10 clutch moments that propelled Packers to 13-3

Big plays at key times vaulted Green Bay to No. 1 seed in NFC

210106-clutch-moments-2560
LB Za'Darius Smith forces a fumble on Saints QB Taysom Hill

GREEN BAY – Every season has its moments, and the Packers certainly have enjoyed a larger share of good ones than bad ones this season.

Games can hinge on specific sequences, and it's making the plays and capitalizing on those opportunities that create regular seasons like the 13-3 one the Packers just put together.

So here's a top 10, presented in chronological order, of the season's most clutch moments and their impact.

1. Late first-half flurry (Week 1 at Minnesota)

The Packers led the Vikings by a score of just 8-7 with less than a minute to go in the first half when they suddenly blew the game open. In a span of roughly 40 seconds, QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled to his right to throw a 24-yard dart to WR Davante Adams, who tiptoed the end-zone sideline for the score.

Two plays into the Vikings' next possession, CB Jaire Alexander stepped in front of WR Adam Thielen to make a juggling interception just inside Minnesota territory.

Then two plays after that, Rodgers hit WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 45-yard go route down the right sideline for another TD. Just like that, in a handful of snaps, the Packers led 22-7 and the Vikings never got within one score again in the eventual 43-34 decision.

2. Bang (Week 2 vs. Detroit)

The Packers spent the bulk of the first half against the Lions battling back from an early 14-3 deficit. Two touchdowns in the second quarter got them the lead, 17-14, which they maintained at halftime when Detroit K Matt Prater missed a 57-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

Then on the opening snap of the second half – bang – RB Aaron Jones burst through a hole up the middle and was off to the races, 75 yards to the house for a 24-14 advantage. Trailing early was soon a distant memory in a runaway 42-21 win.

3. Snatching it back (Week 3 at New Orleans)

Tied at 27 with the Saints early in the fourth quarter of a big, back-and-forth early-season game, the Packers went for it on fourth-and-1 just shy of midfield and – after a New Orleans replay challenged reversed the original call – didn't get it.

The Saints were in perfect position to take their first lead of the second half, but the Packers snatched the momentum right back. On second down, LB Za'Darius Smith drilled wildcat QB Taysom Hill in the backfield, knocking the ball loose and recovering it. The fourth-down stop was answered with a turnover.

The Packers drove for the go-ahead field goal, and the Saints never did retake a second-half lead in the 37-30 final.

4. Extra chance (Week 4 vs. Atlanta)

The Packers had just scored on a TD pass to TE Robert Tonyan with 2:28 left in the first half to take a 13-3 lead over the Falcons, who were expecting QB Matt Ryan to run an effective two-minute drill and get Atlanta back within one score before intermission.

But S Raven Greene had other ideas, blitzing Ryan on third down and burying him for an 11-yard loss, backing the Falcons up to their own 20 before punting, which gave the Packers an extra chance to score prior to halftime.

Green Bay did on yet another TD pass to Tonyan, and the Falcons were never in it as the Packers hit their bye week 4-0.

5. Sack attack (Week 10 vs. Jacksonville)

After splitting their next four games to get to 6-2, the Packers were in danger of letting a one-win Jaguars team upset them at Lambeau Field. With less than two minutes left, Jacksonville was trailing 24-20 but had the ball at the Green Bay 36-yard line with a chance for a game-winning score.

But the Packers' pass rush had other ideas. First, LB Rashan Gary bulldozed through Jacksonville's right tackle for a sack of QB Jake Luton on second down. On the next snap, Gary did almost the same thing, collapsing the pocket and forcing Luton to scramble. Preston Smith dove and tripped him up for a second consecutive sack, and the Packers survived.

6. Cruising with the convoy (Week 13 vs. Philadelphia)

The Packers saw a 20-point lead over the Eagles shrink to seven after a fourth-and-18 TD pass by rookie QB Jalen Hurts and punt return for a TD by fellow rookie Jalen Reagor.

With less than three minutes left, the Packers needed to close the game out, and they did with their longest play of the season. Jones broke off a 77-yard TD run with a convoy of blockers helping him all the way down the sideline to seal the 30-16 victory.

7. Long-distance delivery (Week 14 at Detroit)

Late in the fourth quarter, the Packers led the Lions, 28-21, and were looking to put the game away on offense. But a potential 52-yard field goal suddenly became 57 yards after a false start.

Despite the new distance being outside his pre-game range, K Mason Crosby told Head Coach Matt LaFleur he could make it, and he delivered. The 57-yarder with 3:30 left was just one yard shy of Crosby's franchise record for longest field goal, and it gave the Packers the cushion needed in an eventual 31-24 win.

8. Second verse, same as the first (Week 15 vs. Carolina)

One week later, the Packers needed Crosby's big leg again, this time outdoors in the cold at Lambeau. Protecting a similar margin (21-13) with roughly the same amount of time left as the previous week (3:39), Crosby drilled a 51-yarder to restore Green Bay's two-score advantage in what became a 24-16 victory.

9. New kid on the block (Week 16 vs. Tennessee)

The Titans already had rebounded from a 19-0 deficit to get back in the game at 19-14 before Jones' 59-yard run (with the help of the side judge missing his foot stepping out of bounds) set up a TD to restore some breathing room.

On their next possession, the Packers were looking for a potential knockout blow and faced a fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 30-yard line. A long field goal would have been dicey in the snowy conditions, so the Packers went for it and handed the ball to rookie RB AJ Dillon.

All Dillon did was slip a couple of tackles on his way to a 30-yard TD run to bust the game open, the biggest highlight of his 124-yard breakout game.

The score put the Packers back up by 19 again, at 33-14, and Dillon added a second TD for the 40-14 final.

10. Not this time (Week 17 at Chicago)

The Bears were having their way with fourth-and-short conversions, enjoying success on four straight, including two on a fourth-quarter drive when they were looking for the go-ahead score, trailing 21-16.

But the next fourth-and-1 was denied. From the Green Bay 25, with just over 11 minutes left, Chicago tried a sprint-out pass to WR Allen Robinson, but Packers nickel CB Chandon Sullivan was all over him and nearly picked off QB Mitch Trubisky's pass.

It was a turnover regardless, and a turn of momentum, as the Packers regained command of the game with a methodical 12-play, 76-yard TD drive.

That was followed by an Adrian Amos interception and another Green Bay TD to clinch the No. 1 seed with a 35-16 triumph.

Related Content

Advertising