PLAY OF THE GAME
The Packers were off and running yet again at Lambeau Field, with a 10-0 lead when Micah Hyde dropped back to return a punt with about 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. Considering the Eagles owned the top-ranked scoring offense in the NFC and led the NFL in forced fumbles, the game was anything but over.
The game was over mere seconds later. Hyde fielded the ball at the Eagles’ 25, with rookie receiver Josh Huff coming straight at him. Hyde froze Huff for a moment, and that was all he needed. Davon House pushed Nolan Carroll beyond Hyde, Sean Richardson leveled Cary Williams, Davante Adams tied up another member of the coverage unit and Casey Hayward took care of Casey Matthews. From there, it was a foot race against punter Donnie Jones, which Hyde won for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
It was the second punt-return touchdown in Hyde’s two seasons, and it was a big momentum changer against an Eagles special teams that entered the game with five touchdowns and three blocked kicks.
“To be honest with you, going back to the Tuesday game plan meetings, we just felt Micah, his particular style versus their unit and what we had called, is really what we talked about all week,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He did a great job of catching and getting north and south and finishing it. Great return. Micah's straight-ahead style we felt was a good way to go today.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
It was another monster game from Aaron Rodgers, as he completed 22-of-36 passes for 341 yards with three touchdown and no interceptions. Rodgers was exceptional, so he’s a no-brainer. However, you’ve got to salute the game plan and Rodgers’ decision to attack Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher again and again and again.
The Packers’ opening field goal was set up by Rodgers’ long pass to Jordy Nelson for a gain of 64 against Fletcher. The second touchdown was set up by Rodgers’ 22-yard pass to Randall Cobb on third-and-9 against Fletcher, who fell in coverage. The touchdown came on a quick slant to Davante Adams against Fletcher. Green Bay made it 24-3 early in the second quarter when Rodgers hit Nelson for a 27-yard strike against Fletcher. The Packers upped the advantage to 30-3 on Eddie Lacy’s 1-yard scoring run, which was set up by an end-zone pass inference penalty of 18 yards to the 1 as Fletcher tried to stop Nelson again.
GAZING INSIDE THE CRYSTAL BALL
This is potentially a game-changing weekend for the Packers, who entered the weekend in seventh place in the NFC but emerged in a tie for second. Green Bay is 7-3, tied with Detroit (lost at Arizona), Philadelphia (lost at Green Bay) and Dallas (bye). Seattle, which holds the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. Green Bay on the strength of its Week 1 win, fell to 6-4 and tied with San Francisco for seventh in the NFC.
Officially, Arizona (9-1) leads the pack, Detroit is second (head-to-head over Green Bay), Philadelphia is third (division leader) and Atlanta is fourth (division leader). There’s no use getting too worked up about the tiebreaker vs. Detroit, of course, because the teams play at Lambeau in Week 17.
How big could a first-round bye and second-round home game be for the Packers? They’ve been eliminated at home in two of the last three postseasons but this team might be different, considering its killer instinct in the last four home games.
NUMBERS WORTH NOTING
0: Quarterback hits by the Eagles, who entered the game ranked second in sacks and first in pressures.
1: Player in NFL history with 100-plus sacks and four-plus interceptions returned for touchdowns. That would be the Packers’ Julius Peppers.
4: Games, out of the last five, in which Casey Hayward has had a hand in a turnovers. The Packers are 4-0 in those games.
25.0: The Eagles’ red-zone percentage, with one touchdown in four trips inside Green Bay’s 20. The Eagles entered the game 7-of-7 in the red zone with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
30: Points by the Packers in the first half. Green Bay became the first team in NFL history with 28-plus points in the first half of the past four home games.
53: Points by the Packers, giving them back-to-back games of 50-plus points for the first time in franchise history and the fifth time in NFL history.
83.3: Rodgers’ winning percentage against backup quarterbacks in his career. His record is now 15-3 after pummeling Sanchez and Co. Eleven of those wins have come by at least 14 points.
107: Points in the first quarter by the Packers, tops in the league, including 17 vs. the Eagles. They scored 79 points in the first quarter in 2013 in 2013 and 83 points in 2012 and 132 points during their high-flying 2011.
119: Point differential at halftime of the past four home games. Green Bay bolted to leads of 28-0 over Minnesota, 28-3 over Carolina, 42-0 over Chicago and 30-6 over Philadelphia for a cumulative 128-9 halftime lead.
219: Points scored in five home games. That's more than the Packers scored at home all of last season (203).
279: First-half passing yards by Rodgers. He’s thrown for at least 275 yards in each of his last three games; he’s the only quarterback since 1990 to throw for 275-plus yards in the first half of three games in a full season.
322: Consecutive passes at home without an interception by Rodgers. Rodgers broke Tom Brady’s home streak of 288 attempts, set in 2002 through 2004, on the first series of the game. He’s thrown 29 touchdown passes and no interceptions in those games. Rodgers has gone almost two seasons without an interception at home, dating to Dec. 2, 2012, vs. Minnesota; the next home game will be on Nov. 30 against New England.
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