The Green Bay Packers entered the game against the Lions down number one receiver Davante Adams for the second straight game. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has stepped up as has Geronimo Allison. However, the situation appeared to get very grim at wide receiver when Allison was knocked out cold on the first play of the second half on a hit by Detroit defensive back Tracy Walker.
In an important divisional game at home in week six, the Packers were now extremely thin at wide receiver. Next man up was 23-year old Allen Lazard, who was not targeted all season and had only a single reception last season for seven yards. The second-year man out of Iowa State stepped up in a big way, significantly helping the Packers escape with a victory.
In this game, at least for this half, he became a primary target for Rodgers. Down by nine in the fourth quarter, Rodgers went deep to Lazard for a potential touchdown, but the pass fell incomplete. Not hesitating to go back to him, Rodgers fired a 35-yarder to Lazard for a touchdown, to cut the lead to two.
On the final drive of the game, Rodgers again looked for his young receiver, hitting him three times. The last of which was the most important on 2nd -and-8 from the Detroit 37. Rodgers hit Lazard with a 15-yard strike to the 22 to put the Packers in short field goal range. Crosby nailed the short attempt as the clock struck zero for a 23-22 win.
Lazard led the Packers with 65 yards and tied with the most receptions with four, on five targets. Adams and Allison are both questionable for this week, which means Lazard could see significant playing time. When Adams and Allison return, Lazard’s playing time at receiver will likely diminish significantly. However, the Packers now know they can depend on Lazard, so don’t be surprised to see more and more of him as time goes by. At least for one week, Lazard was an unlikely hero.
After the game, Aaron Rodgers was keen to mention that he lobbied for Lazard to be on the field in the 4th quarter. We’ll likely see more of him in the future, but we shouldn’t get too excited about him until he’s shown he can be healthy and consistent.