'Favorite Fives' of 2008: Top Special Teams Plays

Continuing a series begun a year ago, Packers.com has again compiled a series of "Favorite Fives," various Top 5 lists of big plays from this past regular season.

Each list will be accompanied by a brief description of the context, plus video clips of the plays. The Packers Fan Poll on the left side of the page will allow fans to vote for their favorite. A new "Favorite Five" has appeared each week for the last several weeks, with a new corresponding poll.

After all the lists have appeared, votes will be tabulated to compile a final "Favorite Five," and Packers.com visitors can then vote for their favorite play of the year for 2008.

The sixth installment is the Top 5 special teams plays. In chronological order, they are:

Will Blackmon, 76-yard punt return TD vs. Minnesota (Sept. 8)

The Packers were clinging to a 10-6 lead midway through the third quarter when the season opener tilted in their favor for good. Blackmon fielded Chris Kluwe's 49-yard punt at his own 24, headed toward the near sideline where two Vikings ran into each other. He then cut back to his right, all the way across the field, got a final block from Jason Hunter on Minnesota LB Chad Greenway, and took it in for a score that electrified the Monday night sellout crowd. It was Blackmon's third career touchdown, and second on a punt return, and it set the tone for a solid season on punt returns for the Packers.

Johnny Jolly, blocked field goal vs. Indianapolis (Oct. 19)

The Packers ended up winning this game by 20 points, but at the time this was a pretty big play. Indianapolis was poised to cut the Packers' lead to 24-10 with nine minutes left in the third quarter, plenty of time for Peyton Manning and Co. to mount a comeback. But Jolly blocked Adam Vinatieri's 45-yard field goal attempt, keeping the Packers ahead by 17. It was the first blocked field goal by the Packers since Cullen Jenkins got one against Pittsburgh back in 2005.

Blackmon, 65-yard punt return TD at Minnesota (Nov. 9)

Two minutes and 12 seconds earlier, the Packers had just pulled within 21-17 at the Metrodome on Nick Collins' 59-yard interception return for a score. With the help of a holding call on first down, the Green Bay defense then forced a three-and-out, and Blackmon weaved and darted his way up the middle of the field, changing direction several times on another long punt return to put the Packers in front with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Brett Goode, fumble recovery on punt return vs. Houston (Dec. 7)

The Packers trailed the entire game against the Texans and were punting from deep in their own territory when suddenly the game changed. Jeremy Kapinos, the left-footed punter appearing in his first game for Green Bay, got off a 37-yard punt to midfield, but Houston returner Jacoby Jones muffed the catch. Korey Hall had the first chance to recover it for Green Bay but couldn't. Then Goode, the Packers' first-year long snapper, emerged from the scrum with the ball, setting up the offense in good field position, and Green Bay drove 51 yards for the tying score with six minutes to play.

Mason Crosby, 69-yard free kick attempt vs. Detroit (Dec. 28)

It's a rare occurrence that requires taking advantage of a little known and somewhat obscure rule. But when Blackmon fair-caught a Detroit punt on the final play of the first half, the half was not over. The Packers, who used all three of their timeouts on the defensive series to force the Lions to punt, were able to attempt a free kick with no time on the clock because of the fair-catch rule, and referee Ed Hochuli turned on his microphone to tell the players to stop leaving the field.

Matt Flynn came out to hold for Crosby, who got a good leg into his 69-yard try. It was on-line but fell just a couple of yards short of the crossbar, and just short of breaking the NFL record for longest field goal by 6 yards. Had there not been a wind chill of around 10 degrees that day, who knows how much farther Crosby's kick might have flown.

So there you have it, another "Favorite Five" of 2008. Don't forget to watch the video of all five plays, and to vote in the fan poll on the left side of the page. Only the "Play of the Year" is left, and that will based on your "Favorite Fives" votes over the last several weeks.

Last week's results

In the voting for Top Defensive Plays, Aaron Rouse's 99-yard interception return for a TD vs. Indianapolis earned 66 percent of more than 27,000 votes cast. Nick Collins' 62-yard interception return for a score in the same game was next at 11 percent, followed by Charles Woodson's 41-yard interception return for a TD at Detroit (9 percent), Collins' 59-yard interception return for a TD at Minnesota (8 percent) and Jason Hunter's 54-yard fumble return for a score vs. Chicago (3 percent).

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