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What You Might've Missed: Nobody could block him

Packers LB Za’Darius Smith got a whiff (or two) out of everybody who tried


GREEN BAY – Za'Darius Smith posted his second three-sack game as a member of the Packers on Monday against the Falcons, but it wasn't just the three sacks that stood out.

Smith was a disruptive force all game long, getting practically every blocker who tried to block him to whiff at least once.

Here are seven plays that show at least five different players failing in their attempt to block him, and these don't even include the three sacks.

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Atlanta 25, first quarter, 10:01 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Falcons LT Jake Matthews (70) is a darn good left tackle, but he was no match here for Smith, who quickly gets in QB Matt Ryan's face and forces, in essence, a throwaway.

Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Atlanta 23, first quarter, 1:06 left

Result: No gain for RB Todd Gurley

The attempt to block Smith with FB Keith Smith (40) is a futile one, as Gurley's lead blocker badly overruns his assignment and the Packers' Smith nearly gets Gurley in the backfield for a 7-yard loss.

Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 19, second quarter, 11:44 left

Result: 2-yard loss for WR Russell Gage

Again, the miscalculation when Smith appears to be the assignment – this time by TE Luke Stocker (88) – is a little baffling. This is almost too easy for Smith to get the TFL. Credit CB Kevin King (20) as well for crashing into FB Keith Smith from the outside and not giving Gage a chance to get the edge on the end-around.

Play No. 4: Second-and-goal from the Green Bay 8, second quarter, 8:26 left

Result: 3-yard run by Gurley

This time it's RT Kaleb McGary (76) who makes it awfully easy for Smith to stifle this run up the middle. Once again, Smith's jab step and inside move win cleanly for a tackle that's part of a key goal-to-go sequence forcing the Falcons to kick a field goal after a long drive.

Play No. 5: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 49, third quarter, 11:08 left

Result: 16-yard completion to WR Olamide Zaccheaus

This play worked out for the Falcons, but only by sheer luck. The Packers should have intercepted this throw, with the assist going to Smith's pressure. The NFL is a no-mercy league, and Smith takes none on Stocker, who slides across the formation to try to block him but is no match for an old-fashioned bull rush. Ryan's throw is ill-advised, and both LB Krys Barnes (51) and S Darnell Savage (26) have a shot at the pick. But they appear to take it away from one another, with the deflection going Atlanta's way.

Play No. 6: First-and-10 from the Atlanta 47, third quarter, 2:39 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Once again, the task falls to FB Keith Smith to block the Packers' Smith, and it's no contest. The pass rusher is in Ryan's face pretty quickly, and the throw for a well-covered Hurst doesn't connect.

Play No. 7: Fourth-and-6 from the Green Bay 49, third quarter, 1:15 left

Result: First down via penalty

The Packers don't get the stop they're hoping for here, but it's included to show yet another player – LG James Carpenter (77) – failing to block Smith. The inside swim move puts Smith in Ryan's lap, leading to an unfortunate (and dubious) roughing-the-passer penalty. Even if that flag isn't thrown, the Falcons still get the conversion on the pass interference on CB Josh Jackson (37).

That's a pretty good highlight reel of disruption for Smith without even looking at his sacks, which certainly weren't missed. For the record, on the sacks he beat RG Chris Lindstrom, LG Matt Hennessy (Carpenter's temporary fourth-quarter replacement), and for good measure, Carpenter again after he re-entered the game.