Packer Hustle: This is just hilarious
The Green Bay Packers are now so comically bad at football that they're actually kind of good.
They will score a touchdown specifically because their running back fumbled so hard it was like he slammed a super bouncy ball into concrete. They will end a game on just the worst last-ditch, lateral play ever. They will literally, actually, really, truly be losing to the Detroit Lions, 23-21, with 0:00 left in REGULATION and win, 27-23.
Who's into this? I'm into this. Let's keep this ball rolling. I think we have something here. It's radical, sure, but this team might have no other options at this point.
1. Richard Rodgers (Last week: Not ranked)–He has gone from a tarantula to a butterfly. From a slug to a majestic equine. From one of the more frustrating Packer players to someone who will now be immortalized into lore like Antonio Freeman for hauling in a miracle grab against a division rival. He was the only target making plays for his QB Thursday, reeling in eight catches for 146 yards. The preseason was filled with talk about him breaking out and he finally showed some of that potential.
2. Aaron Rodgers* (Last week: Doghouse No. 2)–You guys, we are not safe anymore. We all witnessed the birth of a new weapon of mass destruction Thursday. Soon the military will acquire Rodgers and arm him with football-shaped explosives. That thing flew so high into the air (and absurdly far) that Richard Rodgers had a day and a half to backpedal into position.
3. Julius Peppers (Last week: NR)–His age is no doubt showing, but boy, Pep still knows how to make a play. He blew right by Riley Reiff and knocked that ball free from Matthew Stafford like it ain't no thang. It's hard to image the Packers winning without earning a turnover, specifically that one, which gave Green Bay the ball on Detroit's 12 yard line. This is why he is still playing at 35. (We're just going to pretend that his offsides call on 3rd and 13 late in the fourth quarter never happened.)
4. Mike Daniels (Last week: No. 2)–He is officially the most consistent player the Packers have had all season. He again was a source of agitation for Detroit and scored two tackles for a loss.
5. Sam Shields (Last week: NR)–Every defensive back covering Calvin Johnson solo on a jump ball must be forgiven. His coverage was actually solid, but without safety help, there's no stopping that. The secondary put forth an up-and-down effort Thursday and Shields was the steadiest of hands.
Dropped from the Leaderboard: Eddie Lacy (he apparently rode the bench because of a bad week at practice, so that's wonderful news), James Starks (he's lucky his fumble is something to laugh at).
1. Tom Clements (Last week: No. 1)–He may be the only person on earth who enjoys lining up in the shotgun on 3rd and 1.
2. The wide receivers (Last week: NR)–Another game of struggling to get open and make plays. Rodgers' throws weren't always on the money, but he is relying on his backfield and tight end far too much. Five targeted receivers caught 10 passes, while a tight end and two running backs hauled in 14.
3. The running backs (Last week: NR)–This whole Eddie Lacy saga is just getting awkward. First he was good, then hurt, then just really really bad, then fantastic (we're talking best player on the offense), now apparently he's so bad they won't let him on the field. This is just getting awkward. Starks, meanwhile, is more valuable to the passing game than the running game. The John Crockett sighting was neat, though.
Ascended from the Doghouse: Aaron Rodgers (I'm just going to put this right here), Davante Adams (scored his first touchdown of the year Thursday, but also falls under the category of “The wide receivers,” so…), James Jones (Rodgers' interception went right through his hands and also he falls under category of “the wide receivers,” so…), J.C. Tretter (avoided catastrophic shotgun snaps).
Next week: Dallas Cowboys
Good god, what next.
*Rodgers' performance is judged based on superhuman standards.
Reporter Elliot Hughes has been with GazetteXtra since 2015. His sportswriting has appeared in The Huffington Post, the Isthmus and The Classical. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12 or email him at [email protected].