On Sunday, the Packers left San Diego with an 8-0 record after a wild 45-38 shootout against the Chargers. While the offense shined for the entire game, the defense had its struggles. However, they were successfully able to close out the game, contributing to three turnovers, two that were intercepted for a touchdown, and one that was the game-clincher.
The Packers remain undefeated, and here are the key players that were important contributions to keeping the team unblemished in 2011.
Erik Walden was relentless on Sunday, recording two tackles for a loss and one sack, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Walden was pressuring Philip Rivers all day, and despite some of the defenses' struggles, Walden was certainly one of the most productive defensive players for the week.
Ever since the Packers picked up Walden last year during their injury-plagued season, he has been a solid contributor, and has even had one or two games where he has been relentless in pressuring the quarterback, and this week against the Chargers was one of those weeks.
Greg Jennings finished the day with six receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown, and while that may not sound very impressive at first, he caught the final touchdown of the game for the Packers, which proved to be the difference of the game.
While Jennings appeared to be shut down for much of the game by Chargers cornerback Quinton Jammer, Jennings broke away from Jammer near the end of the game, making several important catches to keep the Packers' offense rolling, culminating in a touchdown catch, which was a famous back-shoulder catch, a type of move that many defenders claim is nearly impossible to defend.
Aaron Rodgers proved on Sunday that even when the defense appears to be playing Jennings well, Rodgers will still find a way to throw to him, making Jennings a very big weapon for this Packers' offense.
Jordy Nelson finished the game with the best receiving numbers, catching five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Nelson has proven to be one of the biggest deep threats in the Packers' offense, hooking up with Rodgers late on a 64-yard reception that set them up for a score, but earlier in the game, he proved that he can master the back-shoulder move just like Jennings did, as he caught a pivotal touchdown right before the half.
Nelson is clearly the number two receiver in this offense, and is a very underrated player. Against the Chargers, he showed off all his skills, and was a key weapon that helped Rodgers move this offense effectively.
When Nick Collins was lost for the season, Packer fans were legitimately scared for the future of their season. However, just like he did last year with Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah has filled Collins' shoes very well, making two of the biggest plays in the game.
In the first quarter, Peprah caught the first Philip Rivers interception, weaving his way into the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Packers a 14-7 lead. It wasn't until the end of the game when Peprah caught his second interception, but it was the most important play of the game. As Philip Rivers was driving for the game-tying score, Peprah intercepted Rivers, and nearly returned it for yet another touchdown.
While many of the Packers defensive players struggled in pass coverage, the backup safety Peprah was a bright spot on this defense, and despite his status as a backup, his presence on the field should give Packers fans peace of mind.
It should be no surprise that Aaron Rodgers finds himself at number one on this list. In this game, Rodgers would throw for only five incompletions, throwing for 247 yards and four touchdowns, giving him a staggering 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions on the year.
Aaron Rodgers is perhaps playing better than anyone in the league right now, and he showed no signs of slowing down against the Chargers, not only making pin-point accurate throws, but also escaping the pocket and running the ball effectively, as well, as he finished as the second leading rusher in the game with over 50 yards.
Packer fans should be thankful to have Rodgers as their quarterback, and this week, he was clearly the best player on the field.