Game-Changing Play of the Week: Packers Pull Away Before Halftime

The bomb to MVS created some scoreboard separation that the Vikings were never able to overcome.

Game-Changing Play of the Week is back! For those who may be new to this, each Monday (or Tuesday... or Friday...) I'll select one play from the previous day's game that I feel influenced the outcome of the game the most. Most often this is a turnover, a score or a crucial stop. It's all about timing and impact on the rest of the game's action.

There were two possibilities for yesterday's thrashing of the Vikings that I was considering: the Jaire Alexander interception just before halftime, or the Aaron Rodgers touchdown bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling that followed almost immediately thereafter. I decided on the latter.

The play

MVS had one of his typical up-and-down days yesterday, but you have to be intrigued by the possibiltiies. He frequently burned defenders and found ways to get open. If he can become more consistent, he can be a fantastic weapon for this offense. This is really his make-or-break year, as we saw the same in year two, but all the potential is clearly there.

He showed off all the tools he has in his arsenal on this play. He got behind his man right off the line of scrimmage, and showcased his ability to turn around and make a slightly difficult adjustment catch in coverage at the endzone on an underthrown ball. 

Rodgers barely hesitates to throw it in MVS's direction. In fact, right before he snaps the ball you can see him look in MVS's direction and notice he's got him in single coverage on the outside. Rodgers knows MVS can outrun almost any DB in the league. He also sees he's got 20 seconds left on the game clock in the half, so he's got maybe one shot play in him before he would otherwise have to settle for an out route and field goal attempt. 

So when the snap comes, he goes straight down to the single coverage look, throws up a rainbow and drops it right into MVS's breadbasket at the goal line. 

A great example of situational awareness by Rodgers, and MVS rewards his trust beautifully.

It was also great to see Rodgers go up to MVS on the sideline and give him a hug and hype him up a bit afterward. Even though MVS had a couple bad drops after this, Rodgers stuck with him and connected with him for a few more completions on the day. That's the mark of a great leader.

The impact

While the Jaire interception that preceded this play gave the Packers an opportunity to double up right before the half, it was looking more like it would be a field goal try than a touchdown. 

By scoring a touchdown, the Packers created some separation in the score that the Vikings were just never able to overcome--the entire rest of the came the Packers were two or three scores ahead. Despite the Packers allowing a lot of poitns in the second half (a concerning performance for the defense, even if some was garbage time), the Vikings never really threatened to overtake the Packers again. All tension that existed in the game for most of the first two quarters evaporated.

To Matt LaFleur's credit, he never let off the gas on offense. The Packers put up 41 points through offensive production. I was extremely impressed with LaFleur yesterday; there were a couple questionable play calls within the five yard line, but you can't ask for a much better offensive performance in a week one game on the road against a divisional rival. LaFleur had an excellent playcalling rhythm, was aggressive all game long and got a ton of the Packers' offensive pieces involved.

Looking forward to seeing what else this offense can accomplish throughout the rest of the year.

__________________________

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 (10)

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 14, 2020 at 04:16 pm

A number of big plays in game and this pass/reception is one. MVS is going to be a very good WR. All you have to do is watch him. Okay this is random but just wonder if he has had an eye exam recently? I recall some good receivers over years (Jerry Rice) who once they did their play improved.

I think my biggest satisfaction from game yesterday is ML did not get conservative towards the end and play not to lose. How many times did we see MM screw up games at the end with that coaching philosophy?

BTW, stop the 'prevent BS defense! Maddening!

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Stroh's picture

September 14, 2020 at 06:44 pm

The pass wasn't really underthrown. MVS is supposed to keep a cushion between himself and the sideline so Rodgers can drop it to his outside shoulder. He got to close to the sideline so he had to reach back inside. A better route and MVS would have been inside the pass to catch over his outside shoulder.

He made a decent play to catch it but the route wasn't vert good honestly. At least it worked, but another small example of how MVS needs to improve his route running.

A perfect example is Adams deep ball he kept his route indide more and Rodgers put it over his outside shoulder and Adams then was able to eat the sideline cushion and make the catch.

MVS is definitely a work in progress.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2020 at 06:47 pm

Aside from the two plays mentioned, a third possibile turning point was the coin flip. The Packers dominated that game from start to finish, even if the annoying habit of letting opponents make the result look more respectible than it actually was resurfaced.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2020 at 08:59 pm

While not a game-changer, watching Josiah Deguara take out two Vikes with one block on Lazard's run was fun.

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Stroh's picture

September 14, 2020 at 11:15 pm

Almost as much fun as when Alexander took out Theilen and knocked Diggs down and then ultimately tackling Diggs for a loss!

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Buckywunder's picture

September 14, 2020 at 10:25 pm

I’d argue the safety by Alexander was more important than both.

Put points on the board AND stole a possession...

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Stroh's picture

September 15, 2020 at 12:49 am

Or the INT by Alexander, since it set up the MVS TD with time running out in the half. The Safety thou actually led to 9 pts. Then his INT led to 7 pts. Not often a CB is directly responsible for 16 pts in a game!

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dobber's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:01 am

Didn't see your post until after mine...but, obviously agree.

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Johnlewis's picture

September 15, 2020 at 06:21 am

John Lewis has extensive knowledge in designing and administering communication and professional writing programs from universities globally, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. Her teaching and research expertise targets cognitive-communication, science writing, popular perceptions of technology, and discourse analysis. In addition, he has industry experience in communicating and guides business clients on terminology matters.360assignments

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dobber's picture

September 15, 2020 at 09:00 am

I would argue the game-changing play was the Alexander safety.

The Packers had kicked a FG, then MN got their TD. Next drive the Packers get stopped at the 1 yard line for no points. If MN takes that momentum and scores, everything changes. I think that safety--getting 2 AND the ball back (and a FG) gave the Packers the lead and was a quick-kick to the groin for the Vikes. That was game-changing.

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