*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 sixth installment is the Top 5 defensive plays in road games. In chronological order, they are:*
Clay Matthews, 42-yard fumble return TD at Minnesota (Oct. 5)
Getting the first start of his NFL career at the Metrodome, Matthews took advantage by making a play that will be on his highlight reel for years to come. With the Packers' run defense stringing out Vikings running back Adrian Peterson toward the sideline, Matthews attacked Peterson from the side and got both hands on the ball.
He not only ripped it out, he held onto it and raced 42 yards the other direction for a touchdown that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. Matthews would go on to post two forced fumbles and four recoveries on the season, including playoffs, but he got one of each on the same play here.
Charles Woodson, 38-yard interception return TD at Detroit (Nov. 26)
Already in the midst of a brilliant defensive effort against Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson (two catches, 10 yards), Woodson took it to another level late in the fourth quarter. He stepped in front of Johnson on a simple in route and took the interception 38 yards the other way for the score, striking the Heisman Trophy pose in the end zone for all the Michigan fans who remembered seeing him win that trophy for the Wolverines back in 1997.
Nick Collins, interception and 31-yard return at Chicago (Dec. 13)
Trailing the Bears 14-13 early in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field, the Packers needed a big play and got one from the defense here. Cornerback Tramon Williams blitzed from the right side as safeties Collins and Atari Bigby rotated over to play bracket coverage on receiver Johnny Knox.
With Williams bearing down on him, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler let go of a badly underthrown pass that Collins easily intercepted and returned 31 yards to the Bears' 11-yard line, setting up the winning touchdown in a 21-14 victory.
Woodson, 45-yard interception return TD at Arizona (Jan. 3)
Any doubts that Woodson would win the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award were erased on this play, as he jumped a slant route by Larry Fitzgerald, intercepted Matt Leinart's pass and pirouetted back toward the far sideline, where he had a convoy of blockers to help him dive across the goal line for the score.
It was Woodson's ninth interception of the season, a career-high, and his third returned for a touchdown, tying a franchise record.
Woodson & Matthews, strip and recovery of Larry Fitzgerald fumble at Arizona (Jan. 10)
Similar to the play he made against Dallas receiver Roy Williams in November, Woodson punched the ball out of Fitzgerald's arms after a reception. Matthews, who also recovered the fumble in the Cowboys' game, scooped up the loose ball and rambled 29 yards the other way to jump-start the Packers' comeback from an early 17-0 deficit.
*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 top pass plays on the road, Greg Jennings' 83-yard TD at Pittsburgh got 41 percent of more than 30,000 votes. Jermichael Finley's 62-yard TD at Minnesota was next at 28 percent, followed by Jennings' one-handed 6-yard TD at Arizona in the playoffs at 13 percent, Donald Driver's 68-yard catch at Detroit at 7 percent, and Driver's 46-yard one-handed catch at St. Louis also at 7 percent.*