Not even T.J. Lang sounded overly optimistic that he’d play on Sunday.
But there was the Green Bay Packers’ veteran right guard, less than a month removed from a broken foot, back in the starting lineup and helping to lead the charge in a 38-10 throttling of the powerful Seattle Seahawks.
“I spoke with you guys on Wednesday and I knew at that point that I was going to have to prove that I could do some more Thursday in the padded work and then practice Saturday,” Lang said after the game. “Coming out of Thursday’s practice, I gained a lot of confidence with the way my foot felt. Friday, I didn’t really have any setbacks and felt pretty good. Same thing (Saturday) coming off the field. I think that really gave me the confidence that I could put my full weight on my foot and I could push off, I could drive. I think ultimately today coming in and not having any setbacks, I think I gained that confidence through Thursday’s practice in the padded work that I could go out and get the job done.”
Lang did just that. He was beaten by Seahawks star Michael Bennett on the second play of the game, resulting in a gain of 0 for Ty Montgomery, but settled in thereafter. He delivered the final push on Montgomery’s second-quarter touchdown run that made it 14-3.
Whatever pain he felt afterward was lessened with the thrill of a huge victory.
“I’m doing all right,” Lang said. “I’m a little sore. I feel pretty good. I think a win like that takes away some pains. I’m sure I’ll be sore tonight and tomorrow but pretty happy with the way it came out.”
Lang was part of an offensive line that, once again, led the charge on offense.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, already battling an ailing left hamstring, injured his right calf on the third play of the game. Despite severely limited mobility, the Packers gave up only one sack against a Seahawks defense that entered the game ranked fourth in sacks.
According to data provided to Packer Report by Pro Football Focus, the offensive line gave up six quarterbacks hurries but no sacks or hits, with PFF charging those to Rodgers.
That’s standard operating procedure for the line, which continues to lead PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency, a metric that measures sacks, hits and hurries allowed per pass-blocking snap.
“The offensive line (has allowed) the third-fewest quarterback pressures, even with the third-most pass blocking plays,” PFF notes.
Rodgers saluted Lang and Co. after the game.
“Those guys have been playing really well,” Rodgers said. “I highlight every single one of them. Lane (Taylor) was a question mark for a lot of you guys starting the season, but he’s had a great season for us. Corey (Linsley) stepped in when J.C. (Tretter) went down and played like a starter. T.J. is an absolute warrior dealing with his injuries. Bryan (Bulaga) has had the most consistent season of his career. And David (Bakhtiari) has been a rock at left tackle. Those guys deserve a lot of credit, holding the line of scrimmage, great job in pass protection. We threw it not as many times as we have the rest of the season, but just one sack against that good defensive line — and I actually had to hold it a little bit longer on that one, (so) that was probably on me there. So, great job by them.”
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.