All this week, Acme Packing Company will be going through the ten best plays of the Green Bay Packers’ 2015 season, as voted upon by our writing staff. Each person may have used different criteria for voting, but the common themes are similar: impact on the game or season, impressive individual effort, “wow factor,” or other qualities.
In a strange twist of fate, two plays were tied for the tenth spot on our countdown. Both of these plays were coincidentally made by the same player - rookie cornerback Damarious Randall - and both were taking place during furious late-game comebacks.
Here are the two plays that kick off our countdown at number 10.
Damarious Randall picks off Cam Newton to keep Packers alive
It’s week nine, and the Packers are coming off a 29-10 drubbing in Denver. After getting blown out of the water in the first half against the Carolina Panthers, the Packers came charging back in the second half and pulled to within a single possession at 37-29 on a Richard Rodgers touchdown reception.
The Carolina Panthers received the ensuing kickoff and with just 3:43 left in the game, Cam Newton dropped back to pass on first and 10 from his own 20.
Newton threw to the short right part of the field, intended for Ted Ginn, but the Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick jumped the route. Randall stepped in front of Ginn and, after a significant bobble, was able to haul in the pass and get both feet down before going out of bounds. Here’s a look at the play:
The Packers got the ball back at the Panthers’ 22-yard line, with a terrific chance to score once again and tie up the game with a successful two-point conversion.
However, the offense could not go those 22 yards, stalling out with two straight incompletions with goal-to-go and eventually an Aaron Rodgers interception on fourth and goal that effectively sealed the game for the Panthers. Though this play did not result in the tying score, Randall’s pick set up the offense with a perfect opportunity to do so.
Randall recovers an onside kick to give the Packers one more shot at beating the Lions at Lambeau
Just one week later, the Packers came home to host the Detroit Lions, who had not won in the state of Wisconsin since 1991. Another poor performance by the Packers’ offense resulted in the Packers cutting the Lions’ lead to 12-10 with about six minutes left. The defense gave up a score to extend the lead to 18-10 with just under two minutes left, but in under 90 seconds Green Bay went the length of the field and scored a touchdown to pull within two at 18-16. However, Aaron Rodgers’ two-point attempt fell incomplete and Green Bay was forced to attempt an onside kick with 36 seconds left.
Mason Crosby got great height on his kick, but it fell into the arms of a leaping Calvin Johnson. However, the football bounced off his right shoulder pad, and Randall was in the perfect spot to come down with the football before it even touched the ground.
Like the first play we mentioned, Randall’s bobbling catch of the football gave the Packers new life and one last chance to drive the field and either take the lead or at least tie the game. Unfortunately, this drive ended in failure as well, as Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Stay tuned for play number 9 on our countdown later on today.