Last week, defensive end Romeo Okwara claimed the title of unsung hero of the week for causing chaos in the Dallas Cowboys’ backfield, even if his biggest on the day was wrongly erased. There wasn’t much help from the rest of the defense, as receivers (and running backs) were open seemingly all day and it was up to the defensive linemen to make quick work of one of the best offensive lines in the National Football League. This week? The complete opposite.
Unsung hero of the week: the Detroit Lions secondary
This week’s honors go to the entire secondary for their performance against Aaron Rodgers. Note that I didn’t say the Packers; the secondary had their good plays and their bad plays, and guys like Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling carved up the Lions defense on several plays. Aaron Rodgers, however, was very visibly off his game.
From the Green Bay Packers’ first offensive drive, there seemed to be one play in between every four to five in which the secondary would completely shut down every receiver. Rodgers would evade rushers and perform one of his infamous scrambles, but to no avail.
Twice in the first half, that exact scenario resulted in a strip sack and on several other plays it gave way to sacks that disrupted Green Bay drives. On a number of those sacks, the FOX broadcast showed shots of all the downfield receivers at least four to five seconds into the play: lo and behold, everyone was blanketed.
The pressure clearly threw off Aaron Rodgers and after getting blindsided on several occasions in the first half, he seemed hesitant to leave the pocket for the remainder of the game. To add to that, for a guy who isn’t afraid to attack the Lions defense with his feet, Rodgers was limited to only three rushes for 10 yards.
The defense had their ups and downs and really began to get carved up late in the game, but their occasional shutdown performance made all the difference in a game that was essentially a must-win only five weeks into the season. Props to the secondary; here’s to hoping we see more of that in the future.