Game-Changing Plays of the Week: Randall Cobb the Go-To Target on Key Third Downs

Randall Cobb turned back the clock for a game-changing performance.

A win is a win--you'll always take 'em in the NFL.

There were times where the Packers looked quite impressive in Sunday's relatively easy defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers. There were other times where there were some significant causes for concern. 

I don't know that we ultimately learned a lot about this team and its capabilities, and the injuries coming out of the game (especially that to Jaire Alexander) are concerning. But the Packers are 3-1.

A variety of factors led to victory in this game:

  • The utter incompetence of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who should have retired this offseason to spare himself the embarrassment.
  • A solid one-two punch from Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon that helped power the Packers' offense.
  • Excellent protection yet again from an inexperienced offensive line against a tough front seven
  • Adequate to solid play from the defense after its opening drive

But to me, the game-changing factor wasn't a single play this week, but rather a series of plays, as time after time Aaron Rodgers found his old friend Randall Cobb on crucial third downs to move the chains or get into the endzone.

Every Randall Cobb catch yesterday was either a third-down conversion or a touchdown. Cobb scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time since 2015.

The 25-yarder was the one that stood out the most. Just an incredible throw by Rodgers, shades of the pass to Greg Jennings in the Super Bowl that sealed the game.

On a day where the Rodgers-Davante Adams connection was not as potent as usual and the Packers were missing their deep threat in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Cobb stepped up big time in turning the clock back. It was also a big win for Rodgers, who lobbied hard for the Packers to trade for Cobb this offseason when even Brian Gutekunst admitted it's not a move he otherwise would have made.

Great to see Cobb has something left to offer this team in an all-in season. Here's to more of these moments to come, hopefully.

We're on to Cincinnati!

__________________________

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.

6 points

Comments (28)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PatrickGB's picture

October 04, 2021 at 04:14 pm

I have often thought that this team needed a good slot WR. Now we have one. ..again. 😉 Blast from the past!

5 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

October 04, 2021 at 04:18 pm

Tim - is Cobb that much better at getting open than the next receiver (e.g. Lazzard) or is it just the #12 trusts him more? For example, Cobb doesn't particularly open on the second touchdown to me, certainly no more so than others have done. Some of the passes in the clip it looks like he finds the zone and sinks well. But how much of this is Cobb being better than the others, and how much of it i #12 looking for him and NOT others?

1 points
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Thegravedigger's picture

October 04, 2021 at 05:35 pm

rodgers trusts cobb more. but cobb is also more trustworthy. you think lazard makes that grab in the corner of the endzone? or the third down catch with the corner hanging all over him? hes not been a great contested ball catcher, not since he got hurt against the saints. rodgers hits him when hes open. he had drops in the nfc championship game. cobb is trustworthy, so rodgers goes to him.

7 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 04, 2021 at 05:52 pm

A healthy Cobb is much more sudden and elusive than Lazard. He’s also not tasked with the same route tree or duties, so it’s hard to compare. The problem with Cobb since he fell on the live mic has not been that he can’t play when healthy but that he hasn’t been able to stay healthy consistently.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:23 am

Simple answer Mark. Cobb is the better player. He gets open more effectively and he has better hands. Age will eventually catch up with Cobb and Lazard will be the better receiver at that time but that time has not yet arrived.
Thanks, Since '61

2 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 04, 2021 at 04:51 pm

Looked good, with plenty of speed still too bad he is running the wrong routes.

-5 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

October 04, 2021 at 10:43 pm

????

1 points
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Guam's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:01 am

I think ImaPayne is referring to the route Cobb ran that put him directly in line with Adams and Cobb "broke up the pass" to Adams when he jumped and tried to make the catch with one hand rather than let the ball go over his head to Adams. Pretty clear Cobb ran the wrong route as you never have two receivers in the same area to avoid that kind of problem.

I'm perfectly okay with Cobb's day including two TD's and the inadvertent pass break up, but ImaPayne apparently thought it was worth mentioning.

2 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 04, 2021 at 04:53 pm

St Bernard or what ever his name is had his moment on glory again and flubbed the ball. and they cant get rid of this jerk.
He sucked at ND. I saw him pulled from games for dropping easy passes and yet we keep this guy around, pathetic

-5 points
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Thegravedigger's picture

October 04, 2021 at 05:37 pm

haha. st bernard. i was nervous for YA DUM the other day, another one of your famous nicknames.

1 points
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Bearmeat's picture

October 04, 2021 at 07:00 pm

I love what Cobb did for the Packers. I did not like the trade and his cap figure for the 5-6th option in the passing offense. I still don’t like it.

