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Aaron Rodgers throws touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to win game (GIF)

The two players who returned for Green Bay in Week 17 after missing several weeks because of injuries combined for the touchdown that sent the Packers to the playoffs.

The Packers were down 28-27 to the Chicago Bears with the NFC North on the line and had a 4th-and-8 from the Bears 48 in the final minute. Aaron Rodgers eluded the rush, rolled to his left, and found Randall Cobb wide open for a 48-yard touchdown pass to give the Packers a 33-28 lead.

Though they missed the 2-point conversion attempt, the Packers held strong and intercepted Jay Cutler on the final play of the game to win it 33-28 and receive a berth into the playoffs.

Rodgers finished 25-of-39 for 318 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Cobb, who returned from a fractured leg, caught both of the TDs.

Aaron Rodgers Packers Bears

GIF via GIFD Sports

Randall Cobb could be back for Packers

Randall CobbThe Green Bay Packers are shaping up to potentially be one of the more dangerous teams entering the NFL playoffs.

Not only did the Packers announce that Aaron Rodgers will start the Week 17 contest against the Chicago Bears with the NFC North on the line, but head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that Randall Cobb could return as well.

The Packers’ official Twitter account tweeted that McCarthy said Cobb had a “very good” day of practice Thursday and that he took a positive step.

Cobb was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list after fracturing his leg on a low hit by Baltimore Ravens DB Matt Elam in Week 6. He practiced in pads on Thursday and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says there’s a “real chance” he could be activated for the game.

We don’t advise you to pick him up in fantasy for Week 17 because we doubt he would play a great amount of snaps, but his return would be a huge boost for Green Bay. He is one of their biggest playmakers and a threat to score any time he touches the ball.

With him and Rodgers back, Green Bay would be up there with the Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers and Saints as teams that could make a Super Bowl push.

Aaron Rodgers confronted Ravens DB Matt Elam after hit on Randall Cobb

Randall-Cobb-hit

Matt-Elam-hit-on-Randall-CobbGreen Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb left Sunday’s game in the first half after taking a shot to the knee from Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam. Cobb had to reach up to secure the pass, and Elam simply followed the NFL protocol by hitting the receiver low and not aiming for the head. Aaron Rodgers still didn’t appreciate it.

After the play, Rodgers went up to Elam and confronted him on the field. When asked about the exchange after the game, Rodgers told reporters he felt that Elam could have done a better job of hitting Cobb in the “target area.”

“I just felt like he had enough time to make a hit in the legal hitting zone,” Rodgers said. “The other safety came over and made a very knowledgable point, which I appreciated, and we had some banter back and forth about some of the issues defensive players have to deal with with the target area. I totally understand that and get that. I just felt like from my vantage point he had plenty of time to not take out a guy’s legs in that situation.”

Defenders have to tread a fine line. With the exception of a ball carrier, there is basically no such thing as a legal head shot anymore. A defensive back has a much better chance of avoiding a penalty if he hits an opponent below the waist, which is exactly what Elam did. Now that such an emphasis has been placed on not hitting above the shoulders, players are worried about their knees.

Earlier this year, Tony Gonzalez said he would rather be hit in the head than the knee because serious knee injuries are more likely to end careers. On the flip side, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he is disgusted that the NFL is looking into the possibility of banning low hits in addition to high hits.

In all likelihood, Rodgers simply got emotional because one of his best weapons was taken out. Elam’s hit was perfectly legal. If he went for the head and Cobb suffered a concussion, there would have been far more outrage. And for what it’s worth, there is reason to believe Cobb avoided a major knee injury.

GIF via Bleacher Report

Randall Cobb Has Star Qualities but is Not a Good Fantasy Pickup Yet

Randall Cobb was a revelation for the Green Bay Packers Thursday night. Playing his first career game, the rookie second-round pick out of Kentucky scored two touchdowns. He tied an NFL record by returning a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, somehow managing to avoid touching the ground when he was almost certainly down. That kickoff return for was one of the difference-makers because it turned the contest into a two-score game.

Cobb also scored late in the first quarter on a short in from the slot. He took the pass, made a sweet move on the safety, and then laid down a stiff arm before diving into the end zone. Cobb played great and he was a big reason the Packers won the game. He certainly is talented, but don’t let the praise he’s received a day later persuade you to grab him off your waiver wire.

Cobb isn’t one of Green Bay’s regular receivers. He only caught two passes in the game. Greg Jennings is their top target, Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson are generally the next options, and Donald Driver is also ahead of him on the depth chart. That doesn’t even count receivers James Jones and Tom Crabtree who enter the game when Green Bay really wants to spread things out. Recognizing that Cobb is extremely talented, the Packers may utilize him more as the season goes on but don’t get carried away after one game; Cobb is a really good player, but he likely won’t be a fantasy asset this season.