Five More Thoughts on Packers Playoff Win Over Vikings
Here are a few more nuggets from the Green Bay Packers 24-10 Wild Card win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers defensive backs were huge
Charles Woodson definitely made his presence known in his first game back from a broken collarbone. Woodson recorded six tackles, including one for a loss. Tramon Williams rebounded from the turd of a game he had in week 17. The Packers best defender may have been Sam Shields, though. Shields had a team-high seven tackles, knocked down two passes and intercepted another. Not only were these guys responsible for holding the Vikings under 200 yards passing, but they also played a key role in holding Adrian Peterson to 99 yards rushing.
Big-time players show up in big games
Not surprisingly, Clay Matthews was a beast on Saturday. Four tackles, two sacks, another tackle that went for a loss, three QB hits and a fumble recovery. Not sure you could ask for more.
Jeremy Ross is your kick returner
Ross was great as a return man against the Vikings in week 17. With Randall Cobb back from injury, the Packers kept Ross on kick returns and replaced him with Cobb on punt returns. Ross wasn’t nearly as good on Saturday as he was a week earlier. He averaged just 14 yards on two kick returns, although he did have a long of 28. Meanwhile, Cobb averaged just 4.3 yards on four punt returns. Why the Packers are still risking Cobb on punt returns is beyond us, but it will be interesting to see who returns what going forward.
Speaking of Randall Cobb…
He was virtually nonexistent in the passing game. He caught just one pass for seven yards and was only targeted twice. Five guys caught more passes than Cobb on Saturday, including fullback John Kuhn. Cobb did carry twice for six yards, a wrinkle we haven’t seen since earlier in the season. That being said, Cobb will need to be a bigger part of the game plan going forward if the Packers are going to make a run. Work that out, Mike.
DuJuan Harris is the new James Starks
When the Packers made their Super Bowl run, the virtually unknown Starks carried the team at times. Well, meet DuJuan Harris, your new James Starks. Harris’ role has increased down the home stretch and he was the Packers go-to running back against Minnesota. He put up 100 total yards, ran for a score and came up with numerous big catches. Harris’ 17 carries were 10 more than Ryan Grant (who was totally ineffective). Perhaps most surprisingly, the Packers didn’t use Alex Green at all for the second week in a row. Although they’ve been trying to sell the running-back-by-committee approach, Harris looks to be the guy. And the way Grant is playing, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be getting all the carries.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.