GREEN BAY – As masterful as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was at Ford Field on Sunday night, it’s intriguing to take a closer look at exactly how some important plays worked for Green Bay’s offense.
In many cases, one teammate lent a helping hand in getting another open, and then Rodgers’ quick release and pinpoint accuracy took over from there.
So, without further ado …
Play No. 1: First-and-15 from the Green Bay 20, second quarter, :23 left
Result: 39-yard completion to WR Geronimo Allison
The video clip starts right where the routes of Allison (81) and Packers TE Jared Cook (89) converge, and as Rodgers rolls to his right, he’s watching how the Lions react. When both S Don Carey (26) and S Glover Quin (27) stay with Cook at the first-down marker, no one goes with Allison upfield, and Rodgers’ throw is right on target to help set up a long field goal before halftime. Give Cook the assist for getting Allison some open space.
Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Detroit 19, third quarter, 10:13 left
Result: 16-yard completion to WR Jordy Nelson
The design of this play is fascinating to watch unfold, and it all happens so quickly. It’s about opening up a clear throwing lane for the slant to Nelson.
Packers TE Richard Rodgers (82) runs straight to the right from his in-line, stand-up position, which draws Lions S Tavon Wilson (32) out of Nelson’s way. At the same time, RT Bryan Bulaga (75) and RG T.J. Lang (70) are getting perfect leverage on their blocks to clear a wide swath for Rodgers’ eyes and eventually the ball to find Nelson. Last but not least, the ball is out of Rodgers’ hand so quickly that Lions LB DeAndre Levy (54) is way too late to get in the passing lane. The bullet completion sets up first-and-goal and a TD pass to WR Davante Adams on the next snap.
Play No. 3: First-and-16 from the Green Bay 25, fourth quarter, 13:32 left
Result: 31-yard completion to Allison
Here’s another big play to the undrafted rookie Allison, who’s in the slot and gets a touch of help from WR Jeff Janis, lined up to his left. As Allison criss-crosses with Janis to run an out-and-up, Janis rubs awfully close to Lions CB Crezdon Butler (41) without bumping him. It leaves Butler a step slow to catch up with Allison down the sideline, and a quick flick by Rodgers is right where it needs to be once again.
Play No. 4: Third-and-5 from the Detroit 43, fourth quarter, 5:21 left
Result: 9-yard completion to RB Ty Montgomery
With the Packers looking to re-establish a two-score lead late in the game, this is a huge play. Rodgers has just turned a third-and-10 into third-and-5 by catching the Lions with 12 defenders on the field, but the Packers still must convert because they’re not in field-goal range yet.
A big factor in getting Montgomery open in the right flat for the first down is TE Richard Rodgers (82). As the tight end makes his way from the backfield through the line of scrimmage, it’s as though he creates a visual screen in front of Lions LB Tahir Whitehead (59), who can’t see where Montgomery is going until it’s too late. The only other defender who reacts to Montgomery’s path is the safety Quin (27), but he’s coming from the other hash mark and has no chance to get to Montgomery before he moves the chains.