Tuesday, September 14, 2010
NFC North Week 1 decisive moment
By Kevin Seifert
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We've spent plenty of time this week discussing Calvin Johnson's touchdown-turned-incomplete pass at the end of the Detroit Lions' 19-14 loss Sunday to the Chicago Bears. So for our first-ever NFC North decisive moment of the week, let's take a look at the fourth-down play that ensured the Green Bay Packers' 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles.
(Video of the play available on NFL.com.)
At the 2-minute warning, the Eagles faced a 4th-and-1 situation from the Packers' 42-yard line. The Eagles were out of timeouts, so it would be their final play if unsuccessful. Quarterback Michael Vick had already rushed for 103 yards in the game, so even though the Eagles set up in a shotgun formation, the Packers lined up in what for them amounted to a run-stopping defense.
In fact, it was one of only six snaps in the game in which the Packers had as many as seven men on the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Clay Matthews was one of them, lined up on the far right side of the defensive formation, just outside Eagles tight end Brent Celek.
After Vick took the snap, Matthews shed Celek and burst through the gap vacated by left tackle Jason Peters, who had charged beyond the line to block linebacker Brandon Chillar. Vick took one step backward before sprinting toward the line on a quarterback draw.
Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji held his ground against Eagles left guard Todd Herremans, limiting the size of the off-tackle hole. Running back LeSean McCoy made a weak attempt to shoulder-block Matthews, but Matthews stood his ground. Vick had nowhere to go, and linebacker Nick Barnett soon arrived to help Matthews seal the play.
The Packers' offense took over, kneeled three times and won the game.