When the Green Bay Packers made the decision this week to start Mike Neal over Nick Perry at outside linebacker this was the kind of response they were hoping for.

Neal finished with six tackles and a sack in his first start opposite Clay Matthews while Perry contributed five tackles off the bench with two sacks and a forced fumble on Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford late in Sunday’s 22-9 win at Lambeau Field.

It couldn’t have come at a better time considering the Packers lost Matthews to a thumb injury after a 12-yard sack of Stafford at the end of the third quarter. He never returned.

If the thumb is broken as many national reports suggest that doesn’t mean Matthews would miss any or much game time.

In the recent past the Packers have had defensive players such as Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins play through broken bones in their hands or wrists though they were limited in their ability to use their hands because of the large padded cast protecting the injury.

Either way Neal and Perry had probably their best games of the season after combining for only nine hurries and no sacks in the first three games of the season according to Pro Football Focus.

“I tried to get two” said Neal with a smile. “I tried to get one from the inside and outside but just to be able to get that sack as an outside linebacker just to show people I can provide a rush on the outside is definitely a big confidence-booster for me and I have to try to keep that up.”

Both of Perry’s sacks came in the second half. He left briefly in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury but returned five plays later to hit Stafford’s arm and force a fumble.

Perry said the fact he wasn’t starting didn’t weigh too heavily on his mind with his concern set more on registering his first sack a year after wrist surgery ended his rookie season.

“It really doesn’t matter” Perry said. “We’re still getting reps and everybody is kind of getting reps out there on the field so there’s no issue with that. Things happen. You just have to look forward to the game.”