Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fulfills personal milestone in Packers' shutout win

-- It took just four games for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to match his interception total from a year ago.

The Green Bay Packers' top safety stepped in the way of a Josh Allen pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, snagging rookie quarterback Josh Allen's second interception of the day. In the process of it all, he delivered a crushing hit to Benjamin that left him flattened on Lambeau Field's turf.

"I was just making a play on the ball," Clinton-Dix said after the Packers' shutout win. "We were in cover 2, they tried to pump fake it and I just kept my eyes on the ball. I was never really looking at KB at all. I really didn’t know I hit him that hard until I saw it after the game."

It was Clinton-Dix's third interception in three straight weeks, tying him for the league-lead in that category through the first quarter of the season.

The promising part is that he still has 12 more games to match or exceed his career-high of five, set in 2016. After the last three weeks, his arrow is undoubtedly trending for the latter.

"We just gotta keep getting better," Clinton-Dix said. His efforts coincided with the Packers' best defensive performance of the season, regardless of their inexperienced -- and evidently abhorrent -- opponent.

"A goose egg is something I’ve always wanted in the league. Came up short a couple times early in my career, but it was definitely great to go out with a shutout."

The only other times Clinton-Dix's defense came close to recording a shutout in his career was in 2014 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20-3) and 2015 against the Dallas Cowboys (28-7). He, among others, are hoping they can keep the momentum rolling into Detroit next Sunday for a meeting with the Lions.

"We’re playing indoors. There’s no rain, no mud. It's down the street, it’s a familiar opponent. We’ll just try to get them to play matchup ball and get off the field on third down."

The Packers forced the Bills to go 3-for-16 on third downs, taking advantage of their matchup with an inexperienced quarterback whose struggles -- aside from the week three dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings -- have been well-documented.

Matthew Stafford, however, is a different kind of beast. The Lions may be sitting at the bottom of the NFC North, but Stafford's splits against the Packers throughout his career have been impressive. He's thrown for more yards and touchdowns against the Packers' defenses through the years than he has against any other team.

This will be his first meeting with Mike Pettine as the Packers' defensive coordinator, who can certainly be credited with helping Clinton-Dix round out his game in his fifth season roughly 20 games worth of what many believe to be below average play.

Clinton-Dix's re-emergence is just one of the many encouraging developments happening in the Packers' defense. A shutout at home -- their first at Lambeau Field since 2009 and their first overall since 2010 -- is one way to keep the wheels churning into a divisional opponent's house.

"I think it’s big for us, it gives us the energy and excitement to go out and shoot for the stars again and goose egg Detroit. ... We look forward to building off this momentum moving forward."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (22)

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Packer Dave's picture

October 02, 2018 at 08:14 am

Happy to see Ha Ha off to a strong start. That hit was refreshing to see coming out of our backfield.

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Royalty Free GM's picture

October 02, 2018 at 09:02 am

That was great hit! Plays like that wakes up the whole team. BOOM!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 02, 2018 at 08:17 am

I've been down on Dix so I am happy to see him step up. I am however worried about the Packers giving him long term money. His effort level at times has been substandard.

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holmesmd's picture

October 02, 2018 at 09:40 am

I don’t think there is any evidence to support that statement. I believe in the coaches much more than in fan opinion. They see these guys day in and day out. If there was an effort issue, I’m pretty sure Ha would get the Randall treatment and be shown the door. I don’t think you can play for Bama and have “effort” issues. Last season the guy was undoubtedly frustrated because he had to cover for a bunch of stiffs in the secondary who are no longer on the roster. He’s certainly not perfect but he’s a very solid safety and I believe he will continue to get better. Anyone questioning his physicality should watch the clip of that pick. He absolutely annihilated KB. That was one of the best interceptions I’ve seen in a long time. Criticism and credit should equally and fairly. If Ha finishes the season with 7 interceptions, you can bet the Packers will keep him...as they should IMO.

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porupack's picture

October 02, 2018 at 10:37 am

Great reply

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Royalty Free GM's picture

October 02, 2018 at 10:43 am

“That was one of the best interceptions I’ve seen in a long time.”
I agree with you 100%

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 02, 2018 at 01:25 pm

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Oppy's picture

October 02, 2018 at 02:23 pm

Damarius Randall wasn't shown the door because of effort levels. In fact, once he got called out in the early season game vs. the Bears, Damarius was probably the Packers best performing DB in 2017.

