Sunday was a sense of deja vu for the Green Bay Packers. Once again, the Packers needed quarterback Brett Hundley to lead a late fourth quarter drive to send their game against the Cleveland Browns into overtime. Once again, the Packers defense made a crucial stop to give the ball back to the offense. And again, Hundley and the Packers were able to escape Sunday with a victory. Not only do the Packers keep their playoff hopes alive, but it opens the possibility to an Aaron Rodgers return next week.
Hundley weathers the storm
Eight weeks ago, Brett Hundley was faced with the difficult task of replacing Aaron Rodgers. At times, Hundley looked as calm, cool, and collected as Rodgers under center. There were some throws that made one think he has some potential. However, there were several instances where Hundley made throws that one just cannot make if he wishes to be a successful starter in the NFL. But in the end, Hundley got the Packers to seven wins on the year and kept them in playoff contention for when Rodgers returns. If this is indeed Hundley’s last game under center, at the very least he kept the Packers playoff hopes from sinking.
Defense still has some work to do
As the Browns defense hoped to rattle Hundley, the Packers defense hoped to do the same to Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer has had a rocky rookie year, often committing too many turnovers. Sunday was perhaps Kizer’s best game as a pro, even in defeat. He finished 20-28 for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He had no issue finding the open man, and the Packers couldn’t get any pressure on the rookie. The next three weeks, the Packers face Cam Newton, Case Keenum, and Matt Stafford. If they play anywhere near the lackluster performance they gave today in Cleveland, Aaron Rodgers is going to have to shake the rust off real fast.
The “Claymaker” returns
While the Packers pass rush was limited, it was Clay Matthews who delivered the biggest play of the game. Facing a third and two in overtime, Kizer rolled to his right, then back to his left. It was a horrid decision from the beginning. As Kizer got ready to throw to the middle of the field, Matthews got a piece of his right arm, causing Kizer to heave the ball twenty feet in the air. That allowed Packers safety Josh Jones to make a play on the ball, leaping to grab the game-changing interception. The past two weeks, Matthews has a total of four and a half sacks, giving the Packers at least some sort of pass rush. It might have been against two lesser teams, but the “Claymaker” made his presence known.
Before their next game against the Carolina Panthers, the Packers must wait on a CT scan to determine if Aaron Rodgers returns. If that scan shows what the Green Bay hopeful wants, sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.