GREEN BAY – A game-winning drive like the one the Packers put together in Dallas doesn’t happen without a lot of clean execution.
That means it’s not just the four players who touched the ball on the drive – QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Davante Adams, TE Martellus Bennett and RB Aaron Jones – who made it work.
Their teammates threw a number of key blocks along the way, and that’s what this edition of WYMM will cover, along with a couple of other worthwhile snaps from earlier in the game, just for good measure.
But first, from the final drive …
Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 25, fourth quarter, 1:13 left
Result: 14-yard completion to Adams
With the rookie Jones next to him in the backfield, you can see Rodgers before the snap communicate Jones’ assignment on blitz pickup, and Jones similarly points at Cowboys S Byron Jones (31) coming off the edge. Green Bay’s Jones does exactly what’s needed, running interference to keep Dallas’ Jones out of Rodgers’ face and create a clear throwing lane for the back-shoulder toss to Adams.
Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 39, fourth quarter, 1:09 left
Result: 14-yard completion to Bennett
The key block on the quick pass in the flat to Bennett is courtesy of WR Randall Cobb. You can see him take Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick (32) all the way to the sideline as Bennett cuts inside the block for a nice gain across midfield. Fellow WR Geronimo Allison also does a decent job on CB Anthony Brown, but Allison’s block two plays later is even better.
Play No. 3: Second-and-10 from the Dallas 47, fourth quarter, :45 left
Result: 15-yard run by Jones
There are two blocks to watch here. First, it’s RG Jahri Evans (73) sealing off LB Justin Durant (52) as he tries to scrape across the line of scrimmage. Then, as mentioned, Allison locks up Brown, allowing Jones to get the first down, cut toward the sideline, and get out of bounds to stop the clock and preserve the Packers’ lone remaining timeout.
Play No. 4: Third-and-8 from the Dallas 30, fourth quarter, :29 left
Result: 18-yard scramble by Rodgers
Again, there are two blocks that stand out. The first one is by C Corey Linsley (63) against DE David Irving (95). Not shown is that two snaps earlier, Irving blew past Linsley for a knockdown of Rodgers on an incomplete pass. This time, Linsley wins the battle long enough that Irving can’t catch up to Rodgers as the Packers QB escapes to the outside. Then, downfield, Bennett goes to work on S Byron Jones as soon as he sees Rodgers scrambling, and he overpowers him with one arm to shove Jones out of bounds. This, of course, sets up the winning TD pass to Adams two snaps later.
OK, with the final drive out of the way, let’s rewind to a couple of other key plays with significant blocks to highlight.
Play No. 5: Fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 48, third quarter, 4:43 left
Result: 10-yard run by Jones
A lot of moving parts on this one for a crucial fourth-down conversion. It starts with WR Jordy Nelson (87) crashing down to get a block on DL Tyrone Crawford (98), which allows LT Lane Taylor (65) to pull to the outside. Taylor eventually seals off LB Jaylon Smith (54), while the whole time Adams (17) is working on Brown near the boundary. To need only one yard and get 10 speaks to the execution of all involved.
Play No. 6: First-and-goal from the Dallas 7, second quarter, :58 left
Result: 7-yard TD run by Jones
This play is included for two reasons. One, the execution of the combo block by Evans and RT Bryan Bulaga (75) is textbook. At the snap, they double-team DT Maliek Collins (96), and Bulaga perfectly times his move to the second level to wall off Smith (54) as Jones cruises across the goal line. Second, seeing Evans walk over to fist-bump Bulaga on a job well done is pretty cool.