Cole picks up the slack

Defensive tackle steps up when injured Pickett is taken out

Colin Cole finished with three tackles and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Not exactly eye-popping stats, but the Green Bay Packers nose tackle had a big game in other ways against Seattle.

Cole rotates into the middle of the defensive line with starters Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly. When Pickett left the game with 5:21 left in the third quarter, Cole was forced to absorb Pickett's reps the rest of the way. At the time, the Packers were only ahead by a touchdown, 17-10.

One play after he took over for Pickett, Seahawks quarterback Charlie Frye was sacked for an eight-yard loss by defensive end Aaron Kampman, forcing Seattle to punt. The following Seattle series early in the fourth quarter was thwarted on third down when cornerback Charles Woodson picked off Frye's pass, returning it 12 yards to Seattle's 33. That set up Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal that gave the Packers a 27-10 lead.

On the ensuing series, Cole sacked Frye for a seven-yard loss, but the play was wiped out by linebacker Brady Poppinga's illegal contact penalty, giving the Seahawks a first down at their own 35.

Cole made a tackle on running back Maurice Morris off a short pass for only a six-yard gain. Three plays later, cornerback Tramon Williams killed the Seahawks drive by intercepting a pass.

The Seahawks scored a meaningless touchdown on their next series to close to 27-17, but let's give credit where credit is do. Seattle could have taken advantage of Pickett's absence in the last one-and-a-half quarters, but Cole didn't allow it to happen. He didn't give up any ground in the middle and allowed others around him to get the job done.

For his efforts, Cole, a fourth-year pro, deserves mention as one of the Packers' unsung heroes in their victory over the Seahawks. Playing nose tackle is far from glamorous, but Cole's effort shined on Sunday for the Packers.

Todd Korth writes for PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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