The Packers needed someone in the wide receiving corps to step up big time in the fourth quarter on Monday night against Detroit. But I’m not sure anyone thought it would be Allen Lazard.
Lazard entered Monday with one career reception for seven yards, but he finished the game as the Packers’ leading receiver on the night, despite getting just one quarter of play. His biggest play ended up being this week’s Game Changing Play of the Week, a great touchdown grab on an absolutely beautiful pass by Aaron Rodgers that brought the Packers within just two points, setting them up for a game-winning field goal.
oh hell yes, that Allen Lazard content we’d all been craving pic.twitter.com/EIKqge5r3k
— Christian D’Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 15, 2019
You can tell that Rodgers is looking underneath first, presumably hoping to just move the chains, but he’s unable to find anyone open. Only after surveying his crossing routes does he look down deep to Lazard.
This is some classic Aaron Rodgers dime dropping material right here, the kind of pass that hardly anyone else in the NFL is able to make.
Aaron Rodgers & Allen Lazard’s 35-yard TD had an 18.7% Completion Probability, the least probable completion for Rodgers this season.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 15, 2019
Lazard was blanketed here, but Rodgers had enough confidence in him to throw this pass on a crucial third down situation whlie the team was down two scores and in desperate need of points. If this pass isn’t completed, the Packers aren’t exactly in easy field goal range, so there’s a big risk associated with throwing this football.
Rodgers comes up big here. Take a look from another angle.
“He played how I expected him to play and I’m very proud of him.”
— Aaron Rodgers on #13 Allen Lazard
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) October 15, 2019
The skill level associated iwth the throw cannot be understated. But let’s not forget the catch, either. Lazard is in blanket coverage here, so the margin for error is almost zero. Lazard has the presence of mind to locate and secure the football and make sure he holds on to it after going to the ground. Just a beautiful play all around. And it couldn’t have come at a time of greater need.
So what happens with Lazard from here?
One has to think he’s going to start getting more playing time on offense after what he put on tape in the fourth quarter. Geronimo Allison has been having an awful season, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has yet to show consistency and Jake Kumerow and Darius Shepherd have done nothing at all on offense, so there’s no reason not to give Lazard more chances after what he showed on Monday night.
That being said, it’s probably important to temper expectations. Is Lazard suddenly going to be “the answer” at the second wide receiver spot that has been the subject of so much Twitter consternation so far this year? The chances are slim, though anything could happen.
Still, Lazard was a more than welcome surprise for the Packers at a time when someone aboslutely had to step up. Hopefully he can keep the momentum going heading into this weekend against Oakland.
Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.