Yes I’m sure this won’t be popular but I do think it was a trade that was only made to satisfy the diva. Not a smart move tbh

-4 points
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CoachDino's picture

October 04, 2021 at 08:05 pm

Agree other than "smart move" as though the incremental gain is negligible so is the cost. So such a low cost move that can satisfy the diva might be a smart cost vs benefit decision.

Unfortunate and personally saddened that it needs to be done but part of the realities of today's game. Why cut off your nose to spite your face - took me some long years to learn that one, just being right, isnt always best.

3 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 05, 2021 at 10:11 am

Who cares what you think? I sure don't. Sorry . . . but it's history. It doesn't matter what any of us think.

0 points
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Starrbrite's picture

October 04, 2021 at 10:01 pm

Lazard appears to me to be one of the better blocking receivers in the NFL; reminds me of Ed McCaffrey. I’m not sold YET, that he’s much more than a slightly above average receiver however.

I big-time applauded our move to obtain Zadarius Smith because he was always game ready; never hurt…I must have jinxed him.

2 points
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Packers1985's picture

October 04, 2021 at 11:19 pm

This year has to be the worst injury hit season after that arod's collarbone season. We lost our 2 best linemen for atleast 3-6 weeks and then best pass rusher possibly a season ender and now Jaire the All pro shut down corner..

It's time now the whole team has to step up it's game no room for mistakes.

4 points
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Lphill's picture

October 04, 2021 at 11:11 pm

Rodgers throws to Adams too much , Rodgers throws to Cobb too much now , some people are just never happy it seems .

4 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 05, 2021 at 07:29 am

Revisit this comment when it includes 'Rodgers hands off to Dillon too much"

Then you can truly say some people are never happy.

Was it chiseled within the 11-15 commandments that Moses dropped that a team MUST NOT EVER run the ball more times than it passes in a game? Why the fixation on an even split but ALWAYS going over on the pass attempts and NEVER (even when clearly overpowering your opponent) just running the damn ball.

3 points
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Qoojo's picture

October 05, 2021 at 07:11 pm

I think we're pretty safe from hearing about Rodgers handing the ball off too much.

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 05, 2021 at 10:13 am

Thank you! All the Judgey Judgersons here that have never played a down at QB in the NFL are judging a Hall of Fame talent weekly for each moment of non-perfection. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:06 pm

Like (i) said, trade the Fans.

-1 points
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Since'61's picture

October 05, 2021 at 10:09 am

I always liked Cobb during his first tenure with the Packers. He is a football player. He can block, carry the ball and be an effective slot receiver. Now that he's back he will just be a slot receiver but he still knows the game well and has a knack for getting open on 3rd downs and he still has good hands. As a receiver he is more reliable than Lazard or MVS. Plus he is a mentor for Amari Rodgers and someone who sees the game as Rodgers does from the sidelines.

Cobb is a solid situational player. Used properly, as he was against the Steelers, he will be a valuable asset to the offense. Rodgers and Cobb may prove Gute to be the chooch in this situation. In the meantime, Cobb off of play action to A. Jones will prove to be deadly for DCs to deal with. GPG! Thanks, Since '61

3 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 05, 2021 at 10:15 am

Really you can't underestimate the smarts of Adams (who sees the field like a QB) and Cobb (who WAS a QB) in understanding the game, opposing defenses and what Rodgers wants to do with the ball. The Steelers game was evidence of that.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

October 05, 2021 at 11:14 am

Excellent point WestCoastPackerBacker! Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:07 pm

And Cobb will handle punts during the playoffs.

-1 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 06, 2021 at 07:15 am

Not to be a wet blanket, but Cobb will most probably be on IR by the playoffs...

-1 points
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PatrickGB's picture

October 05, 2021 at 11:39 am

Another tool in the toolbox. As defenses adjust to our offense it’s good to have variety and flexibility.

1 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

October 05, 2021 at 03:10 pm

Cobb is still a baller that knows how to play the game. Someone already mentioned, that he sees the field the same way Adams and Rodgers do. That is a huge asset for the offense. He already proved his worth Sunday, but I imagine sometime this year, Cobb will come up with a play that turns a potential loss in to a win. Gotta say, my favorite play from the game was Cobb catching the crosser about 10 yards downfield and steamrolling to the end zone. No dancing around, or running for the pylon, just running at the defenders with the intent of trucking them, or taking them for a ride. Oh, and by the way, I don't make $87 an hour working from home.

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 06, 2021 at 07:16 am

I cannot wait for the game-winning play that Cobb delivers to be against the Shycago bares!!!

Oh how I will love the memes that come from that delicious piece of irony.

0 points
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