GREEN BAY – It’s that time of year again, time to look back at some of the top individual efforts from the previous season, a series we call “Peak Performances.”
There aren’t as many to choose from in a 7-9 campaign, obviously, but each quarter of the season still produced plenty to reflect upon.
We’ll cover 2017 in segments – four quarters, four games apiece, in chronological order – and allow you to vote for your favorite each time. The top vote-getters will then be up for Peak Performance of the Year.
So let’s get started.
DT Mike Daniels vs. Seattle
This was the most dominant individual defensive performance of the season for the Packers, and it came in the opening game. In Green Bay’s 17-9 win, the Seahawks simply couldn’t block Daniels, and he lined up across from several players. He was in the backfield all day, with three tackles for loss and multiple third-down pressures. He teamed with Nick Perry for a 10-yard sack of QB Russell Wilson, and he later punched the ball out of Wilson’s hand for a sack-fumble deep in Seattle territory that led to a Green Bay touchdown. He was the biggest reason the Seahawks never found the end zone.
WR Jordy Nelson vs. Seattle
It wasn’t a career night for Nelson by any means, but it was the efficiency of his connection with quarterback Aaron Rodgers that stood out. On eight targeted passes, Nelson caught seven of them for 79 yards and a TD. The score came in classic Rodgers-Nelson fashion, late in the third quarter with Rodgers catching the Seahawks with 12 defenders on the field. Nelson bolted down the middle on the free play and hauled in a 32-yard touchdown before the defense could react.
WR Geronimo Allison vs. Cincinnati
With fellow receiver Randall Cobb sidelined, Allison more than filled in, recording six catches for a career-high 122 yards, sparking the entire offense late in the game. He caught a tipped pass for a 9-yard gain that helped lead to a field goal early in the fourth quarter. On the Packers’ tying touchdown drive, he caught passes for 17 and 11 yards to get Green Bay across midfield. Then on Green Bay’s third snap of overtime, with Rodgers drawing the defense offside for a free play on third-and-10, Allison slipped behind the defense for a deep ball he took 72 yards in all, setting up the game-winning field goal.
S Josh Jones vs. Cincinnati
The rookie safety and second-round draft pick made his presence felt in this early-season game playing most the “nitro” linebacker spot in his first start. He had two sacks among his 11 tackles, with both sacks coming on third downs, making him the first rookie defensive back in team history with a two-sack game. The second sack turned a 40-yard field goal into a 48-yard try that Cincinnati missed in an effort to re-establish a two-score lead. In overtime, his open-field tackle of Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft on third-and-6 led to the punt that preceded Green Bay’s game-winning points.
LB Clay Matthews vs. Chicago
Matthews not only became the franchise’s all-time sack leader on this Thursday night, but he did it in style. With the Packers already leading 7-0, Matthews blew into the backfield on the Bears’ first offensive snap and punched the ball from quarterback Mike Glennon’s grasp. Teammate Jake Ryan recovered at the Chicago 3-yard line, and very quickly the Packers had a two-touchdown lead. It was Matthews’ 75th career sack, topping Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila in the team record book.