Revisiting 2019 - Week 17: Closing it Out in Detroit

Dusty breaks down some key plays in the Packers Week 17 victory over the Lions

We find ourselves at Week 17. My, how the season has flown by. But we still have 2 more games! Lucky us!

Today we're going to look at 4 plays from the Week 17 victory over Detroit. I don't have a very good intro today, so let's just get to it. You look nice today.

Play 1: 2nd & 5, 2:00 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Packers trailing 0-14

Over the past couple of years, I have spent the vast majority of my time writing about passing concepts. I've talked about how all the routes play together, and how that informs where the ball goes. I love that, but sometimes it's simpler. Sometimes it just comes down to trusting your guy to beat his guy.

The Lions are showing man-to-man with a single-high safety before the snap. Davante Adams [17] is wide on the right. And, while the safety is shading to that side, he's not directly over Adams. At the snap, Aaron Rodgers [12] looks at the safety to see where his first movement is. He is drifting back, so Rodgers just lofts the ball up to Adams, trusting that he'll beat his man. Darius Slay [23] is the man in question, and, while he is good, Adams gets a clean release and just outruns him down the field.

Rodgers lays it up perfectly over the top and the Packers pick up 33 yards.

Play 2: 3rd & 10, 3:16 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Packers trailing 3-17

Packers are down by 14 and the clock just keeps on ticking. The Packers picked-apart the Vikings the previous week by using a lot of follow-concept stuff, and that looks like what they're showing here on a big 3rd down. Jimmy Graham [80] is pushing upfield and running across the field, Allen Lazard [13] is running a shallow dig from the outside and Adams looks to be running a slant from the slot. 

The safety to that side sees the initial cut from Adams and breaks on the route, trying to break up the pass or make a tackle short of the sticks. When he does that, he leaves the field behind him completely open. Adams cuts on a corner route after his initial cut on the slant, and there's no one there.

It's a great concept, playing on something they showed a lot of the previous week and running counter to it. And, of course, it's a great route from Adams.

Play 3: 2nd & 17, 8:03 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers trailing 13-20

The Packers had steadily clawed their way back into the game, but they really needed to stop the Lions from scoring any more points. After a sack on 1st down, the LIons were facing 2nd & 17. David Blough [10] tried to get it all back in a single throw. He chose...poorly.

Blough is looking to hit Danny Amendola [80] on the deep crossing route. Amendola starts in the right slot and works his way to the opposite side of the field, crossing in front of Blake Martinez [50] on his way. The Packers are in a Tampa 2 look, with the two safeties dropping wide and Martinez dropping deep into the middle to fill the void they vacated. 

Blough sets and tries to get the ball over the top, but he underthrows Amendola badly, allowing Martinez to slide over and grab an interception.

Za'Darius Smith [55] does a good job at applying pressure, then keeping after Blough. That moves Blough off his spot and then causes him to throw from a less-than-ideal position.

It's also worth mentioning that, if Martinez doesn't get the interception, Darnell Savage [26] would have. It was not a good throw.

Play 4: 3rd & 10, 5:24 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers trailing 13-20

3rd and 10, down 7, less than 6 minutes on the clock. This was a big moment. 

The Lions come out showing a single high safety. The Packers have a bunch formation on the right, with two in-cutting routes and Allen Lazard [13] running a post from the outside. 

Rodgers starts his read by looking at the safety, who starts stepping down towards the line of scrimmage at the snap. Keep in mind that this is 3rd and 10, so he's looking to protect the sticks. That's noble, but it means the deep middle of the field is wide open.

Lazard runs a really nice route. He pushes hard at the outside shoudler of Slay. As soon as Slay flips his hips, Lazard cuts on the post. With no safety over the top, the only thing in front of him is green grass and glory.

Slay does a good job recovering, but he's still behind Lazard. Rodgers throws high and Lazard goes up and nabs it. Beautiful catch, and the Packers tie it up.

If you're interested in looking at other passing concepts the Packers used, I wrote about those here.

Albums listened to: The Violet Burning - The Violet Burning; Pedro the Lion - Winners Never Quit; Ancient Warfare - The Pale Horse; Richard Edwards - The Soft Ache And The Moon


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].

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Leatherhead's picture

June 03, 2020 at 12:26 pm

Was Adams first catch because of his speed and separation, or because he used his body? Same question on Lazard’s TD.

The Adams TD is two veterans playing catch. Not luck, not spectacular athleticism. Just veteran savvy and good coaching. It’s a huge part of why we were so good in the red zone, and will be again.

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