*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 fourth installment is the Top 5 running plays in road games. In chronological order, they are:*
Aaron Rodgers, 4-yard TD at St. Louis (Sept. 27)
This game was closer than it should have been after the Packers jumped out to a 16-0 lead early. The Rams were within 23-17 early in the fourth quarter when the Packers drove 84 yards for an important score.
Moments after scrambling 12 yards to make it first-and-goal, Rodgers ran a well-executed quarterback draw for the touchdown, punctuating it with a dramatic spike in the end zone as the Packers had sealed their second victory of the season.
Rodgers, 12-yard TD at Tampa Bay (Nov. 8)
This was the play early in the fourth quarter in Tampa that appeared to give Green Bay a comfortable lead. One snap after being sacked on second down, Rodgers faced third-and-goal from the 12 and couldn't find anybody open.
He shuffled to his left and then took off upfield, faked out Buccaneers defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson, and found the end zone to give the Packers a 28-17 advantage with 13 minutes left. Unfortunately, it was all downhill after that, as Tampa Bay rallied for its first win of the year.
Ryan Grant, 62-yard TD at Chicago (Dec. 13)
The Packers hadn't scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage in a game since Antonio Freeman's 80-yard TD reception on Nov. 1, 1998, against San Francisco. Until now.
After the defense forced a three-and-out on Chicago's opening possession, the Packers took over on their own 38 and handed off to Grant off the left side. He broke through a big hole as fullback John Kuhn laid a key block on Chicago linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, and then Grant outran Charles Tillman down the sideline for his longest TD run since a 66-yarder two years prior, also at Soldier Field.
Rodgers, 14-yard TD at Pittsburgh (Dec. 20)
The Packers trailed 14-7 late in the second quarter when they put the ball in Rodgers' hands for an entire drive, which then became the theme as the game turned into a shootout in the second half. Beginning on his own 48, Rodgers completed five of seven throws to set up third-and-6 on the Pittsburgh 14. Finding no receivers open, he did find some open space to his left and sprinted into the end zone to tie the score.
It was Rodgers' fourth rushing touchdown of the season, tying his total from 2008. He would surpass that with one more rushing TD, on a sneak, in the regular-season finale at Arizona.
Grant, 24-yard TD at Pittsburgh (Dec. 20)
Sometimes an offense just calls the right play against the right defense. Or the defense calls the wrong play against the offense, depending on your point of view. In this case, midway through the fourth quarter, Grant had run the ball just once since about 10 minutes remained in the second quarter, but he took advantage of a rare opportunity in this game.
The Steelers were caught with one linebacker blitzing and another trailing receiver Donald Driver on a drag route the other way, leaving a huge hole for Grant off the left side. His fresh legs hit it with plenty of speed and he took it the distance to give the Packers their first lead in the game at 28-27.
*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 defensive plays at home, Charles Woodson's sack/fumble against Dallas QB Tony Romo earned 58 percent of more than 17,000 votes. Johnny Jolly's interception of a screen pass vs. Chicago was next at 23 percent, followed by Woodson's interception return for a TD vs. Cincinnati (10 percent), Al Harris' game-clinching interception vs. Chicago (5 percent) and Tramon Williams' interception in the end zone vs. Baltimore (2 percent).*