For a few weeks there, it seemed like the Green Bay Packers were among the worst secondary’s in football. At least the worst covering abilities.
In four straight games, they allowed more than 270 yards passing. Against the Washington Redskins, the play of the secondary was flat-out embarrassing.
Kirk Cousins hit on what seemed like a million deep balls. And time after time, in the fourth quarter, on third down, in a critical game, where one stop might have allowed Aaron Rodgers to win the game, the secondary continued to give up big play after big play.
But then, a few things started happening.
For starters, Damarious Randall came back from injury. And he wasn’t the player early in the season that was getting beat all over the place. And Sunday, against Seattle, he made two key interceptions. The one right before halftime, was a thing of beauty.
With Randall back and Quinten Rollins back healthy, LaDarius Gunter has also settled down. He doesn’t have to be the number one corner and the last three weeks, he’s also played well. All the corners have, including Micah Hyde.
At safety, the play has been even better.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix seemed to start it all when he snared a key third-quarter interception against the Eagles. Since that play, in 2.5 games, teams have scored just three touchdowns against Green Bay. And two of them came late when the Packers were playing prevent defense.
Clinton-Dix has been stellar this year and right now, he’s on the field for every single snap. But Morgan Burnett, who is in his seventh NFL season, has been just as good, if not better.
Burnett got a big fumble recovery against Houston and his first-half interception against Seattle was a game-changing play. With 78 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defensed, Burnett should be in the Pro Bowl this season.
But as whole, the Packers secondary play in the the last three games has been stellar. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 72. They have also thrown just three touchdowns, compared to six interceptions and averaged 204 yards passing.
There have certainly been other strong components for the defense in recent weeks. The pass rush has been outstanding and that’s contributed in a big way. In the end, the only thing that matters is that Green Bay is allowing just 12.3 points per game in its last three games.
That and the eight turnovers the Packers have forced are signs of a championship defense. And if the secondary and the entire defense can keep this up, winning out, suddenly won’t seem so difficult.