Jermichael Finley is a subject for heavy debate among Packers fans.
When a player is under performing, it’s acceptable to be critical of him. And through nine games, Finley’s seven drops and lackluster performance were certainly deserving of criticism.
But when that same player turns in a key performance that helps his team win, credit is due.
In the Packers’ 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions, Finley enjoyed likely his best game of the year.
His three-catch performance is by no means a “breakout” game, but it’s certainly nice to see him catching the ball and making the most of his opportunities.
Finley caught all three of the passes thrown his way Sunday, and each play had a significant impact on the game’s outcome. Most notably, Finley scored the Packers’ lone first-half touchdown.
The most impressive part of Finley’s 20-yard touchdown was not the catch-and-run, but rather, the play call by head coach Mike McCarthy.
Rodgers took the snap and looked in the direction of running back James Starks for what appeared to be a screen pass. The Lions defense flooded towards Starks, while Finley snuck to the middle of the field. Finley was wide open on the play and didn’t get touched until he lunged into end zone.
For those scoring at home, yes, Finley did do his usual “YOTTO” celebration following his second touchdown of the season. And yes, it appears the “year of the takeover” is now in its third year, following its “debut” during the 2010 season.
But later in the game, Finley made another pivotal play. This time, on the Packers’ go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter.
Detroit’s defensive line had been playing well for the majority of the game, so Rodgers looked to get rid of the ball quickly on second down. Trailing 20-14 with under four minutes remaining, Finley caught a short Rodgers pass, turned up field and avoided several Lions defenders for a 40-yard gain.
The big gain put the Packers at the Lions’ 32-yard line. On the very next play, Rodgers completed a six-yard pass to Finley, and two plays later, the Packers took the lead on a touchdown to Randall Cobb.