The Green Bay Packers defense, led by Dom Capers, has played exceptionally well so far this season. Coming off a season where they were one of the NFL worst, the defense has rebounded to become a dominant force.
So far this season, the Packers rank ninth in the league in points allowed, and are in the middle of the pack in yards allowed per game. They have been able to create a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and are tied for seventh in the league with 17 sacks. Along with the pressure, they have allowed only 78.2 yards a game on the ground, which is good for third in the league. It is obvious the defense has played much better and is starting to come together as a full unit.
The defense stepped up this past week against the Baltimore Ravens on the road and sacked Joe Flacco six times while also holding Ray Rice to only 34 yards on the ground.
However, as well as the defense played, one play stood out for me late in the game which almost came back to bite the Packers.
Leading 19-10 late in the fourth quarter, the defense backed the Ravens into a corner as they faced a fourth-and-21. This was an opportunity for the Packers to make a stop and put the game away. Unfortunately, the Packers went to a prevent style of defense and rushed only three lineman. Flacco sat in the pocket and hit receiver Tandon Doss for a gain of 63 yards.
On the following play, Flacco hit Dallas Clark in the end zone for a touchdown and just like that, it was a 19-17 game with two minutes remaining and the Ravens sitting with three timeouts at their disposal.
Luckily for the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was able to hit tight end Jermichael Finley on the next drive during a third-and-three for a gain of 52-yards that pretty much sealed the game for the Packers.
This win for the Packers was certainly a battle on both sides of the ball. A win is a win and Packers fans will take it no matter how it happens. I just hope the Packers will learn from that play late and see that the prevent defense really only prevents you from winning. I pray that the Packers don’t let any big fourth-down plays happen again, because I cannot deal with another heartbreak like the infamous fourth-and-26 in the 2004 playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles!
Expect Capers to learn from these plays and start to get more aggressive in situations where the opposing offense has a long down and distance.