Our weekly "Chips Report" always includes two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the 23-20 wildcard loss to the San Franciso 49ers...
- Cornerback Tramon Williams––Not much was going right for the Packers in the first quarter on Sunday's wildcard game against the 49ers. Their first three drives on offense totaled nine yards, negative-six yards and three yards. On defense, they Packers allowed two sustained drives and two field goals. Finally at the outset of the second quarter, Williams gave the Packers life, picking off a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Vernon Davis. It set up a Packers touchdown and gave the Packers the lead. Williams was on top of his game all game long, coming up with three broken up passes and barley allowing a pass to be completed in his direction.
- Wide receiver Jordy Nelson––It was Williams' interception that set up Nelson's touchdown and gave the Packers the lead, if only temporarily. His five-yard touchdown grab put the Packers up 7-6 and the momentum of the game changed. Nelson's touchdown was one of a team-leading seven grabs he would make on the afternoon for 62 yards. Nelson once again was Rodgers' security blanket, targeted several times for first times throughout the contest.
- Running back Eddie Lacy––The statistics weren't eye-popping, but on a day when sub-zero temperatures were a constant factor, Lacy ground out the tough yards for the Packers. He was the team's workhorse back, toting the football 21 times for 81 yards, an average of 3.9 yards per carry. He also grabbed two passes, and generally helped keep the chains moving for most of the game.
- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers––Had he been given more protection, Rodgers might have had a better game. He was sacked four times, but as it was, Rodgers was able to keep the Packers in the game anyway. The way he was able to escape a fourth-quarter pass rush and hit Randall Cobb for 25 yards was a magic act. And his touchdown pass to Nelson put the Packers up early. Rodgers' game-end stat line read: 17 of 26 for 177 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 97.8.
- Safety Morgan Burnett––Burnett had the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of him. With the 49ers down by four points and driving in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick heaved a pass to Davis down the seam. Burnett was in position to make the play and came up a step short of breaking it up if not picking off the pass. Instead, the play went for a touchdown and the 49ers took the lead. On the first drive of the game, Burnett also missed an open-field tackle on Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree, a play that would require Sam Shields to make the tackle and injure his knee in the process. Had Burnett made the tackle, the Packers wouldn't have lost their best cover cornerback.
- Left tackle David Bakhtiari––Bakhtiari wasn't the first tackle to struggle across from 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, but Smith just made Bakhtiari just look silly. Smith made four tackles, one for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits and generally harassed Rodgers all game long. Bakhtiari also got called for an illegal hands to the face penalty, in the second quarter that turned a second-and-4 into second-and-14 on a drive the Packers eventually had to settle for a field goal. Bakhtiari eventually ended up leaving the game being examined for a concussion.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email email@example.com.
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