The Green Bay Packers' 2013 season was a year defined by injuries, but also by unique and memorable plays. Here at Acme Packing Company, we will spend two weeks looking back at the ten best plays of the 2013 season as voted on by our writing staff.
Each person had their own criteria for deciding which plays were the best, but we took into account how memorable the play was, how big an impact it had within a particular game and for the season overall, how impressive a display of effort or athleticism the play had, and finally any hilarity or novelty factor.
Without further ado, here is our choice for the 4th-best play of the Packers' 2013 season:
Aaron Rodgers Becomes Aaron Football
Wild Card Weekend
Opponent: San Francisco 49ers
Venue: Lambeau Field
Week 17's stunning fourth-quarter comeback led by Aaron Rodgers pushed the Packers ahead of rival Chicago for the division crown. Their reward was a home playoff game against the highly regarded San Francisco 49ers. A year earlier, this same 49ers squad embarrassed the Packers to the tune of 45-31. This time around however, San Francisco would have to make the trek to freezing cold Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Unlike the massacre in San Francisco during the previous postseason, the Packers managed to keep the score close late into the game. After a drive that began at the 3:19 mark in the third quarter, Green Bay found itself down by 3 at the San Francisco 30-yard line facing a fourth-and-two situation. Head coach Mike McCarthy decided against convention and sent his offense back in to convert the down.
Deciding to put the ball in the hands of its best player, Green Bay called for a passing play from the shotgun. As the 49ers had enjoyed plenty of success pressuring Rodgers -- they had already registered four sacks, including twice on back to back plays the previous on Green Bay's last drive -- the Packers went with "11" personnel to offer greater protection for Rodgers. On either boundary were stationed Jordy Nelson and James Jones with Randall Cobb in his customary slot position.
Almost immediately after the snap, a five-man pass rush collapsed upon Rodgers. Seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, 49ers Ray McDonald and Ahmad Brooks all managed to get a hand on the Packers quarterback. A sack and turnover on downs appeared imminent.
Yet somehow, Rodgers danced through each defender's grasp and scrambled to the outside. There, he saw Cobb streaking down the right sideline ahead of defensive back Perrish Cox. Rodgers unloaded a strike to the receiver's back shoulder for 26 yards and a new set of downs.
The completion set the Packers up at San Francisco's four-yard line. Eddie Lacy gained three of those yards on first down with John Kuhn finishing off the drive with a one-yard touchdown dive the very next play. The score moved the Packers ahead 17-13, their first lead since the second quarter.