— If you don’t know how to feel after the Green Bay Packers’ victory under the primetime lights of Monday Night Football, you’re probably not alone.
I say this because for once — for the first time in what feels like a very, very long time — the Packers got an assist from the officiating crew. There was no blatant defensive pass interference call on a defensive back on a crucial red-zone throw that prevented Marquez Valdes-Scantling from catching the ball. There were no inexcusable roughing-the-passer calls. There wasn’t a Fail Mary. There wasn’t a missed facemask call in a playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Packers not only outplayed the Lions statistically despite significantly losing the turnover battle, but their defense stepped up and made crucial steps after a rocky start that made it seem as if they were going to be in for a long night against Matthew Stafford and co.
The Packers are lucky to have Mason Crosby
Before I dive into anything else, it’s important that this column leads off with some appreciation for Mason Crosby because he was the man against the Detroit Lions and he has been the man for a long time now. He’s the Packers’ all-time leading scorer and the complete embodiment of what it means to be a professional.
There have been times in his career where he has hit low points. His struggles in 2012 nearly got him booted off the team, but the Packers stuck with him through it all. After going 1-for-5 on field goals in Detroit last year, many speculated that the Packers would finally move on from Crosby, but instead, he persevered. Since that debacle in Detroit, Crosby has hit 29 of his last 32 field goal attempts, which is good for 90.6 percent and would be a single-season career-high for him. In the 17 games since, he’s also hit two walk-off game-winners on Monday Night Football. The most recent being this week.
In the midst of fending off competition from Giorgio Tavecchio and Sam Ficken, Crosby has been the one constant for the Packers’ special teams unit through the years. If anything, it appears he’s only getting better with age.
So, like, the Packers’ running backs are good
It was Aaron Jones last week, and this week it was Jamaal Williams.
Two weeks after leaving the Thursday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a concussion as a result of a scary hit, Williams returned to action against the Lions and that’s putting it lightly. He exploded for 18 touches and 136 scrimmage yards, including a receiving touchdown that marked his second of the season and put him in a tie for the team lead.
Our 1,2 punch at RB is the filthiest if u disagree well you’re on meth
— Davante Adams (@tae15adams) October 15, 2019
I mean, take it from Davante Adams. You’re probably on meth if you disagree, but the Packers do have the makings of one of the league’s top running back tandems. Especially with the way they’ve been utilized on a weekly basis in Matt LaFleur’s offense. Whether it’s as pure runners or in the passing game, they offer a dynamic change-of-pace that could keep opposing defenses off-balance. It’s okay to take the ball out of Jones’ control to ride the hot hand and vice versa, simply because both players off their own unique qualities. Maybe Mike McCarthy was on to someth–no, nevermind.
(Un)Popular opinion? Aaron Rodgers needs help
Matt LaFleur counted six drops against the Lions. One of those drops from Darrius Shepherd led to an interception.
The Packers got it done last week in Dallas without Davante Adams, and they managed to squeak out a victory this week without him as well. But game-planning without the team’s top wide receiver likely isn’t sustainable, and neither is riding the offense through the legs of your two running backs. Oh, and neither is rolling out four undrafted receivers because Marquez Valdes-Scantling — who hasn’t been anything to write home about either — left the game with an ankle injury.
Valdes-Scantling returned to the game, but Allison left with a chest injury and to be evaluated for a concussion before eventually being ruled out. So now the Packers are done another body there, and perhaps one of Aaron Rodgers’ most trusted set of hands despite some of Allison’s struggles this season. It’s great that Allen Lazard stepped up and shined in crunch time, but teams will eventually plan for that kind of thing and find a way to eliminate him from the game.
There’s not much else to say here other than the fact that I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see the Packers make a move for another wide receiver before the trade deadline in two weeks. Even with Adams expected to return from his turf toe injury relatively soon, the Packers need someone that can actually instill fear in the guy lined up across from them. No one is scared of Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, Shepherd and eventually, they won’t be scared of Lazard either. Of course, I’d love to be wrong about that.
Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He’s the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He’s also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.