The Packers have their share of big players, first and foremost is Aaron Rodgers, the team’s leader and MVP candidate for the 2016 season. But some lesser known players have grown up in the Packers’ recent past, and as last nights game proved, we are going to need these players to play big if the Packers hope to keep their win streak alive.
I posted before the game that the Saturday games of the divisional round had taught me one thing…that running backs out of the backfield can be a monster headache for defenses dealing with teams that have a high-powered offense without them. The Patriots’ James White provided a spark in the game against the Texans with just such a touchdown in a game in which the Pats had yet to truly pull away.
In the Falcons versus the Seahawks, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman factored in and gave the ‘Hawks’ defense fits in their dominating divisional round win.
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Big players make big plays in big games.
Big Player #1: Ty Montgomery
Ty Montgomery played Pop Warner football in Dallas and has always wanted to be a running back. But as it turned out, he was constantly slated as a wide receiver. The Stanford standout, drafted by the Packers, was once again a wide receiver. But the loss of James Starks and Eddie Lacy brought Ty to the forefront as a running back. And Montgomery came up big in the Packers’ win over the Cowboys, amassing 47 yards on 11 carries on the ground with two touchdowns. But Ty Montgomery added 6 catches for 34 yards and a long of 17.
Big Player #2: Jared Cook
Jared Cook, with just his second career playoff game, came up big. With 6 catches for 104 yards, 1 touchdown and a long of 36 that couldn’t have come at a more critical time. Cook’s final catch came with just three seconds on the clock and set up a 51 yard field goal attempt for our final big player of the game.
Big Player #3: Mason Crosby
Mason Crosby set a playoff record as the first kicker in NFL history to record two 50-plus yard field goals inside of two minutes in a playoff game. Actually, he made three. One of my major concerns going into the season, after Jacob Schum was brought on unexpectedly, was how he would hold for Crosby if the game was on the line. Schum did his job…and Crosby did his three times over and the Packers, needing a big play from a special teams unit…got it.
Mason Crosby came under fire early in his career, but one thing you can’t teach a kicker is how to kick 50-plus field goals on a regular basis. Crosby’s big leg is important for a Packers team that plays in December in Green Bay Wisconsin and Aaron Rodgers made mention of that in his post-game presser. Last night, that big leg was on display in full force in a game where two of the games premier kickers each kicked big.
Mason Crosby, ice in his veins…stepped up and got a playoff record. More importantly, he sent the Packers on to the NFC Championship game.
Big players make big plays and this Packers team has big players with lesser names than Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, or Julius Peppers. This was a team win, a great football game, and another Packers win because of these guys.