Game Changing Play of the Week: Bashaud Breeland Pick-Six Launches Packers to Lopsided Victory

Bashaud Breeland's pick-six gave the Packers the momentum that carried them to a blowout win over Atlanta.

It may have just been one Sunday, but boy was it ever nice to see the Packers come away with a victory. Very few games this year have been enjoyable to watch—even the wins have left a lot to be desired—but this was a game where for just three-plus hours, you could mostly feel pretty good about what you saw on the field.

The season could very well end for the Packers in Chicago next week. But for one more week at least, some very, very slim amount of hope for the season is still alive.

This week I’ve chosen Bashaud Breeland’s pick-six as the game changing play of the week. As our own Zachary Jacobson so eloquently put it on Twitter today as I was finishing up my screen caps for this article:

It was a big play for sure, one that really pushed the momentum of the game in the Packers’ direction and helped Breeland’s case that the Packers should really consider bringing him back next year.

Let’s take a look.

 

 

The context

With a 10-7 lead halfway through the second quarter, this was anything but the blowout the game eventually turned into. After the Packers and Falcons traded touchdowns early in the first quarter and Julio Jones got off to a fast start, it looked like the game was set to be yet another track meet in this series in which the Packers would not be able to keep up.

However, both teams went on a scoring drought until the Packers were able to get a Mason Crosby field goal to put them up by three.

Then, a play that was almost as big as this one—a fumbled kickoff return by the Falcons put them on their own eight yard line to start the drive and put a lot of pressure on the offense to move the ball.

The play

The Falcons line up in a shotgun formation with three receivers split out to the left and a tight end (#81 Austin Hooper) lined up wide to the right. In most “move the chains” situations you’re probably expecting the Falcons to try to get the ball to Julio Jones or one of their other more prominent playmakers. The ball ends up going to Hooper, but whether that’s by design or not is debatable. 

Hooper runs an eight to ten yard out route here, and gets into a zone covered by both Eddie Pleasant and Breeland. On the opposite side of the field, the Packers rush Clay Matthews and blitz Tony Brown and Josh Jackson. This results in a lot of pressure suddenly being thrown at the left side of the Falcons’ line.

With this perfectly called blitz, the Packers succeed in forcing Matt Ryan to get the ball out more quickly than he would like and to take his eyes off the guys who would, in most cases, be his preferred receivers to the left… where as you can see, he’s got a man wide open in what would likely be a completion that would be very close to a first down.

The timing of the blitz forcing Ryan to look down to the right gives Breeland the opportunity to read the play. To his credit, Breeland also stays within a very good range of Hooper that allows him to jump the route once he sees the pass is coming his direction.

Route jumped, and a solid catch. Nobody in front of him to stop him.

Great shot from the endzone to show Breeland getting in position to pick off the pass.

 

Great instinctive play by Breeland set up by an excellent blitz scheme called in the perfect situation by Mike Pettine. This is the kind of play that’s been absent for much of the year, and after this play, the game was never the same—the Packers never gave back the momentum with the exception of some garbage time points scored by the Falcons, and they got a much needed big win at home after what’s been a really rough month-plus.

Will it be just a one-week spark? It’s very likely. But at least we finally saw a damn win.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (15)

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 10, 2018 at 06:29 pm

Already better than Kevin String Bean King Queen

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 10, 2018 at 06:43 pm

So is this a galvanizing moment? Not totally. But it was part of a turnaround. The team played and executed better coming after a head coach firing. The defense put the Packers up by 10 with this pick six. But more importantly the defense kept the Falcons scoreless until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. There were very few penalties until the fourth quarter. And the offense scored on it's first two possessions of the second half. All of those are galvanizing moments to give an the Pack an much needed victory. And let's hope the Pack can put another good game together. For the Bears are a better team.

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Rick1's picture

December 10, 2018 at 07:34 pm

Pettines defense is pressure and aggressive technique to challenge a offense. 2 hand bump and run that redirects receivers and screws up timing, and creates opportunities to get turnovers. The next head coach better think long and hard about Pettine. You give him 4-5 impact players this defense is a top 10 defense every year. His scheme is fun to watch and he gets great math ups for ALL defenders. If they get 2 more front 7 impact players and a safety this will be a championship caliber defense.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 10, 2018 at 09:25 pm

This game clinched that for me. Game like that doesn't happen with Capers. Need a major influx of talent though.

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Jamie Freier's picture

December 10, 2018 at 08:08 pm

Hope they can bring him back he’s solid

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dobber's picture

December 10, 2018 at 10:16 pm

Vikes beaten by Seahawks in the "hope the Link gets hit by a meteorite" Bowl. Vikes now 6-6-1...have to imagine Zimmer's seat is gettin' a little toasty.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:07 pm

What??? With that all-world defense and gazillion dollar QB??

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:55 pm

A lot of people are saying Mike McCarthy is at the top of the list if Zimmer gets canned. Apparently Rick Spielman has a list of coaches who might be available, and keeps it somewhere safe. Some suggest it's written on an envelope. Others argue it's written on a napkin. Either way, McCarthy could be headed to Winter Park.

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ScaryGary's picture

December 11, 2018 at 12:56 am

great play, yes. play of the week, maybe. lets hold off on any extensions except kenny clark right now. i would include jaire but that rookie contract is to good. we will find out what this team is made of next sunday at noon. i don't think we are gonna make the playoffs when we win out but i do believe in the talent if we make it.

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Lphill's picture

December 11, 2018 at 05:37 am

Breland may be to pricey for the Packers I believe he turned down a large offer last year .But I would love to keep him maybe he will figure his chances of winning with Rodgers is worth accepting a reasonable offer .

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PAPackerbacker's picture

December 11, 2018 at 06:12 am

Breeland is a keeper if he doesn't command to much money. If they do sign him, hopefully he can escape injuries during his tenure with the Packers. Signing him I guess would all depend on how many unproductive big salaried players the Packers keep or release. A big test next week against the Bears. Could be a long day for AR if he drops back to deep to pass.

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leaerin4's picture

December 11, 2018 at 08:38 am

We need to utilize a hurry up offense like we did at home to beat the Bears. There defense is going to be dominant for years to come and Rodgers knows what to do to beat them. The ball must come out and we can't hold on to it or Rodgers will get hurt

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PatrickGB's picture

December 11, 2018 at 10:11 am

Yes, imagine that! “A West Coast Offense”. Hey that’s something that just might work. Oh wait, we supposedly do run that offense here ;-)

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The TKstinator's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Exposedly so.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 11, 2018 at 09:49 pm

Good one their, TK.

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