18 yards in the first half (along with a PAT), and his 44-yarder in the third quarter tied him with Longwell. He broke the mark on a 21-yarder with 1:56 left that provided the final points of the game.
Obviously, I’ve been on so many good teams since I’ve been here with the Packers,” Crosby said. “We find ways to score. It couldn’t have been a better night to break that record, coming out here and beating the Seahawks.”
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