*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 second installment is the Top 5 pass plays in home games. In chronological order, they are:*
Greg Jennings, 50-yard TD vs. Chicago (Sept. 13)
This one not only got the Packers out of the gates in 2009 with a big victory over an arch-rival, it also laid to rest all the doubts about whether Aaron Rodgers could lead the team to victory in a down-to-the-wire game.
The Bears had just taken a 15-13 lead on a field goal with 2:35 left. The Packers took over on their own 28-yard line, a short pass to Jennings picked up a first down, and a 9-yard scramble by Rodgers made it third-and-1 at midfield. On the next snap, blitzing linebacker Nick Roach incorrectly chased a play-action fake to running back Ryan Grant, allowing Rodgers enough time to loft one down the left sideline to Jennings, who had easily beaten Nathan Vasher's one-on-one coverage. The touchdown and ensuing 2-point conversion, also to Jennings, with 1:11 left gave the Packers a 21-15 win.
Donald Driver, 37 yards vs. Detroit (Oct. 18)
This was the second incredible one-handed catch by Driver in a span of three games, but the only one in front of the home fans. After making a similar catch at St. Louis in Week 3, Driver repeated the feat in the third quarter of this game, fending off Detroit cornerback Demarcus Faggins down the left sideline and hauling in Rodgers' rainbow throw with one arm for a 37-yard gain.
The pass interference call on Faggins didn't matter, and even though the Packers were already in command of this game at 26-0 and Driver's great catch ultimately didn't lead to any more points, it capped a memorable day for Driver, who broke Sterling Sharpe's franchise record for receptions in the first quarter.
Spencer Havner, 16-yard TD vs. Minnesota (Nov. 1)
Down 24-3 to the Vikings at one point in the third quarter, the Packers mounted a furious rally, and this clutch touchdown catch by Havner really got the Lambeau Field crowd back into the game. The Packers had just kicked a field goal and then recovered a Minnesota fumble on the ensuing kickoff before facing a crucial third-and-8 at the Vikings' 16-yard line.
Another field goal might not have done much good, and when Rodgers scrambled to his left it didn't look like he had anybody open. But he threaded a bullet into the end zone to Havner, who made a diving catch for the score to pull Green Bay within 24-13. Havner, filling in for an injured Jermichael Finley, had scored his first NFL touchdown the previous week at Cleveland, this was his second, and he added another on the Packers' next possession as the former linebacker became a key offensive threat in Finley's absence.
Jennings, 64-yard TD vs. San Francisco (Nov. 22)
Jennings hadn't had one of his classic catch-and-run scores in a while, where he turns a short pass into a big gain. But this one certainly qualified.
With the Packers leading the 49ers just 6-3 in the second quarter, Jennings had just caught a 9-yard pass to convert a third-and-5 when he took a short slant over the middle, made a nice move to avoid a tackle and then sprinted into the open field. He outran a couple of San Francisco defenders as fellow receivers Driver and Jordy Nelson ran some interference for him and the Packers extended their lead on their way to a 30-24 win. Jennings finished his day with five catches for a season-best 126 yards.
Jermichael Finley, 19-yard TD vs. Baltimore (Dec. 7)
Having returned from a knee injury just two games prior, Finley showed just how difficult he can be to handle in this big Monday night win. Earlier in the game, he caught a 2-yard TD pass on a fade route, easily out-jumping Baltimore safety Tom Zbikowski to snag the throw.
Then in the fourth quarter, he victimized Zbikowski again. Baltimore had rallied from a 17-0 deficit to get within 17-14 when Rodgers found Finley over the middle and the second-year tight end bowled over Zbikowski near the goal line to get into the end zone for the score. The 24-14 lead eventually became a 27-14 victory, and Finley had the first two-touchdown game of his career.
- 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 running plays at home, Rodgers' 35-yard scramble vs. Minnesota got 49 percent of a little more than 22,000 votes cast. Ryan Grant's 56-yard TD run vs. Seattle was next at 38 percent, followed by Ahman Green's 6-yard TD vs. Seattle (7 percent), Grant's 21-yard run vs. San Francisco (4 percent) and Brandon Jackson's 6-yard TD vs. Seattle (1 percent).*