It’s too early to know whether the Packers put their special teams woes behind them, but Sunday was a positive first step.
Perhaps most impressive was rookie receiver Ty Montgomery’s burst on kickoffs. The third-round pick averaged 35.3 yards per kickoff return on three attempts. His first return gave the Packers possession at their 39-yard line. His longest, a 46-yard return to open the second half, gave the Packers possession at their 41.
“That’s very important,” Montgomery said of the short field, “because when you have an offense like ours, and a QB like Aaron (Rodgers), you want to give them good field position. I think that type of field position takes away first downs that they would’ve potentially needed to convert, and it gives them confidence on what type of drive that they’re going to have.”
The Packers also made their onside kick recovery in the game’s final minute look routine, something that shouldn’t be overlooked given their history with the play. It was January when the Packers botched an onside kick recovery, opening the door for the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC championship game on a stunning comeback.
On Sunday, one of the game’s most routine plays offered no drama. The front line blocked instead of playing the football, and receiver Davante Adams secured the kick to seal the Packers’ win.
“Just thinking, ‘Catch it,’” Adams said. “They’re putting me there for a reason, so just got to make sure that — it’s just like a ball that’s thrown. You’ve got to capitalize on that. Obviously, we’ve had a situation with that before where it didn’t go right, so everybody is going to be looking to see what’s going to happen. So it’s pretty much, gotta come down with it. If they have the trust in me to put me there, I’ve got to come down with it.”
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood