4 Downs: Unsung Hyde comes through

Pete Dougherty
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Every week I’ll share four observations after the Green Bay Packers' game. Here they are after the Packers’ 31-24 win at Detroit on Sunday night:

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) its stopped by Green Bay Packers strong safety Micah Hyde (33) after a long reception for a first down during the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, January 1, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit.

First down: Micah Hyde isn’t a star and won’t be going to any Pro Bowls, but he has proven to be a valuable player in his four seasons with the Packers and someone they’re going to want to re-sign in the offseason because he can play so many positions in the secondary and hold up OK when injury disaster hits. Sunday night was a perfect example. Hyde is primarily a backup safety and plays there when Morgan Burnett moves to linebacker. But lately he has been playing nickel cornerback because of injuries and performance issues with Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Then after both those cornerbacks plus another backup (Makinton Dorleant) were injured Sunday night, Hyde moved to outside cornerback and on a night when the Packers' corners mostly struggled made the play that sealed the game. Hyde intercepted Matthew Stafford in the end zone with 1 ½  minutes left and the Packers up by two touchdowns. Hyde might never go into a season as a starter but injuries are inevitable, and when they hit he’s three players in one.

Second down: This was kind of a small thing, but kicker Mason Crosby and the Packers’ kickoff coverage unit did a really good job of keeping Davante Adams’ excessive-celebration penalty from costing the Packers. Adams had put the Packers ahead 17-14 in the third quarter when he was penalized for dunking the ball over the crossbar. That 15 yards can cost a lot of field position and possibly points. But Crosby hit a great kickoff from his own 20, placing the ball outside the numbers at the Lions’ 17. That placement pinned return man Andre Roberts to that side of the field, and Marwin Evans tackled Roberts after only a 12-yard return. That put the ball at the 29, only four yards better than if Crosby had kicked from the 35 and hit a touchback.

Third down: Ty Montgomery appeared to have landed in the doghouse for most of the first half after a failed screen pass on a third down about halfway through the first quarter. I’m still not sure what he was supposed to do – maybe he was supposed to chip block a blitzer who went past him before going out for the middle screen – but after Aaron Rodgers’ back-handed flip to him landed incomplete, the quarterback appeared to bark at Montgomery as they left the field. Montgomery hardly played if at all for the rest of the half before putting up a strong performance in the second half.

Fourth down: We got another look at the players the Packers want handling the ball when teams attempt an onside kick against them. Adams and Richard Rodgers were the lone players on either side of the ball behind an eight-man wall, which means they’re trusted to scoop up the bouncing ball while the guys in front of them block the cover men. Richard Rodgers handled the Lions’ onside kick cleanly Sunday night.

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