Tha Sports Junkies 101

Adams, Montgomery Provide Spark For Wounded Packers

Adams - NFL Jumpy News via Flickr


Adams, Cobb, and Montgomery shine for Packers

Coming into Thursday Night’s match-up with the Bears, wide receiver Davante Adams had only caught 15 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in 2016. By the time the final whistle blew in Green Bay’s 26-10 win, he had almost doubled all three categories gaining 132 yards on 13 catches and two much needed touchdowns.

Adams 13 catches were the most any Packer has caught in a single game in seven decades. He fell only one reception short of all-time great Don Hutson, who in 1942 caught 14 passes in one outing against the New York Giants.

His performance was impressive, but even more so if you consider the fact that Adams wasn’t declared active until late Thursday afternoon after suffering a concussion just a few days prior in the Packers loss to Dallas.

Adams seemed destined to join the long list of Packers sitting on the sideline nursing injuries. Fortunately for Aaron Rodgers, this wasn’t the case.

With backup running back James Starks already out for numerous weeks, stater Eddie Lacy’s move to the IR list this week put Rodgers in a difficult position. It was known coming into the game the offense would need to increase their pass attempts with no real back to rely on, and many hoped this would spark something in Rodgers.

Like Adams, his record setting performance seems to indicate he welcomed the challenge. On the day, Rodgers completed 39 of 56 passes (69.6%) for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. His 39 completions broke Brett Favre’s franchise record of 36 in a single game.

Even with his outstanding final stat-line, the scoreboard only read 6-3 at half-time. This is because Rodgers could’ve and should’ve added two, possibly three more touchdowns early in the game.

The Packers first drive of the game was stopped prematurely and resulted in a field goal when Randall Cobb failed to haul in a 3rd down catch in the back of the endzone for six. Bears defensive back Cre’von LeBlanc recovered just in time to strip Cobb of possession on a beautiful back shoulder pass from Rodgers that fell incomplete.

Notable on the drive was a short fourth down conversion, in which Rodgers and Jordy Nelson connected for nine yards. It would be the only catch in a disappointing game for the All-Pro wide-out.

Late in the first half, Rodgers and Cobb failed to connect again on a deep pass that LeBlanc had a hand in defending. Cobb was able to bring in the pass but unable to get a second foot down before being helped out of bounds by LeBlanc.

Both missed opportunities resulted in three points instead of seven.

The second possession of the game for Green Bay brought us the almost now guaranteed “What was Mike McCarthy thinking!?” play of the week.

After a quick pass to the flats to receiver Jeff Janis came up just short of the endzone on third down, McCarthy decided to go for a 4th down on the one yard line. Once again, his choice of play-call drew criticism from his detractors.

With no true running back in the game, the hand-off went to Ty Montgomery on a dive up the middle. He was tripped up at the line and unable to stretch the ball across the plain of the goal-line.

Many were left wondering why, if fullback Aaron Ripkowski was on the field, he was not given the ball. He has proved more than capable of pushing forward for a yard on any given play. Or, with Rodgers hitting quick patterns so efficiently the first two drives, why take it out of his hands?

It is fair to say most backs with NFL experience would’ve extended the ball earlier and crossed over for a score, but Montgomery showed throughout the rest of the game he was capable of making plays at the position. As McCarthy stated after, it was more of a formation/blocking issue, not a play-call issue.

Despite his failure to score on the play, it was clear throughout the game Montgomery needs to be a large part of the Packers offense moving forward. Next to the outstanding performance of Davante Adams, he proved to be the stand-out talent in the game.

Playing both out of the slot and out of the backfield, Montgomery gained 126 yards from the line of scrimmage, 60 rushing and 66 receiving, and provided play after play with glimpses of his massive potential.

For example, after the Bears opened up the second half with a strip sack of Rodgers by rookie Leonard Floyd, who also recovered the loose ball for a touchdown, Green Bay found themselves down 10-6 and looking for a spark.

Forced to start at their own 15 yard line, the Packers opened up the drive with a draw to Montgomery, he momentarily hesitated before bursting through a gaping whole in the middle of the defense for 30 yards. It revitalized the Lambeau crowd and seemed to give the offense a sense of belief moving forward and ultimately led off their first touchdown drive of the game.

Despite it being a small serving size, it was a great example of the instincts Montgomery still possess after playing the running back position in both high school and college at various times.

Rodgers, Montgomery, and the rest of the Packers offense didn’t look back.

After his fumble that resulted in the Bears only score, Rodgers completed 20 of 26 passes for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns. The first two of those touchdowns going to the games MVP, Davante Adams.

Adams first score came on a 3rd down fade route to the corner of the endzone on which Rodgers relied on him to go up and get, despite having Bears corner DeVante Bausby draped all over him.

Bausby struggled throughout the game in containing Adams and was called for three holding penalties while in man coverage.

Rodgers didn’t waste any time going back to Adams on the Packers next possession.

The duo would hook up four times on the drive for 50 yards, culminating in their second touchdown of the night.

This time, Adams was able to lose his defender on a crossing route after both Chicago corners followed Cobb to the flats, leaving him wide open for the easy score.

It wasn’t all Adams though.

Rodgers third and final touchdown toss of the night would go to the man who played decoy on the previous score, Randall Cobb. He only slightly found separation from his defender on an out-route to the front pylon, but Rodgers put it right on his hands and Cobb held on as he went to the ground.

Thanks to the great play of both Rodgers and his trio of young receivers, Green Bay become just the second team in NFL history to have three players with 10 or more catches in one game (Ty Montgomery-10, Randall Cobb-11, Davante Adams-13).

On the other side of the ball, it was on early on in the game that the Bears lost any ability or confidence they might have had in winning the game.

On a third down play early in the 2nd quarter, Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, who had previously had 4 straight games of 300+ yards, dropped back for a pass and was hit by both Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews. The pass fell incomplete and he hit the ground in obvious pain.

Offensive lineman Kyle Long, who eventually also left with an injury, attempted to lift Hoyer up before he collapsed back down to the ground. Matthews’ helmet had smashed into the quarterbacks arm and caused a fracture. Hoyer would exit the game having only completed 4 of 11 passes for 49 yards. Matt Barkley would replace him.

Barkley would lead the Bears only scoring drive of the game resulting in a Connor Barth field goal, mostly due to a 24 yard run by running back Ka’deem Carey, before failing to do much else.

The obviously under-prepared, rarely used quarterback only completed 6 of his 15 pass attempts for 81 yards with two late game interceptions by Packers’ linebackers Blake Martinez and Nick Perry. Combined, the two quarterbacks only managed 10 completions on 26 attempts for 130 yards.

Talented receiver Alshon Jeffery was hurt by the poor play under center and only caught three passes on 11 targets.

Green Bay corners LaDarius Gunter and  Demetri Goodson rebounded in a big way after their bad showing against Dallas, and for the most part didn’t allow any big plays. They should be rejoined by Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins come next Sunday against the great passing offense of Atlanta.

In the same way, no one should’ve negatively overreacted to Green Bay losing games to really good teams like Minnesota and Dallas, no one should cling to the idea that beating this bad Chicago team means the Packers are back on top of the world. This game was more about the Bears being a poor team than Green Bay being a good team.

However, the importance of being 4-2 opposed to 3-3 cannot be understated. This win was in fact a good win, no matter if you beat someones 1st, 2nd, or 3rd sting quarterback, any and every win in the NFL is a good win. Sometimes all you need is that confidence building victory to get the train rolling, but unfortunately for Green Bay their track leads straight for a head on collision with the most dangerous offense in football, the Atlanta Falcons.