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Packers top plays of 2016, No. 9: Ty Montgomery, wide receiver no more

Our rundown of the Green Bay Packers' top plays from 2016 ramps up with one of Ty Montgomery’s most explosive plays of the season in a surprisingly close late season game against Chicago.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In a season filled with fascinating, incredible, and sometimes hilarious plays, we at Acme Packing Company looked back at the 2016 Green Bay Packers to determine which ones were truly the best. Over the next few days, we will reveal our countdown of the top ten plays of the 2016 season, as voted on by 13 APC contributors.

The contributors were asked to vote on what they believed to be the best overall plays of the 2016 season, based on a number of factors. Included in the analysis were impact on the season overall, impact within the game, highlight-reel spectacle, individual effort or achievement, and hilarity or ridiculousness.

The ninth-best play of 2016 on our countdown involves wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery justifying the team’s decision to change his position.

The situation

The Bears began the 2nd quarter trailing 7-0, and punting from their own 34 yard line, and holding penalties by Blake Martinez (accepted) and Jeff Janis (declined) buried the Packers at their own 10.

The play

This play has a little bit of everything in that it highlights both Montgomery’s raw instincts as well as some of his flaws, but more than anything it shows us what a total matchup nightmare he is in the backfield. Montgomery’s dual-threat nature, more than anything else, makes this play happen.

Click here to watch the play from the traditional broadcast angle.

The Packers line up in shotgun with Adams and Cobb at the top of the formation, Cook lind up at tight end on the left side, and Nelson split wide at the bottom. Montgomery is the lone back in this set, and the Packers are showing a heavy pass-first look. The Bears counter with a 4-2-5 nickel package. I believe Rodgers audibles to a run, though there is no way to be completely sure. At the top of the screen, Adams feigns a “stop” route freezing the DBs in the area while Cobb enters the pattern and engages as a blocker. After handing the ball to Montgomery, Rodgers rolls to the top of the screen selling the pass to Adams.

Here’s the play viewed from the end zone.

From the backside, you see the controlled chaos that defines every running play. There’s always a plan to execute when running the ball, but usually the back will have to make up for one or two mistakes by himself if the play is to succeed.

The first thing you notice is that a run was clearly the correct call. Montgomery has a play developing to his left led by TJ Lang, as well as a massive cutback lane with just one man to beat, if he so desires.

Ty Montgomery 2016 Play #9 image 1

Montgomery decides to follow Lang, and for just a moment this appears to be a terrible decision. Cook heads upfield to engage with linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski, and almost completely whiffs. Akiem Hicks and John Timu quickly cave in on Montgomery from the inside causing a collision between David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley.

Ty Montgomery 2016 Play #9 image 2

A lot has gone wrong here. Nelson has lost his block upfield and while Lang ran unaccosted through the hole, Montgomery looks like he was a step too slow, and all Lang accomplished was a double team on a safety who wasn’t making a play anyway. How exactly did this turn into a 61-yard run?

Montgomery powers through Timu and pulls a nifty spin move. Cornerback Demontre Hurst has shaken free of his block and looks like he has the angle and opportunity. Unfortunately for Hurst, edge rusher Pernell McPhee has also shed his block, and in the most Bear move of the entire play, McPhee takes out Hurst:

Ty Montgomery 2016 Play #9 image 3

while Jordy Nelson re-engages with a nifty...uhm...block,

Ty Montgomery 2016 Play #9 image 4

to spring Montgomery. 61 yards later, Tracy Porter managed to come from across the field and drag Monty to the ground. The explosion through a tight window, balance, and power Montgomery showed are a rare and deadly combination, especially for a guy with the receiving chops to almost always force you into a nickle defense.

The impact

While this play was entertaining and explosive, it had surprisingly little effect on the outcome of the game. On the next play Jared Cook would jump offsides and the drive would end when Montgomery was stuffed on 3rd and 1, and Aaron Rodgers was sacked on a 4th down try. The Bears would get a field goal on the subsequent drive to cut the Packers’ lead to 7-3.

Still, this play provided another example of just what Ty Montgomery is capable of, and helped solidify the decision to keep him the backfield for the foreseeable future.