Our weekly “Chips Report” will always include two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the Week 12 26-26 tie against the Minnesota Vikings…
- Quarterback Matt Flynn––It’s as if the Matt Flynn of 2011 never left. Substituted for an ineffective Scott Tolzien in the third quarter, the Packers offense looked rejuvenated with Flynn at the helm. Able to operate the team’s hurry-up offense, Flynn may not have made many outstanding plays, but he proved to be an outstanding leader who can put the team in position to be successful. His final statistics read 21 of 36 for 218 yards, along with a touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin and didn’t cost the team any turnovers.
- Running back Eddie Lacy––Minus Aaron Rodgers, the Packers need Lacy to be a workhorse back and he was every bit the part on Sunday afternoon. Lacy did his best imitation of Adrian Peterson, refusing to go down on first contact and spinning his way out of several tackles. He converted several first downs, including one on fourth down in the fourth quarter that helped set up a field goal to pull the Packers to within three points. Lacy went over the 100-yard mark, rushing for 110 yards on 25 carries and adding 48 more receiving yards on six receptions.
- Linebacker Clay Matthews––Matthews officially finished the game with three quarterback hits, the only player on the team to accumulate more than one. Of those three hits, Matthews got two quarterback sacks, but one his best moment of the evening might have been when he flushed Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder from the pocket in overtime, allowing defensive lineman Mike Daniels to finish off the play for a sack. Continuing to play with a fiberglass cast, Matthews finished with four tackles.
- Offensive guards––Most of the struggles the Packers offensive line came from the tackle position, but the guards were solid, pretty much as they’ve been all season long. Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang were a big part of the reason the Packers were able to grind out 196 yards rushing for an average of 5.8 yards per carry. They also allowed very little pressure up the interior of the line, allowing Flynn ample time to find receivers and set up several scoring opportunities.
- Safety M.D. Jennings––Many Packers defenders had poor games. A.J. Hawk looked bad on several plays, but at least made up for it with two tackles for a loss and sack. Davon House gave up several receptions but at least had the big pass deflection in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. With M.D. Jennings, however, he didn’t have a saving grace. He had an opportunity to tackle Rhett Ellison short of the end zone but fell off. Jennings also applied no pressure on a safety blitz on a play that ended in a 31-yard reception to Jerome Simpson deep down the right sideline in the second quarter.
- Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse––The Packers gave up only two sacks on the day, one of them to Brian Robison, who beat Newhouse around the edge for a sack on Scott Tolzien early in the game. Among Newhouse’s other big blunders was allowing Matt Flynn to be sacked in overtime on a play which defensive holding was called, nullifying the sack. This is the third consecutive game with a “cow chip” for Newhouse, leaving the Packers praying for Don Barclay or Derek Sherrod to get healthy enough to take over.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” and editor of Cheesehead TV’s “Pro Football Draft Preview.” To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.