Two wins in a row! I must be living right. We all must be living right. For the second straight week I wore my Randall Cobb jersey with a Punisher undershirt. It appears as though I will be sticking with that for the rest of the season. I’m fine with it.
There were a few plays I could have rolled with in this space. After rewatching the game, this seemed to be the obvious choice.
Let’s set it up. It’s 3rd & 6 at the 50 yard line. The Packers are up 14-7 with 5:54 remaining in the game. While the Texans struggled to move the ball for most of the game, giving them the ball only down 7 points with six minutes left on the clock was not something any of us would have felt good about. Earlier in the quarter, Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a 32 yard touchdown pass where the defender slipped in the snow. All it would take was one fallen defender and one halfway decent Brock Osweiler pass and the Texans could tie it up.
For the record, “a halfway decent Brock Osweiler pass,” is never something I would bet on but they do happen on occasion.
No, I would not have been comfortable with a 7 point lead.
Jordy Nelson  lines up as the front man in the bunch to the left. At the snap, Nelson runs a deep corner route, Randall Cobb  runs a drag/curl from the outside and Richard Rodgers  runs a deep in from the inside.
All of this movement is designed to get Nelson open, and it works perfectly. The Texans are in Cover 1 Man Under. The inside linebacker appears to be dropping back to spy Aaron Rodgers .
Cobb draws the attention of his man as well as the spy, pulling both of them towards the line of scrimmage. Richard Rodgers drags his man across the field with him and also draws the attention of the single high safety. Richard Rodgers doesn’t drag the safety too far from the middle of the field, but he doesn’t need to: with Nelson running a corner route, the Packers just need the safety to freeze and/or drift to the other side of the field slightly. Since the throw is going to the left sideline, anything other than the safety making an immediate beeline for Nelson means that he won’t be able to get to the throw in time.
At this point it’s on Nelson, and he does his job. He beats Kareem Jackson  to the inside, then veers outside. By the time he looks back for the ball, he has a step or two on Jackson. Rodgers gets rid of the ball quickly, but it’s slightly underthrown. Nelson is able to come back to the ball, grab it above Jackson’s head and hold on while the Jackson is actively trying to knock it out. Here it is from another angle:
The ability to come back to the ball is impressive enough, but being able to hold onto the ball in this situation was huge. Instead of punting from the 50 up by 7 points, the Packers got a fresh set of downs at the 22 yard line and took a 14 point lead two plays later.
Check out the blocking up front, as well. Rodgers got this out of his hand pretty quickly, but it was still a 7 step drop. He needed a bit of time for the play to develop.
Kudos. Kudos all the way around. Especially for you, Jordy. This was a grown man catch in a huge moment.
It’s worth noting that, with Cobb dragging the linebacker from the middle of the field, Richard Rodgers was open on his route. A quick pump to Nelson and a throw across the middle to Rodgers likely would have picked up the first down, as well. But Nelson appeared to be the first read on this play, and, since he was open, the throw went to Nelson. However, it’s nice to know that the Packers had another open receiver had Nelson failed to get open.
Album listened to: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme