Green Bay still has playoff hopes entering the Week 13 trip to Cleveland, cheers. The 26-20 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Bucs wasn’t a pretty game, but the Packers pulled it out in front of the Lambeau faithful. The Packer’s faithful happened to boo their offense on their game winning drive, but whatever, let’s focus on the talent.
Aaron Jones: The rookie returned from his MCL sprain to rush for the game winning touchdown on his only carry of the game. He looked healthy on his twenty yard dagger, finding no holes to take it vertically, the rookie bounced outside, made a hard cut up field, avoiding the arms of Tampa Bay’s defensive end, and dove into the endzone untouched. Nice little impact, huh.
Dean Lowry: Obviously, the big Northwestern Alum won NFC defensive player of the week for his performance against the Buccaneers. That should be good enough to win him youngin’ of the week, but luckily I don’t think this award pulls much weight. Lowry hasn’t been putting up huge statistical numbers this season, but it’s obvious he’s a very key part to the Packers defense. He returned the Jameis Winston fumble for a touchdown, adding four tackles, and one sack.
Kenny Clark: Clark also dominated Sunday, racking up six tackles, and two sacks. If Lowry and Clark can play to this level consistently, as they enter their third year in the league, the Packers defensive line could be a memorable one in 2018. Clark has shown some real heart the past two weeks, playing really well on an injured ankle.
Josh Jones: He stopped a rush for about a yard, playing near the line of scrimmage. Largely he spent most of the game in zone coverage, last line of defense style, so he wasn’t around the ball too much. Tampa however did reach the Packers secondary quite a few times behind the legs of Peyton Barber, and Jones looked indecisive on multiple runs. I do think he’ll up his game if the Packers can make their playoff dreams a little more realistic.
Josh Hawkins: Hawkins came so close to picking Jameis Winston off for his first career interception. He read the Winston miss throw well, got in the right position, but didn’t close his arms in time to catch the ball. I think it’s only a matter of time before he is able to bring one in, especially as the Packers cornerback position took a hit as they sent Kevin King to the IR.
Kevin King: King’s season is done, and I was pretty impressed with the rookie. He played a lot of the season with the hurt shoulder, but never shied away from recklessly launching his body into the the ball carrier. He had his ups and downs in coverage, but enough ups to make you excited. Allowing him to heal now, should give him the opportunity to get stronger throughout the offseason, and hopefully take a big leap heading into year two.
Brett Hundley: Hundley got his second win as a starter, against the second team he’s played who doesn’t have playoff hopes. Pulling out wins against the teams you should beat, is a positive for a back up quarterback, and something the Packers desperately need him to continue against the winless Browns.
He was picked off by the safety on a deep ball to Jordy Nelson. Hundley wants to throw the deep ball. If given the opportunity, he’s probably going to lean towards throwing it regardless of coverage.
Hundley only threw for 84 yards on 13/22 passing. But he ran for 66 yards, and led the Packers to two key scoring drives on his last two opportunities with the ball. He’s had five key, clutch drives since taking over as the QB, two against the Bears, one in Pittsburgh, and the two here.
Youngin’ of the Week:
Jamaal Williams: The fourth round pick had his breakout game as the Packers lead back. He has been one of the team’s biggest offensive threats the past month, but it finally all came together for the rookie. He ran for 113 yard and a touchdown on 21 carries, and caught two passes for ten yards. Williams has impressive power considering his prototypical running back build. The Packers took a 10-7 lead in the first half behind him barreling himself through a defender into the endzone.
He didn’t do anything to lose the back up job early in the season, Aaron Jones simply snatched it up. Jones now looks ready to return to a significant role in the offense, so Williams’ big performance couldn’t have been better timed. It’ll be very interesting to see how they split carries, but it’s hard to imagine either player will only receive one carry against Cleveland.