GREEN BAY – This week’s edition of “What You Might’ve Missed” is admittedly a bit of a hodge-podge.
We’ll start with how the Packers’ two rookie receivers, Trevor Davis and Geronimo Allison, are getting on the same page with QB Aaron Rodgers when it comes to the scramble drill.
We’ll also show how the two-point conversion run by Rodgers worked so well, and the key blocks that broke Davis free on his 55-yard punt return.
Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 49, first quarter, 2:20 left
Result: Rodgers to Davis, 6-yard completion
The Packers practice the scramble drill all the time, but it’s still not easy to execute on the fly. Here, you see the rookie Davis (11) work it perfectly, changing direction to get in line with Rodgers and then stopping his feet at just the right moment on the sideline to be able to make the catch in bounds.
Play No. 2: Third-and-goal from the Atlanta 4, second quarter, 11:58 left
Result: Rodgers to Allison, 4-yard TD
Allison successfully works the scramble drill in the red zone here, and it’s all about mirroring Rodgers’ movements, finding an opening in the coverage, and giving the quarterback a throwing lane. Once the original route is done, Allison (81) creates some space by taking a jab step to his right, and then shifting back to his left to mirror Rodgers, making sure the QB can see him. Easy pitch and catch.
Play No. 3: Packers’ two-point conversion attempt, fourth quarter, 3:58 left
Result: It’s good, Packers take 32-26 lead
Rodgers runs a little read-option action for two points, which the Falcons clearly were not expecting. The fake handoff to FB Aaron Ripkowski (22) gets Falcons OLB Vic Beasley (44) to bite hard off the edge and crash toward the middle. That’s the QB’s read, and why Rodgers opts to keep the ball. But the fake also gets S Ricardo Allen (37) in the end zone to take a step toward the pile, giving him no chance to change direction and get to Rodgers in time.
Play No. 4: Falcons punt, second quarter, 6:02 left
Result: Davis returns it 55 yards to the Atlanta 15
There are two key blocks to watch that help spring Davis for the big return. First, Falcons gunner Robenson Therezie (27, middle) has cut across from the right side of the screen to try to beat Green Bay’s double team, but Packers CB LaDarius Gunter (36) takes him out and he gets nowhere near Davis.
Second, Falcons FB Patrick DeMarco (42, right) has slipped out from the end of the in-line formation to run down the sideline in place of the gunner. Packers LB Joe Thomas (48) is with him every step of the way, though, and throws multiple blocks to keep him well outside the numbers and near the sideline, leaving a huge lane for Davis to sprint through to begin his long jaunt.