QB Aaron Rodgers
After a slow start and with limited mobility, Rodgers was 15-20, over 200 yards and two touchdown passes in the second half. The Packers entered the fourth quarter down by one and came back to win. What’s that you say? Not only a fourth quarter rally to win but in the postseason for #12? Skip Bayless be darned. I’ll be he looks great in that Packers garb today!
Rodgers is the heart and soul of this team and proves it in more ways every week. Perhaps the calf loosened up in the second half, as he was able to move around a bit and extend plays. The touchdown throw to Richard Rodgers was probably one of the best throws I’ve seen any quarterback make. The scary thing is, Rodgers has made that same throw before.
He’s rare and he’s ours. Against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers will need every bit of magic he has left if they want a free trip to Glendale, Arizona.
LB/DL Julius Peppers
Peppers was one of the guys I called on to step up and be a factor in this game. He has the “C” on his jersey for a reason. After making a bit of a splash early in the year, Peppers had been quiet leading into the last game of the season. He had two tackles for a loss against the Lions and came up big against Dallas. Peppers had a sack and caused a fumble on Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray that could have gone for long yardage. Peppers also nearly tipped a Tony Romo pass that would have negated a pass interference call on the Packers.
The playoffs are all about elevating and doing a bit more when it’s needed most. Some say Peppers turns it up when he wants to and he’ll need to want to this week against Seattle. Up to this point, I’d say that acquiring Peppers has been worth every penny in 2014.
WR Davante Adams
Adams had a break out game against the New England Patriots and had entrenched himself as another go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers. Since then, however, Adams and Rodgers haven’t always been on the same page and he’s had a few drops. Many were starting to wonder if Adams was headed down a similar road that Jarrett Boykin seems to have traveled and if he could climb back to a good place within the Packers offense.
Enter Sunday when Adams found another gear. 11 targets, seven catches, 117 yards, all game high’s. Adams shook defenders on multiple occasions to get some valuable yards after the catch and none prettier than his 46-yard touchdown run. After making the catch, Adams absolutely juked Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox out of his shoes and scampered into the end zone to bring the Packers within one point of the lead. It’s plays like this that Adams had regularly at Fresno State and the reason why the Packers used a second round pick on him. It takes a bit of swagger to do what Adams did on that catch & run and we have to hope that Adams continues to gain confidence within the offense, both this year and beyond.
Facing a fourth down with four minutes to go, Romo threw a jump ball toward Dez Bryant that resulted in what looked like a catch and down at the one-yard line. The ball did pop loose at the end of the play and Bryant brought it back in while on his back. It was initially ruled a catch. McCarthy challenged the ruling, stating that Bryant didn’t complete the catch and that it should be ruled incomplete. The review officials agreed and overturned the call. It was the first challenge McCarthy won all season long. When he threw the flag, I tweeted that this was a dumb challenge and would be a huge story line after the game. Well, I was half right. At this point, McCarthy had to challenge this call. It was the best chance at getting the ball back to the offense and keeping Dallas from scoring. While much debate has ensued over whether Bryant actually made a catch or not, it appears that the right call was made, according to the rule. Blame the rule, not the officials. Great move by McCarthy and it may have saved the season for the Packers.
LB Nick Perry
Perry, when healthy, is capable of making big plays on this Packers defense. The key is “when healthy”. While all of the talk in this game was about Packers cornerback Sam Shields on the non-catch at the end of the game, it was Perry who quietly add in one-and-a-half sacks on the day. His half sack shared with defensive lineman Mike Daniels, came on second and long in the fourth quarter on a drive that eventually ended with a Dallas punt.
We haven’t heard Perry’s name much this season and he has certainly become a role player versus an every-down guy like a first-rounder should be, but he’s contributing and is another guy who is stepping up at a key time. While he doesn’t make many plays by volume, those he makes tend to count. His athleticism may be called upon against Seattle as they try to defend a very mobile Russell Wilson while also containing running back Marshawn Lynch.
LB Brad Jones
Another game, another attempt by Jones to thwart everything that is good about this Packers team. His defensive holding call on a third down play during the Cowboys’ second drive kept Dallas alive. From there, they ran off another six minutes off the clock and got into the end zone for their first score of the game. In week 17, Jones also received a lame call for a blow to the head of Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. These are the kinds of things Jones has been doing all season long. If only for the fact that the Packers lost Jamari Lattimore to injury can I assume that they have to put Jones out there, at times.
When the only thing you’re known for are boneheaded plays with zero redemption through your play making, it’s time for the team to go in another direction. I firmly believe this is the last season you’ll see Jones in a Packers uniform. If not, it brings more question and doubt to some of the decision-making that goes on at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. Simply stated, Jones is a liability and the Packers force themselves to succeed in spite of him.
Tough day for Tramon and it was highlighted by a horrible missed tackle early in the second quarter. Romo completed a pass to receiver Terrance Williams who then left Tramon in the dust and looking foolish with a nice move to free himself up and score on a 38-yard play. It tied the game up and gave Dallas all of the momentum at that point of the game. We all want to look back to 2010 and the job that Williams did for the Packers defense. This is clearly not the same Tramon.
With Davon House back healthy, we may see more of him on the outside as another option to match up better with some of the taller receivers in Seattle. Tramon has been solid for the Packers this season so hoping that this gaffe was a one-time thing. It was just one play but it was a big one in a big game so Williams earns a lame call.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: