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 9th-best play of the Packers' 2013 season:
Jordy Nelson Gets Both Toes Down
Opponent: San Francisco 49ers
Venue: Candlestick Park
The Packers opened up 2013 against the team that knocked them out the season before, the San Francisco 49ers. Playing on the road and wanting to perform at a higher level than their last meeting, the Packers prepared to play more physically on defense while their offense hoped to bring a more balanced attack than their last meeting.
In a game where neither team ever led by more than a single score, the 49ers moved ahead 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. After the two sides exchanged punts, the Packers took the ball from their own 24-yard line intent on establishing their first lead of the day.
Green Bay opened the drive with two Eddie Lacy runs for six and seven yards respectively. Aaron Rodgers followed with a short pass to tight end Jermichael Finley who bullied his way to a 13-yard gain. The Packers were now at midfield with a new set of downs.
The Packers lined up in shotgun. On Rodgers' right were Z receiver James Jones and Cobb in the slot. To his left, Finley positioned up tight against the offensive line with Nelson out wide. Running back Eddie Lacy situated himself next to Rodgers on the weakside as a personal protector and potential dump off option.
Prepared for Green Bay's aerial attack, the 49ers went with a cover-2 look. Despite outmanning San Francisco's pass rush 7-to-4 (Finley also stayed in to help on Aldon Smith), the pressure forced Rodgers out of the pocket and to his left.
At that point, Rodgers identified a back-shoulder possibility with Nelson. Running a fade against one-on-one coverage with cornerback Tarell Brown, Nelson created enough separation that a well-placed ball by the sideline could be scooped up for a big gain. Rodgers unloaded a strike right at San Francisco's 13-yard sideline marker, leaving Nelson to take care of the rest.
On first glance, it appeared Nelson's momentum had carried him out of bounds before he could get both feet down. Yet somehow, Nelson managed to toe tap his way into a catch, good for 37 yards.
Nelson's catch brought the Packers deep into the red zone. It also set up Eddie Lacy, whose three carries turned into 13 yards, a touchdown, and Green Bay's first lead of the afternoon.