GREEN BAY – Packers' receiver Romeo Doubs enjoyed a career day in the NFC Wild Card playoff in Dallas, catching six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
What made the difference on so many big plays for Doubs? All sorts of moving parts. Here's the rundown.
Play No. 1: Second-and-13 from the Green Bay 27, first quarter, 13:22 left
Result: 22-yard completion to Doubs
Doubs' first catch of the day was a longer-developing route that required a lot of time for QB Jordan Love, and the key to the pass protection was taking the Cowboys' best pass rusher, LB Micah Parsons (11) out of the play. RT Zach Tom (50) did just that, not only by handling his initial rush, but also by finishing the block with some authority.
Play No. 2: Third-and-9 from the Green Bay 25, first quarter, 3:02 left
Result: 26-yard completion to Doubs
This is similar to the first play, except Doubs' deep in-breaking route is from the other side of the field. Once again, pass protection for Love is paramount, and the key on this one is RG Sean Rhyan (75) picking up the stunt being run by DE Sam Williams (54) before Love buys himself some more time to find Doubs.
Play No. 3: First-and-goal from the Dallas 16, second quarter, 15:00 left
Result: 15-yard completion to Doubs
On the final play of the first quarter, the Packers get called for holding, putting them in a tough goal-to-go spot to start the second quarter, and it's Doubs to the rescue. Two other routes make the difference here. First, RB Emanuel Wilson (31) draws S Donovan Wilson (6) to the flat, opening up the lane for Doubs' slant. Second, WR Jayden Reed (11) attracts enough attention from LB Markquese Bell (14) – who's actually the third defender locking in on Reed – that his body position gives him no chance to react to Doubs behind him. Suddenly it's goal-to-go from the 1 and the Packers are in the end zone on the next play.
Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 26, second quarter, 7:02 left
Result: 39-yard completion to Doubs
The Packers have just converted a critical third-and-1 to avoid punting from deep in their own territory, and the big play follows. As usual, multiple moving parts to pay attention to that made this work. First, RB Aaron Jones (33) provides tremendous help in pass protection after Parsons beats Tom at the line of scrimmage with an inside move. Second, Doubs' route is outstanding. After sliding inside of CB Jourdan Lewis (2) to run down the hash, Doubs gives one extra inside fake with his left hip/leg to leave Lewis in the dust as he breaks to the outside. Last but not least, Reed locks up LB Damone Clark (33) with a downfield block so he can't close in on Doubs.
Play No. 5: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 37, third quarter, 8:04 left
Result: 46-yard completion to Doubs
The Packers' longest play of the day, and once again Jones and Doubs are the guys to watch. After a slightly awkward play-action fake, Jones steps up and delivers the help in pass protection on DE DeMarcus Lawrence (90). Meanwhile, it's another little thing in Doubs' route that makes the difference. Watch closely as he hits the 45-yard line. He turns his head slightly back toward the QB, which convinces CB Stephon Gilmore (21) to go into full chase mode across the field. Only Doubs is breaking his route back to the other side of the field, and he completely loses Gilmore.
Play No. 6: Fourth-and-2 from the Dallas 3, fourth quarter, 10:28 left
Result: 3-yard TD to Doubs
After all this work, Doubs finally gets into the end zone for the Packers' final points. This is a crazy good throw by Love for the score, but keep an eye on the subtlety of Doubs' action. The play is designed to go to TE Tucker Kraftin the flat, so Doubs is initially just running interference over the middle. But his blocking action appears to persuades his guy, S Malik Hooker (28), to give up on Doubs and begin following Kraft, which Parsons and Bell are already doing. Hooker's hesitation and bite to the outside gives Doubs the opportunity to slip backward into the end zone and gives Love just enough room to fit the ball in. Hooker's frustrated look when he gets up off the ground says it all.
Bonus play: Third-and-7 from the Dallas 20, second quarter, 3:28 left
Result: 20-yard TD to WR Dontayvion Wicks
Remember two weeks ago when this posting was focused on Love drawing tells from the Minnesota defense and then using those to make key plays? Well, he did it again. Going silent count with an empty backfield, Love's initial leg kick and dummy cadence gets Bell and S Jayron Kearse (1) to reveal that they're both blitzing on this big third down. Upon seeing that, Love makes a protection adjustment, pulling Kraft to an in-line position to take edge protection duties against DE Dante Fowler (56). With Kraft responsible for the edge, the rest of the offensive line has enough bodies to handle the two interior blitzers. Finally, Wicks' outside-in shake move at the top of his route stem gets him the one-on-one separation needed from Gilmore, and Love's throw is right on the money.