While we were counting down our top ten plays of the Green Bay Packers' 2013 season, the NFL released a countdown list of its top 20 games from the entire league last year. With a season defined by so much drama and craziness, it's no surprise that the Packers had multiple entries on that list.
What is surprising is one of the games that was chosen, or rather the fact that it was ranked in the top ten, above another game which quickly became one of the most unforgettable games in recent Packers history. Still, when looking at this from a league-wide perspective, it's easier to understand why these rankings are the way they are.
For the full list, click here. We describe each of their picks for the Packers' games on their list below.
I would be willing to bet that this game would come in at #2 on every Packer fan's list of the best Packers games of 2013. Frankly, how this got slotted two slots below the next game on the list is beyond me, even accounting for the fact that this game ended in a Packers win while the next game was a loss.
This game had almost everything - a furious comeback, huge momentum swings, and big plays on both sides of the ball by both teams. Really, the only thing missing was a long series of lead changes; after all, the Cowboys jumped out to that 26-3 lead and the Packers only pulled ahead late in the game after Sam Shields' interception led to an Eddie Lacy touchdown.
This game was a complete mess on both sides, as each team turned the ball over four times. This was the game where the Packers' work on stripping the football in training camp showed that it was working, as they forced five fumbles by the Bengals and recovered three of them.
The Bengals surged ahead early to a 14-0 lead, followed by 30 consecutive points by Green Bay before the Bengals closed the game with three straight touchdowns. The unfair lasting image of this game will be the fumble by Johnathan Franklin late in the game that was returned for the winning touchdown by Reggie Nelson and Terrance Newman. Memorable? Sure, I guess, but not worthy of top-ten consideration in my opinion.
Once again, a Packers-49ers game was an instant classic. This time, though, it wasn't the shootout that many people expected, but rather a defensive struggle that would be punctuated by a last-second field goal by the 49ers. This game had its share of great Packers plays as well, but perhaps the most memorable was the one that wasn't made - Micah Hyde's almost-intercepted ball that could have ended a late 49ers drive.
It's no surprise here - the best game of the countdown featuring Green Bay was the one with the most late-game drama and the biggest impact in the playoff picture. Even without the final touchdown, this Packers-Bears game was destined to be a classic with the hilarity of the Jarrett Boykin fumble recovery score and multiple lead changes. But that play, that one which will live in joyful remembrance or in infamy depending on which side of the border you're on, that is what will be remembered forever.