Randall had locker room / sideline issues so severe that veteran players on the team had a private meeting about it and took it up with management, per Rob Demovsky:

"There was strong sentiment in the locker room at that time to give Randall the boot — sources said McCarthy’s committee of veteran players suggested that Randall be released."

Randall was apparently shown the door for personality conflict reasons

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CAG123's picture

October 02, 2018 at 02:54 pm

However there is evidence to support his lack of physicality towards ball carriers let’s not mistake that hit for him being physical he was making a play on the ball I haven’t seen physical play from him since 2015 when he was literally flying all over the field and meeting RBs head on. Now you see him chop his feet a lot to stall whoever has the ball so others can gang tackle however if he can keep generating those picks the physical part can be forgiven.

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mamasboy's picture

October 02, 2018 at 04:39 pm

You're right Jeremy, his effort level has been substandard. At times his attitude sux too. He didn't show up for otas, why? He didn't have any incentive to show up (money). If having a new D coach with a new system isn't incentive to show up, what the hell is? The first two picks he's had this year were practically handed to him. It's a contract year, so he showed some balls, for a change, and actually took a hit while making his third. I think he's all about Haha, and once he gets his big money, he'll decide when and if he's going to play hard. Sign him up to a big deal, and we'll rue the Goddamned day we did.

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CAG123's picture

October 02, 2018 at 05:07 pm

If him not showing up for OTAs is good enough for the teammates, coaches, and GMs who see him on the weekly basis it should be good enough for you let’s not make a big deal out of nothing. Also it shouldn’t matter how he gets his picks look at Kyle Fuller who drops easy picks ALL THE TIME as long as he’s reeling them in who cares how he gets them.

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Since'61's picture

October 02, 2018 at 09:39 am

Good to see Dix make a nice play. I’m hoping that he and rest of the defense continues to play with increasing confidence for the rest of the season. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Chuck Farley's picture

October 02, 2018 at 09:39 am

That's one good game in what three years. Im not getting the Champaign out.

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holmesmd's picture

October 02, 2018 at 09:42 am

Gotta start somewhere Chuck. Channel a bit more positivity and optimism. It can’t hurt, right?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 02, 2018 at 01:36 pm

"Gotta start somewhere Chuck. "

Some of us expect 1st round draft picks to start somewhere before their 5th/contract season.

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CAG123's picture

October 02, 2018 at 02:56 pm

Let’s not exaggerate he was good in 2015 and and pro bowler in 2016 he had a dismal 2017 season.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 03, 2018 at 01:50 am

Everybody except D. Adams and Aaron Jones had dismal 2017 season...

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Spock's picture

October 02, 2018 at 10:47 am

I haven't been a fan of Ha-Ha, but if Pettine gets him to keep playing like this I will be thrilled!

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Denise Chanterelle's picture

October 02, 2018 at 02:19 pm

Lot of Packer fans were down on HHCD including me to a certain degree. It was heartening to see him playing hard last Sunday and hope that becomes a trend. We really need HHCD. He has the talent to become a top-tier safety in the NFL. Go Pack! Thank you.

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mamasboy's picture

October 02, 2018 at 04:50 pm

Denise, if he had the talent to become a top tier safety in the NFL, he would have shown signs of being one within 5 years. HE HASN'T! And He's not. 2016 really doesn't count, seeing how we haven't seen THAT Clinton Dix since then.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 02, 2018 at 04:44 pm

It’s a bit early for the term “Re-emergence” to be applied to HHCD. But if it fits later in the season then I am all for it. I too have complained about the play of the safety position. Maybe this game is a start of something better and Pettine’s scheme. But let’s see how it goes against a team with a good QB and receivers?

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flackcatcher's picture

October 02, 2018 at 06:01 pm

HHCD endured a nightmare season last year. Having every starter and core backup wiped out after the vikings game, and playing with Hawkins and Evans would drive any starter nuts. At least he is playing with guys who know their stuff. Nice change for once.

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