Finley an 'extremely important weapon' for Packers

2009-12-08T00:35:00Z Finley an 'extremely important weapon' for PackersJon Masson | For sports
December 08, 2009 12:35 am  • 

GREEN BAY -- On an offense filled with talented receivers, second-year tight end Jermichael Finley has become a go-to guy for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Finley had his first multiple-touchdown game for the Packers, catching two scoring passes in Green Bay's 27-14 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

On the first, Finley lined up in the backfield and caught a 2-yard pass on a fade route in the left corner of the end zone.

That put Green Bay ahead 10-0 with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter.

Later, after returning from a knee injury that sent him to the locker room in the third quarter, Finley scored on a 19-yard touchdown reception that increased the Packers' lead to a 24-14 advantage with 10:31 left to play.

Finley caught the pass in the middle of the field, powered ahead and leaped into the end zone, fighting through tackle attempts by Baltimore's Ray Lewis and Tom Zbikowski.

"I loved it," Finley said. "Monday night, that's when you have to show up."

Said Packers left guard Daryn Colledge: "Obviously, Finley is an extremely important weapon out there. He's a great player. He did what he does best. He broke a tackle tonight and scored a touchdown. I thought the speed-skill guys had a great night around the goal line. ... I thought those guys had a nose for the end zone tonight."

Finley wound up with seven catches for 79 yards. The number of catches matched his career best.

"It's big time," Finley said. "I did it when the lights were on. That's what I expect and that's what the Packers expect."

Rodgers appeared to gain a comfort level with Finley early in the season. Finley led the Packers with six receptions for a career-best 128 yards Oct. 5 at Minnesota and had five more catches against Detroit Oct. 18.

But Finley injured his knee on a catch on the opening drive the next week at Cleveland and was sidelined the next three games.

He returned from the knee injury against San Francisco on Nov. 22 and had seven receptions for 54 yards. He was back at it Monday night and gave the Packers a boost.

"He really adds an extra dimension to our offense," said Rodgers, who threw three touchdown passes, including one to Donald Driver.

Finley, a second-year player out of Texas, said he was worried when a player rolled into him and aggravated his knee injury, but said he was OK.

"He's a big target," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of the 6-foot-5 Finley. "He gives you matchup problems."

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