It’s incredible how far the Green Bay Packers have come from dropping their fourth straight game in Washington to beating the #1 seed in the NFC Divisional Round to continue an 8-game winning streak. For Packers fans, this game was a roller coaster of emotions as most playoff games should be, but finally, what seemed like another potential heartbreaker turned into an incredible win heading into the NFC Conference Championship.
Since 2010, Green Bay has had a tough go in the playoffs. A 37-20 loss to the Giants in 2011 after a 15-1 season. Colin Kaepernick running all over Dom Capers’ defense in both 2012 and 2013. Bostick in Seattle in 2014… And then the Larry Fitzgerald 75-yard pass in OT after Rodgers’ second hail mary of the season… Blowing a 21-3 lead seemed like a perfect setup for another disappointing end to a season, but here are the top five plays in my opinion that resulted in elation instead of depression.
5. Ty Montgomery 3 Yard Touchdown
A rushing touchdown!? In the playoffs!? Something that wasn’t expected based on how this season has gone. If the run game can get going this offense becomes a threat that no defense can handle and Ty Montgomery pounding it in for two touchdowns on 11 carries for 47 yards is a great output for a wide receiver turned into a running back.
4. Richard Rodgers 34 Yard Touchdown
A common theme for the Packers this season, especially during their slump, is starting off slow. We saw it last week against the Giants, but fortunately that wasn’t the case against Dallas as they scored three touchdowns in as many possessions to start off the game. Not only is it big to get ahead, but to do so on the road against the best team in the conference results in even more momentum. If Rodgers and the Packers can set the tone for every game they’ll be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks.
3. Micah Hyde Interception
Although this turnover ended up resulting in Rodgers’ first interception in 318 passes, getting the first turnover of the game is huge in terms of momentum as an underdog on the road, not to mention Hyde jumped a screen pass to force the turnover. Perfectly done and great timing as it followed a touchdown to start the second half.
2. Aaron Rodgers 36 Yard Pass to Jared Cook
3rd & 20 on their own 32. 12 seconds to go in the game. Rodgers came into that huddle and drew up that play, assigning each receiver a route. The man is a wizard. We go to bed stressing about life and this guy is laying in bed drawing plays in his head to potentially win football games. That’s a guy you want on your team. I’d be shocked if he ever leaves the game of football. He lives and breathes it and he’d go insane without it.
1. Mason Crosby 51 Yard Field Goal
To hit a 51 yard field goal twice with that kind of pressure mounting shows that no one is afraid to be a playmaker on the Packers. From offense to defense to special teams. And to think Mason Crosby’s days in Green Bay could’ve been over when he went 21-33(63.6%) in 2012. Fast forward 5 years and he’s winning big football games.
Set the tone early, contain Julio, keep the offense rolling, and Green Bay is on their way to Houston.