Why the Green Bay Packers defeated Kansas City In Week 3

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Sep 28, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) catches a pass against Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tyvon Branch (27) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Why Try To Force Something If They Give It Away For Free?

Last week, I talked about the free plays Green Bay made at length.

This week, there were more! This time, I want to expand a bit more on what I consider free plays.

For the most part, these are plays where the defense gets called for a certain penalty but the play is allowed to continue. These penalties are usually for 12-men on the field, offsides and encroachment.

In my estimation, those parameters can be expanded slightly; my thinking here also includes defensive holding, illegal contact, and pass interference. Those plays don’t quite line up with the same setup as the others (in this case, the play isn’t free, but the yardage garnered is).

With that in mind, I counted 7 examples of free plays in the game, four of which fall under the trio of usually considered “free play” penalties (marked by asterisk*):

– 2nd & 6, GB 15; defensive holding [Marcus Cooper], 5 yards
– 3rd & 1, GB 29; 12 men on the field [Jaye Howard], 5 yards*
– 1st & 10, GB 34; Illegal Contact [Eric Berry], 5 yards
– 3rd & 2, KC 22; Illegal Contact [Marcus Cooper], 5 yards (also nullified fumble by Rodgers)
– 3rd & 1, KC 32; Defensive Holding [Ron Parker] AND 12 men on the field [Jaye Howard], 5 yards*
– 1st & 10, KC 27; Offsides [Tamba Hali], declined for 27-yard TD pass to James Jones*
– 3rd & 8, GB 40; Offsides [Dee Ford], declined for 52-yard pass to James Jones*

That is A LOT of free yardage given up by Kansas City, as well as a score.

These type of plays can make a big difference in deciding a game, and it gives an offense a great excuse to take some risky shots they may not even consider in other circumstances.

Green Bay and their quarterback actually discuss how to best handle these situations to make opponents pay; according to the Monday Night Football broadcasters, Rodgers has told his linemen exactly what to do in these instances (namely, hold their ground and let him do the rest).

These plays are practically a built-in part of the offense at this point, especially at home. Expect to continue seeing them show up and for Rodgers and Co. to keep capitalizing.

Speaking of Rodgers…

Next: The One & Only Aaron Rodgers