All week, there were questions about how this defense would respond without number one playmaker, Clay Matthews. Would anyone be able to step up and fill the (enormous) void? Would Nick Perry and Mike Neal show up and be a consistent force? Would the injuries to linebackers start to take a toll on an already depleted defensive depth chart? It was all anyone could talk about in Packers Nation, and I guarantee the Ravens were talking about it, too.
Fact of the matter is, I saw Mike Neal and Nick Perry ALL DAY LONG. They created steady pressure on Joe Flacco, whose stats (20-34 for 342 yds and 2 TDs) are not at all indicative of the horrid day that Flacco had. Our defense came out with a fire, creating five sacks, five tackles for a loss and Nick Perry registering another forced fumble, his second week in a row. Baltimore made a trade for Eugene Monroe, an upgrade at left tackle, who couldn’t handle Perry on the edge.
For all the shade that is thrown at A.J. Hawk — that man showed up for work yesterday. He was used creatively all day, taking advantage of holes in the offensive line for THREE sacks on the day. He was in the midst of every single play, and had a career 10 tackles, countless assists to go along with the 3 sacks.
Our depleted linebacker corps got a heavy dose of Jamari Lattimore! He was ballin’ for four straight quarters. I can’t even count how many times I heard his name called. He absolutely killed it, with Brad Jones on the sidelines and backup Robert Francois recently put on injured reserve. Micah Hyde was flying around, making plays and was a direct involvement in that HUGE goal line stand after a blocked punt turned into a first down for the Ravens in the first half.
He deserves his own page. He was all but counted out by the media this week. The Ravens boast a hefty ranking in run defense, sixth in the league. Everyone believed that we would test the waters early and then retreat to the pass, another shoot-out between the two highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Sounds legit — and we did test the waters early. And Eddie Lacy just … DELIVERED. Like, 47 yards on 2 carries, delivered. The Ravens defensive line woke up a little bit, but he couldn’t be contained. He had 23 carries for 120 yards on the day, making it the third time in four weeks that we have had 100-plus-yard rusher. Oh yeah, and that week we didn’t have one? Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards, no big deal.
We were looking for someone to kill the clock, pick up that crucial third down? It’s Eddie Lacy. When we needed a third down run to ice the game, Lacy provided.
This boy spells success for us in the future. Teams still aren’t really respecting the run as much as they should because of Aaron Rodgers. They know as soon as that eighth man creeps up into the box, that Jordy Nelson is taking one to the house. Which … by the way … happened yesterday. When our offense gets healthy and gets balanced … WATCH OUT.
I don’t care what happens, he is still Aaron Rodgers, folks. You can’t count him out. You can take all his weapons, and he will still find the open man. He’s big time. People say he isn’t clutch — 3rd and 3 and we needed a first down to continue our game-icing drive. He hits Finley in stride for a 52-yard pitch and catch down the field. He does what he does.