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Packers WRs fight back after drops (VIDEO)

Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 12:43 am
 
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – The drops were beginning to frustrate Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, and they were really beginning to annoy WR Greg Jennings.

Over and over again, Green Bay’s receivers dropped very makeable catches from Rodgers, stalling drives and killing momentum. Jordy Nelson (nine catches, 140 yards, one touchdown) had a fantastic night, but he dropped a few. James Jones (five catches, 50 yards) recovered pretty well, but he flubbed a potential touchdown catch. Brett Swain blew one as well that bounced off his hands and his legs before it hurt the turf.

Jennings wanted to say something, but he knew he couldn’t harp on the negative – on the, “What the hell are you guys doing out there” aspect. Still, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson urged his No. 1 guy to say something, especially with team leader Donald Driver out for the game.

“As one of the head guys, you understand that guys sometimes have to pull themselves out of the hole,” Jennings said. “When you have a drop, you have to be able to bounce back. All I said was, ‘We have to be great. Period. We have to be great. We can’t afford to have that in a game of this magnitude.’ The guys responded and we made the plays down the stretch. Ultimately, we got the job done.”

For much of the second half, though, the receivers were shaky. And on the Packers first drive of the fourth quarter, the carelessness struck again. With the Packers leading by four, Rodgers faced a third-and-seven after Nelson dropped another pass. But with the Packers desperately needing to continue the drive and put points on the board, Rodgers zipped a throw to Nelson.

Nelson easily made the catch, gaining 38 yards, and the Packers eventually scored a touchdown to take an 11-point lead.

“I can say for Jordy on that drive, for him to make a play on the very next play after he dropped one, it erases that drop out of your mind,” Jennings said. “When you can do things like that, it makes the game a lot easier even though you just made the ultimate boo-boo in our profession.”

The Packers prevailed without their emotional leader, as Driver – who injured his ankle in the first half and never returned – watched the second half from the sidelines. Without Driver, the Packers needed some kind of spark to kick-start an offense that failed to gain a first down in the third quarter.

Jennings helped provide it by fooling Steelers S Troy Polamalu.

After the Steelers cut the lead to four points in the third quarter, Green Bay’s defense forced a fumble from Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, and after driving deep into Steelers territory, Jennings found himself running toward Polamalu, who was playing in a Cover-2.

Two weeks ago, while playing the Bears in the NFC championship game, Jennings cut inside against that defensive scheme and continued on his post route. That played worked a few times against Chicago, but against Pittsburgh, Jennings tried something different, cutting outside on a corner route and catching a wide-open touchdown pass.

“They were definitely playing for the post,” Jenning said. “We had gashed Chicago a couple times, and I’m sure they saw that in their film preparation where if they show a Cover-2 look, I’m going to be bend it into the post. But we kept the corner route on, and I was able to get behind him. (Polamalu) just dropped me. He completely dropped me.”

As a result, the Packers dropped the Steelers. And, at the same time, alleviated some of the annoyances created by a couple wide receiver drops.

“I,” said Rodgers with a laugh, “am not frustrated any more.”

Below is video of Jennings discussing his 31-yard catch on third-and-10 on the Packers final fourth-quarter drive.




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