What You Might’ve Missed: Dean of defense

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GREEN BAY – As the Packers’ starting defensive line was depleted by injuries in 2018, third-year pro Dean Lowry remained the constant.

Yes, young up-and-comers like Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams took advantage of heftier late-season workloads and flashed future potential while giving themselves good film to build upon for 2019.

But it was Lowry who was the steadiest workhorse of the bunch, and the 2016 fourth-round draft pick not only finished the best season of his young career with a strong game, it might have been his top overall individual performance.

Despite an otherwise forgettable 31-0 finale vs. Detroit for the team, Lowry had an impressive day. He made an impact up front from start to finish, and against any offensive lineman the Lions put in front of him.

The several plays that follow show as much.

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Detroit 25, first quarter, 15:00 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Lowry made his presence felt from the first snap of the game, making a very smart play. Double-teamed from the get-go by Lions C Graham Glasgow (60) and RG Kenny Wiggins (79), Lowry didn’t waste his energy trying to power through two blockers. Instead, he simply held his ground, watched QB Matthew Stafford’s eyes, and timed his reach upward perfectly to knock down Stafford’s pass at the line.

Play No. 2: Second-and-10 from the Detroit 25, first quarter, 14:56 left

Result: 1-yard run by RB LeGarrette Blount

On the very next play, Lowry shows Lions TE Levine Toilolo is no match for him, knocking him two yards into the backfield, shedding the block and wrapping up Blount for a minimal gain.

Play No. 3: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 1, first quarter, 4:10 left

Result: Holding penalty on Lions

Another play, another blocker in front of Lowry. This time, it’s Lions RT Ricky Wagner (71) who can’t handle Lowry’s powerful charge off the ball. As Wagner wraps his right arm around Lowry’s back and takes him to the ground, he draws a holding penalty.

Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 27, third quarter, 4:02 left

Result: 2-yard run by Blount

Now Lowry’s across from LT Taylor Decker (68), and he shows both his strength and pursuit. He holds Decker at bay and separates from him with a powerful left arm, and then he chases Blount down from the back side as several teammates get in on the act as well.

Play No. 5: Second-and-8 from the Green Bay 25, third quarter, 3:21 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Again it’s a back-to-back for Lowry, who gets his second pass deflection of the game on the next snap. Crashing into a double-team by Glasgow and LG Frank Ragnow (77), Lowry alertly gets his right hand up to swat down the throw. Maintaining his vision and timing in this instance was more difficult than in Play No. 1.

Play No. 6: Second-and-6 from the Detroit 25, fourth quarter, 14:20 left

Result: No gain for Blount

Lowry doesn’t make the tackle on this play, but he in essence makes the play. Decker can’t keep him out of the backfield, which redirects Blount’s path right into other defenders. Adams (90) makes a nice spin move to get off a block, and LB Antonio Morrison (44) – who also had a nice overall game against the run – slips a block up front as well.

Play No. 7: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 24, fourth quarter, 7:42 left

Result: 1-yard run by RB Zach Zenner

Much like the last play, Lowry doesn’t make the tackle, but his penetration in the backfield is the key. A quick swim move around Wiggins forces Zenner to cut outside, and even though he slips through Lowry’s outstretched arms, he can’t get away from LB Reggie Gilbert (93) and Adams.

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