After tearing his ACL back in December, Detroit Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs saw his first significant defensive action against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and it was a big performance from the second-year defender. Though Jacobs was only credited with three tackles (one for loss) and a pass breakup, his physical coverage made life hard for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers all day.
So hard that as the teams headed for the tunnel at halftime, Jacobs went up to Rodgers and told him to stop targeting him... or else.
“I just told him to stop trying me,” Jacobs said after the Lions’ 15-9 win over the Packers. “I’m like, ‘Dang, bro, you gonna stop trying me? He was just laughing and like, ‘Well, you’re doing good.’ He’s like, ‘Keep going.’ I was like ‘Aight.’”
Jacobs did keep going. On a third-and-3 late in the fourth quarter, Jacobs had tight coverage on Sammy Watkins, forcing an incomplete pass and a Packers field goal, holding the Lions’ lead to six at the time with just over six minutes left.
Jacobs’ performance was just one in what appeared to be a rejuvenated secondary. The Lions entered the game last in the NFL in pass breakups (18) and 31st in interceptions (2). In this game alone they tallied nine pass breakups and three interceptions—two by rookie safety Kerby Joseph.
“Kerby was balling out,” Aidan Hutchinson said. “Kerby’s a turnover machine so we love it.”
Ironically, the Lions got this breakout performance just six days after coach Dan Campbell made the tough choice to fire defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, a well-liked coach who had helped players like Jacobs, Joseph and former first-round pick Jeff Okudah develop in their young careers
“It’s hard anytime you lose a great coach,” Okudah said. “I think today speaks to the resilience of the guys in this locker room. After everything that happened, we put our heads (down), locked in on the tunnel vision, and got a win.”
Overall, Rodgers completed just 23-of-43 passes for 291 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a passer rating of 53.5—his lowest rating since Week 1 of the 2021. season.
The defensive performance was so much improved that Campbell opted to give the game ball to defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, who had an increased presence in the secondary room this week.
“That was a hell of a job, man,” Campbell said. “(He) coaches his heart out, and he put everything into it as he always does, and the players responded.”
And while Jacobs was stunting on Rodgers, he did want one more thing from him.
“I asked for his jersey, too, though.”
Unfortunately, Jacobs forgot to follow up with Rodgers after the game. I’m sure he’s fine coming home with the W, instead.