*Continuing an annual series now in its third year, Packers.com has again compiled a series of "Favorite Fives," various Top 5 lists of big plays from this past 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" will appear each week for the next 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 2009.
The third installment is the Top 5 defensive plays in home games. In chronological order, they are:*
Johnny Jolly, interception of screen pass vs. Chicago (Sept. 13)
The Packers had a scant 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter of the season opener when new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler hit Johnny Knox deep down the right sideline for 68 yards to make it first-and-goal on the 8. But three plays later, Jolly made maybe the most impressive play of his four-year career thus far.
On third-and-goal, the Bears tried to set up a short screen to the right to running back Matt Forte. But Jolly read the play right from the snap, stepped in between Cutler and Forte and made a diving, one-handed interception of the short throw to keep the Bears off the scoreboard. It was the first of what turned out to be 11 passes defensed for Jolly on the season, a single-season team record for a defensive lineman.
Al Harris, interception to seal victory vs. Chicago (Sept. 13)
After Greg Jennings' 50-yard TD reception put the Packers ahead 21-15 with just over a minute left, the Green Bay defense needed to make one more stand, and it did so in just one play.
On first down from the Chicago 38, Cutler tried to hit Knox on a slant and Harris jumped the route, picking off the pass and returning it all the way to the Bears' 14-yard line. It was the Packers' fourth interception of the night, and after two kneel-downs by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay was 1-0 on the young season.
Charles Woodson, 37-yard interception return for a TD vs. Cincinnati (Sept. 20)
Of the Packers' four interceptions against the Bears in the season opener, stunningly none of them were by Woodson. But the veteran cornerback started making his case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Week 2.
With the score tied at 14 midway through the second quarter, Woodson stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Daniel Coats in the right flat and had clear sailing to the goal line to give the Packers the lead. It was Woodson's second interception of the game, and the first of three he returned for scores on the season.
Woodson, sack/fumble of QB Tony Romo vs. Dallas (Nov. 15)
In what almost certainly ranks as the best performance by an individual Green Bay defensive player this past season if not many seasons, Woodson made three spectacular plays against the Cowboys. He stripped receiver Roy Williams after a long gain (with teammate Clay Matthews recovering the fumble) and he picked off a pass at the goal line intended for tight end Jason Witten.
But this play was the best in this game, as Woodson came unblocked on a blitz from Romo's blind side early in the fourth quarter. He buried the quarterback and knocked the ball free, with Matthews eventually recovering the loose ball to give the Packers a first-and-goal on the Dallas 3-yard line. Three plays later the Packers were in the end zone and had a commanding 17-0 lead.
Tramon Williams, interception in end zone vs. Baltimore (Dec. 7)
Williams was having a rough night, to say the least. He had just been flagged for his third pass interference penalty in the game (for 106 total yards), this one in the end zone to make it first-and-goal on the 1 in the fourth quarter. But after Woodson tripped up running back Willis McGahee for a 2-yard loss on first down, Williams redeemed himself to preserve Green Bay's 24-14 lead.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco rolled to his right and committed the cardinal sin of trying to throw the ball back across the field. Demetrius Williams was the intended target in the middle of the end zone, but the ball never got near him as the Packers' Williams leaped to make the interception for a touchback.
- There you have it, another 'Favorite Five' for 2009, with more to come. Don't forget to watch the video and vote for your favorite in the fan poll on the left-hand side of the page.
Last week's voting results: For the top pass plays at home, Greg Jennings' 50-yard TD vs. Chicago earned 42 percent of more than 17,500 votes. Jennings' 64-yard TD vs. San Francisco was next at 27 percent, followed by Donald Driver's one-handed catch vs. Detroit (15 percent), Spencer Havner's 16-yard TD vs. Minnesota (7 percent) and Jermichael Finley's 19-yard TD vs. Baltimore (6 percent).*