clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Packers top plays of 2015, No. 7: Aaron Rodgers clowns the 49ers defense

Even after his 30th birthday, Mr. Rodgers remains the most difficult quarterback to defend in the NFL.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Acme Packing Company's rundown of the Green Bay Packers' top plays from 2015 continues with a selection that puts Aaron Rodgers' football IQ, athleticism and arm on full display. Though overshadowed by bigger moments later in the season, perhaps not even the Hail Marys better showcase the quarterback's ability to keep the play alive with his legs.

The situation

The Packers nearly kicked off the game's opening drive with an 80-yard bomb, the type of play conspicuously absent from the offense for most of 2015. Aaron Rodgers hit Ty Montgomery in stride down the 49ers sideline after the rookie wideout had already beaten his name in coverage. However, as young players often do, Montgomery dropped the pass, beginning what turned into the kind of methodical drive that typified Green Bay's struggles throughout the season. If not for an illegal contact penalty on San Francisco linebacker Michael Wilhoite wiping out a sack two plays later, the team would have punted the ball away and the magic that ultimately capped off the drive would never have transpired.

Rodgers moved the ball in chunks after Wilhoite's penalty gave the Packers new life. Short passes and modest runs pushed the offense into the red zone, with the biggest gain resulting from Rodgers hitting Randall Cobb on a quick slant and the receiver running for 9 more yards. That play pushed Green Bay to the San Francisco 11-yard line, setting the stage for one of the most impressive athletic feats of Rodgers' 2015 season.

The play

The Packers lined up in the shotgun with tailback Eddie Lacy settling in off Rodgers' left hip with two receivers lined up on either side of the formation. Montgomery lines up wide on the field side with Cobb occupying the slot while Richard Rodgers works the other boundary with James Jones working inside. Jones' presence pulls Wilhoite into coverage, pushing Rodgers to flip Lacy to his right.

At the snap, Rodgers first looks to Jones on a wheel route, but the 49ers have him effectively covered. Montgomery, running a quick slant, jukes his man on the opposite side of the field, but by the time Rodgers turns back to him, he has run into a barrage of bodies just in front of the goal line. At this point, Rodgers has pressure falling right in his lap courtesy of defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey. The quarterback to spins out of harms way and resets his stance.

Still unable to locate an open receiver, Rodgers now has pressure coming from his left. Sensing his opportunity, linebacker Aaron Lynch launches at the quarterback, but Rodgers deftly side steps him using left tackle David Bakhtiari as a pick. Now running to his left, Rodgers spots his tight end open in the back of the end zone. Throwing across his body, the reigning MVP hits his target just before he slides out of play, producing the first points of the game.

The impact

Though the Packers put 10 more points on the board that afternoon, their spectacular first touchdown proved the only score they needed. The 49ers mustered only a field goal of their own during a defensive affair that saw only one receiver, Green Bay's Jones, amass 60 or more yards.

The win kept the Packers undefeated, a streak that would continue until after their Week 7 bye.

The countdown

10. Damarious Randall recovers the onside kick/picks off Cam Newton
9. James Jones beats Josh Norman deep on fourth down
8. Randall Cobb's one-handed lung-buster

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.