Lazard's Touchdown: Running to Pass

Dusty takes a closer look at the Allen Lazard touchdown and the plays that help set it up

When I was writing up my Passing Chronicles article for this week, I ended up spending a little too much time with one play, so I thought I'd give it the attention it deserved in its own article. In case you couldn't tell from the title, that play is the 58 yard touchdown to Allen Lazard [13] that essentially iced the game.

That pushed the Packers lead from 7 points to 14 points. With only 7 minutes remaining and the Rams not having much luck picking up chunk plays, that was pretty much the nail in their coffin.

I wanted to take a bit to see how the Packers got there. We're going to take a look at 3 plays that ended up leading to this game-sealing play.

Play 1: 1st & 10, 8:34 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Packers leading 25-10

First things first, here's the pre-snap alignment from Green Bay.

Two tight ends to one side, with Lazard on a condensed split on that side. Davante Adams [17] is split out wide on the other side, and Aaron Jones [33] is the lone RB in the backfield. The Rams are showing a single-high look, with the deepest safety on Lazard's side aligned 7 yards off the line of scrimmage.

Marcedes Lewis [89] is the tight end on the end of the line. The offensive line's first step is on a run block, with Lewis engaging with the widest man on the line. Aaron Rodgers [12] sells the play action, which leads the safety to Lazard's side to take a step up.

Lazard has a great release off the line - jab step in before veering outside - and Rodgers lays it up over the top.

Unfortunately, Lazard is unable to come down with it. Shame.

Play 2: 1st & 10, 9:46 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers leading 25-18

Fast-forward to the 4th quarter. Let's check that alignment:

Two TE alignment, with Lazard in a condensed split, Adams on the opposite side and Jones as the lone RB. This should look familiar. And it should look familiar to the Rams: it's an inside zone run and the Packers had been running out of this quite a bit in the second half. 

At the snap, Lewis blocks the widest man, which triggers the safety. Lazard blocks down from his alignment, which brings the boundary defender down to replace the safety on the edge.

With things bottled up inside, Jones spins to the outside and is hit by the boundary defender. Nice hard running by Jones to pick up 6 yards.

Play 3: 2nd & 6, 7:00 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers leading 25-18

Four plays later, the Packers were looking at 2nd & 6. What alignment did they bring out?

Two TE alignment, with Lazard in a condensed split, Adams on the opposite side and Jones as the lone RB. The same thing we've seen from the other plays in this article, and, again, the same thing the Rams had been seeing a lot of from the Packers. 

The defensive alignment is roughly the same as it was on the Jones zone run, so the Packers know how the Rams are looking to defend this. At the snap, Lewis blocks the wide man, which triggers the safety. Lazard releases from his side looking like he's going to block, which triggers the boundary defender to replace the safety.

The boundary defender doesn't hesitate much. Just one step toward the line, but that's all it takes. After faking the block, Lazard turns upfield and splits the defenders looking for the run. Rodgers lays it up, and Lazard comes down with it for a 58 yard touchdown.

Beautiful set-up and execution.


Album listened to: EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

15 points

Comments (35)

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Bearmeat's picture

January 19, 2021 at 05:21 pm

This is gorgeous. Hope to see a crap ton more of the "illusion of complexity" again on Sunday!

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Leatherhead's picture

January 19, 2021 at 05:32 pm

It is rewarding to see Lazard, and MVS , and Tonyan make big plays in big games. A Day 3 pick and two UDFAs who the Packers have been patient with.

It would be nice if someone would explain how a big, not fast, guy continues to get wide open deep behind people. I thought you had to be a burner to do that.

Is there any hope that we won’t have to listen to an off-season of “we need to draft a WR “?

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 11:13 am

I like it! That’s a band camp joke, right? And you think I shouldn’t remind you of all the stupid and insulting things you said, right?

Fine. Just try real hard to stop doing it.

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PeteK's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:38 pm

Yes, usually winning teams find and create diamonds in the rough. No speed but very hard working and crafty, as you saw in the video.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 19, 2021 at 07:21 pm

Very little chance. CB Hill made a mistake that allowed Lazard to burn him. Not everyone is going to make a mistake. Scheme and execution are great, but teams need talent as well. Hill is a pretty good CB but he runs a 4.55, so he didn't have the recovery speed to offset his misstep.

Essentially, Lazard needs a mistake or to find a soft spot in a zone to catch deeper passes. MVS can just run by many CBs and almost all safeties. That's why so many of us are hoping MVS becomes a more complete WR. Talent does matter.

Great article, Dusty!

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Swisch's picture

January 19, 2021 at 08:39 pm

Respectfully, reynoldo (as I'm glad for your comments here), but everyone makes mistakes, especially if you set them up with crafty play calling.
Is Lazard really so slow, anyway?
In any case, what Lazard does have is height and hands and the ball skills to catch a pass when he is more tightly covered.
Also, it seems he can go deep for big catches, yet isn't counted on as our main deep threat.
The thing about our top three receivers is that they seem to complement each other so very well with their skills and attitudes, and now ESB is starting to contribute, as well.
When the chemistry of the receiving corps is greater than their competitiveness with each other, that seems a rare dynamic that should be cherished and kept as long as possible -- especially when our younger guys seem to really have promise for significant strides of improvement.
All of this doesn't mean we don't draft a wide receiver or two, but that we can prioritize other needs, especially in the early rounds (unless there's a receiver available early we just can't pass up).
I do agree that talent does matter, but there are a lot of things that go into the totality of talent.
I also agree that this was a great article by Dusty.
As is usually the case, I could be wrong about some of my thoughts -- and am glad for other observations and opinions.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 20, 2021 at 05:06 am

That's fair. In the video of the bomb that Lazard dropped or didn't catch at any rate, he beat Darious Williams, who is a one-year wonder but nevertheless was named as a 2nd team All-Pro.

I googled Williams, who is 5'9" and 183 pounds. Williams ran a 4.44 at his pro day (I mentally add .05 to pro day results, fairly or not), so perhaps Lazard is really faster than the 4.56 he ran at the combine. Lazard did have a pro day and improved his broad jump, but chose not to run another 40.

I think GB has higher priorities than WR for the 2021 draft. With 2 4ths, 2 5ths, and 2 6ths, drafting a WR on day three is a good possibility.

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Bure9620's picture

January 20, 2021 at 06:32 am

Play speed is just different than underwear track speed. Jordy Nelson ran in the 4.6s, but he was consistently getting behind defenses. In the 40, If you have even the slightest error out of the blocks is costs you time. I like how John Eric Sullivan stated "The 40 is just a tool we use to help verify or confirm play speed"

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 20, 2021 at 08:49 am

Not trying to nitpick you Bure, as I said previously I believe you to be an intelligent commenter.

Having said that, Jordy ran a 4.51 at the combine. He also ran a 10.63 in winning the Kansas high school 100 meters.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 11:48 am

Everybody makes mistakes, TGR. Even me. The key is taking advantage; I think that’s the talent part of the equation, but talent at WR involves a hell of a lot more than speed. Durability, discipline, focus, handling pressure, good cuts and fakes, and HANDS are all more important than running fast. Think Donald Driver, who was a bottom of the roster guy for years, then became a starter, then became our all time leading WR.

MVS, Lazard, and even EQ have shown they have some talent. MVS has shown durability but struggles with consistency in catching. Lazard, and EQ, have shown good stuff when they’re on the field. And all of them, plus Adams, will be back next season. After that, the Packer brass is going to have to make decisions . I suspect that is when we’ll make a move at WR, and for this offseason we’ll stand pat and look for some guys to develop on the practice squad.

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PatB's picture

January 20, 2021 at 01:37 pm

I agree with most of this except that you twice implied Lazard lacks talent. Both he and MVS are talented, in different ways. Almost everybody lacks something or other. Lazard lacks immediate acceleration and shiftiness, but has speed once he gets going, along with size, strength, leaping ability, hands, and attitude. In this case he took full advantage of Hill's hesitation, gaining and then keeping 5 yards of separation.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 03:38 pm

I think the have talent. I was jerking the chain of the people who’ve said otherwise. They know who they are.

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PatB's picture

January 20, 2021 at 04:26 pm

My post was a response to Thegreatreynoldo. I fully agree with your comments about the current WRs.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 21, 2021 at 01:28 am

I know you're yanking my chain. I am not hiding. Moreover, I am unpersuaded. Lazard, MVS are fine as #3 WRs, but neither is a #2. ESB is fine as a #5 WR. Not sure about Funchess, but he looks like #3 material to me, maybe low end #2 if I am feeling optimistic. He also feels redundant but should be good depth. Drafting for a #2 WR would be a luxury at this point.

You think you've been proven right. I don't. I am pulling for MVS to become more polished and to become a complete receiver. My mantra has always been that GB needs to be able to field three viable receiving options. They have that, and should have it again next year. It isn't the best 3 viable options the team has had, but it exceeds the minimum.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:24 am

Please, I respectfully request that you show no deference to these morons Swisch and Leatherhead. They are incapable of understanding your educated opinion.

Never say that a Swisch response is "fair". The guy is incapable of speaking in anything other than creepy "self-motivation" platitudes.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 20, 2021 at 03:17 pm

James Jones is a another great example of a guy who didn't have burner speed, but consistently moved the chains and even led the NFL in touchdowns one year. He and Lazard have really similar 40 yard dash and 3 cone times, only Lazard is 4 inches taller. I just don't think you should downplay Lazard, b/c his talent is not beating the secondary with speed. JJ's wasn't either.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 06:39 pm

Fred Biletnikoff couldn’t outrun a fat guy but he caught lots of passes. I like Lazard, and have ever since his debut in Detroit. He’s a good player for us.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 19, 2021 at 08:28 pm

Which one of them is returning punts and kickoffs--field position.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 11:49 am

Stop returning punts, or any kickoffs you don’t have to.

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JerseyAl's picture

January 19, 2021 at 05:36 pm

This is stuff MM just didn't do. Love this coach...

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Bearmeat's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:14 pm

Agreed. About the only thing MLF hasn't done is adjust against fast ILBs and when things have gone sideways in game. Hopefully, this week is the start of that...

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Coldworld's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:23 pm

2 of the truest posts in a row.

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PeteK's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:48 pm

This is the new wave of the West Coast Offense ,which will be attempted with the Jets.

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allenwillems@yahoo.com's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:42 pm

Very impressed. Love this stuff

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PeteK's picture

January 19, 2021 at 06:59 pm

Great job, I feel like I'm coaching again. Rushing the ball even at a 3-4 yd clip makes us unstoppable because it opens up our superior passing attack. Tampa also has that ability, but without the Qb savvy in the pocket and a fast TE.

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Dzehren's picture

January 19, 2021 at 08:15 pm

MLB Devin White might be a major obstacle. However, I feel GB can get behind him or tie him up with TE Dafney or Mercedes Lewis.

White looks good coming off the bus but unfortunately plays better as an All Pro. Need to game plan against this guy to advance to the SUPER BOWL

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Branden Burke's picture

January 19, 2021 at 09:50 pm

Anybody see that rashan Gary is the highest rated edge defender from PFF over the last three weeks? Has an elite grade of 91.5

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Dzehren's picture

January 19, 2021 at 09:53 pm

Hell yeah Gary!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

January 19, 2021 at 10:59 pm

Lazard and Lewis do a lot od the dirty work clearing out picks and blocks. I think Lewis' value to the Packers is underplayed because he rarely gets the ball thrown to him. Lazard at least has had aome big opportunities and delivered.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 20, 2021 at 06:46 pm

I agree. Over 90% of what they do is blocking or decoy routes. It doesn’t show up in the stats but it sure helps move the ball.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 19, 2021 at 11:13 pm

Beautiful set-up and execution of this article.

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Fabio's picture

January 20, 2021 at 05:41 am

As usual, a great Dusty article. I think the result of this game is due to the patterns of MLF and all the use of staf, but to make it work the runnig needs to be successful .... and against Rams it has been enormously successful. I also believe that the schemes and the game plan are all the more important when you don't have a great attacking talent. this is the reason why the game of running is decisive in our crime. If we have to move the chain with just passing play we don't have enough talent to hope for a receiver to open. If I think of Tampa with Evans, Godwin, Brown, Gronkowsky, Fournette (like pretending for the run) ... I get a headache. For this I believe that the secondary of GB will be decisive .... in particular on their TEs. But I love our team and I believe that all this does not count .... to be the strongest we must necessarily beat the strongest ..... this is the rule of sport and life. There is nothing more beautiful than being able to prove it to ourselves. This is why I really envy the players who have the opportunity to play this game. You can't be afraid, but you just have to be gassed and excited.
Go Green Bay Packers .... write the story

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fansince1959's picture

January 20, 2021 at 09:04 am

Confirms that a major key to this game is the ability to run the ball and controlling the line of scrimmage

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Stroh's picture

January 22, 2021 at 07:20 pm

The only thing you really need to know about Lazarus TD, is that it was set up by numerous successful running plays out of the exact same alignment. So when they lined up in that formation again, the safeties were already thinking run. They play action fake by Rodgers had a huge effect on the Safeties, who bit hard. Lazard feigned to block one of the Safeties to sell it. But instead of blocking like he had every other time, he instead cut upheld, leaving the Safeties in the dust. But it was all set up by numerous running plays from that formation.

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