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 best play of the Packers' 2013 season:
Rodgers connects with Cobb on 4th-and-8 to beat Bears and win NFC North
After about four consecutive weeks of "will he or won't he play?" the Packers finally got their wish heading into week 17 - Aaron Rodgers was suiting up. What remained to be seen was just how rusty (if at all) he would be versus the Chicago Bears, a team that consistently gives the Packers trouble. On the line? Oh, just a playoff berth, revenue for the team, maybe someone's job and, given the stakes, probably a heart attack or two among Packers fans.
To set the stage, I'd like to present an abbreviated retro diary of the events leading up to this play. For some background, I watched this game at a house with about 15 other people. For additional background, 4 of us had Packers socks on. That's how serious we took this.
Rodgers interception: "It's just rust, he's still getting his timing down"
Rodgers' second interception: *takes a drink*
Rodgers throws short touchdown to Randall Cobb: "We're going to the playoffs!"
Brandon Marshall touchdown: *takes another drink*
So, yeah. Needless to say this game had many of us in a glass case of emotion. But despite my irrational optimism after that last Packers score, the team still found themselves down by 1 with just over six minutes remaining. From there, Rodgers and company dinked and dunked their way through three drives, two of which required clutch fourth down conversions to keep the game (and season) (and perhaps myself) alive. With the Packers stalling after just two yards gained on the final drive, they once again found themselves in a do or die situation - 4th and 8 with just 46 seconds remaining.
Not to take anything away from what Rodgers did here, but this play unfolded in a very Favrian way. With Julius Peppers looking like he had activated his twice-per-game turbo boost on his way toward Rodgers, the room bellowed out a, NOOOOOOOO!!
Of course, John Kuhn had other ideas. A chip block allowed Rodgers to Houdini out to his left and within milliseconds, the room that had just yelled NOOOOOO!! and was now holding its collective breath in silence, saw the ball take flight and somehow, everyone knew what was waiting on the other end of that pass.
And that's when we all lost our damn minds and screamed, YEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!
Cobb finished off the last 10 yards of the 48-yard play (38 in the air) and the Packers, barring any Jay Cutler magic (LOL) were going to the postseason.
We all know what the impact on the game and the season was. But more importantly was the impact that play had on Packers lore. This was one of those plays that 10 years from now, you'll tell people where you were when Rodgers uncorked one to Cobb to beat the Bears. It was an historic play (in a season with a number of them) that gave the team an historic win. Not to mention, it finally put to rest the already dumb argument that Rodgers wasn't clutch in the 4th quarter. For all the cheering that took place after that play, the silence from the Rodgers haters was almost as gratifying.