Clay Matthews Key to Packers' Defense

By Evan Ream
Benny Sieu – US Presswire

For each of the last 3 years Charles Woodson has been the best defensive player on the Green Bay Packers but Clay Matthews grabbed the metaphorical torch from him Thursday with a performance for the ages.

Matthews had 3.5 sacks to bring his league-leading total to 6 in just two games. He had just 6 sacks all of last season.

Matthews was instrumental in providing the pressure that forced Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler into making bad decisions, and ultimately throwing 4 interceptions.

Through two games the Packers’ offense has been less than spectacular. Last year when they didn’t have “it” on offense they were forced to rely on a suspect defense that had no pass rush whatsoever.

Though it is still early, this year looks to be different. As a team the Packers have already accounted for 11 sacks and rank first in the league with 5.5 sacks per game.

In the playoffs last year the New York Giants kept the ball for long periods of time, converting third down after third down in one of the more dominating performances of the postseason.

Part of the problem was the Packers’ lack of a pass rush. With Clay Matthews playing up to his potential and B.J. Raji and Eric Walden playing well too, the Packers look to have solved their defensive problems from last year even if rookie first round draft pick Nick Perry doesn’t pan out this year.

Now if that offense could just get going…

Follow Evan on twitter @EvanReam

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