Without Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery, there were Trevor Davis, Geronimo Allison and Jeff Janis.
Without Eddie Lacy and James Starks, there was Aaron Ripkowski.
The Green Bay Packers got key contributions from unlikely sources in their 33-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Janis caught four passes for 30 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown with about 4 minutes remaining.
Davis caught three passes for 24 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown.
Allison, who was on the practice squad at this point a week ago, caught two passes for 21 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown.
Ultimately, the Packers couldn’t replace Cobb and Montgomery — they caught 21 passes in last week’s win over Chicago — but the combined 10 catches and three touchdowns from Janis, Davis and Allison kept them in the game.
“We’d love to get Jared (Cook) back soon. Obviously, Randall and Ty, getting those guys back would help,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Personally, I’m just really proud of those guys who made plays today. We got Jordy (Nelson) going early with the big completion but we had three touchdown passes — one each to Geronimo Allison, who wasn’t on the opening-day roster, to Trevor, who’s had limited opportunities, and Jeff Janis for the go-ahead touchdown. I’m just so proud of those guys and the way they battled.”
After creating such high hopes following last year’s playoff performance at Arizona, Janis entered the game having caught 4-of-7 passes for 23 yards in the first six games. On the go-ahead score, he ran an excellent route along the back of the end zone and made the catch between two defenders.
“I think it shows the type of guys we have in our room,” Janis said. “Somebody goes down, we've got guys who can step up and make plays, and I think that's huge going forward in this season.”
While he did draw a big pass-interference flag in Week 3 vs. Detroit, Davis entered the game with no catches in two targets. But he made two excellent extended-play catches at the sideline vs. Atlanta, including a touchdown to put the Packers up 21-13 in the second quarter. Plus, he showed his outstanding speed on a 55-yard punt return that preceded his touchdown.
In his first regular-season game, Allison’s 4-yard touchdown came on an extended play and gave the Packers a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter.
“It was a blessing just to go out there and be able to make that play and be a part of the team, to go out there and help my teammates,” Allison said.
Ripkowski, who touched the ball only once as a rookie, entered the game with six carries for 25 yards. He bullied his way to 34 yards on six carries vs. the Falcons. By our count, 24 yards came after contact.
“It's tough because we've got some guys stepping up who don't have experience in certain areas, but I think everybody did a really good job of locking in and practicing this week,” he said. “Obviously, we've got to give a little more to come out on top.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.