GREEN BAY—Signature Snaps is back, our annual look at the top plays from the previous season, along with a poll allowing fans to vote for their favorites.
We'll continue our review of 2014 with the top five defensive plays, as selected by packers.com. They are listed and described here in chronological order.
Be sure to watch the video and vote in the poll. The top vote-getter in each Signature Snaps category will qualify for the final posting in the series, Play of the Year.
Top 5 defensive plays of 2014
Tramon Williams, INT vs. N.Y. Jets, Week 2
With the Jets looking to add to a 21-9 lead late in the first half, the Packers made the play that turned the tide. DT Mike Daniels pressured Jets QB Geno Smith and hit him as he threw, making his pass toward the end zone flutter. Williams was there to snag it, and the Packers drove for a touchdown in the final two minutes of the second quarter to cut into the deficit.
Check out the top five defensive plays of 2014. Photos by AP, Matt Becker, Jim Biever and Michael Biever.
Clay Matthews, INT at Chicago, Week 4*
The Packers had just taken a 24-17 lead in the third quarter against the Bears, who were in scoring territory when Chicago QB Jay Cutler tried to throw a quick slant to WR Josh Morgan. Williams jumped the route and deflected the pass up into the air, and Matthews came down with it, returning it 40 yards to set up a Green Bay touchdown for a two-score lead.
Julius Peppers, 49-yard INT-TD vs. Minnesota, Week 5
The veteran defender and future Hall of Famer showed he can drop into coverage when needed, picking off Vikings QB Christian Ponder's pass that had been partially deflected by DL Luther Robinson. Peppers ran all the way across the field to the left sideline and cruised untouched into the end zone for the first of his two pick-sixes on the season.
Goal-line stand at Miami, Week 6
Holding onto an early 7-3 lead against the Dolphins, the Packers defense was in a tough spot when Miami blocked a punt and recovered it in the red zone. A few plays later, it was goal-to-go, but the work of linemen Letroy Guion, Daniels and S Morgan Burnett against the run, plus a pass break-up on third down in the end zone by CB Davon House, allowed the Packers to stop three straight plays from the 1-yard line.
Julius Peppers, forced fumble vs. Dallas, NFC divisional
With the Packers trailing in the third quarter, 14-10, Peppers possibly saved this playoff game. Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray was about to run through a huge hole to his right when Peppers got an arm on him and stripped the ball. Instead of giving up a possible 59-yard TD run, the Packers got the ball back as DE Datone Jones recovered and Green Bay kicked a field goal to climb a little closer.