When putting together a top-ten list of anything, inevitably there are candidates that get left out. Acme Packing Company’s list of the ten best plays of the Green Bay Packers’ 2018 season is no exception, and there were a number of notable plays that ended up just missing out on the tenth-place ranking.
While there was a clear separation between the ninth- and tenth-place plays, there were several plays within striking distance of that final spot on the full countdown. Here are the next six plays that narrowly missed out on our top ten, in descending order of votes.
Honorable Mention #1: Kevin King’s first pick sets up a winning-drive
In week six against the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers had just tied the game on a Davante Adams touchdown. However, before setting up Aaron Rodgers’ heroics late in the game — which contributed to our #9 play of the year — they had to get the football back.
Thanks to a nice kickoff return and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Tony Brown, San Fran got great field position for their final drive of the game, and crossed midfield on their first play. However, two plays later the Packers brought the house on third-and-three, leaving King in single coverage on Marquise Goodwin. A late turn of the head by King led to a huge interception — the first of his career — and set up the game-winning drive.
Honorable Mention #2: Aaron Rodgers’ dive and draw give Green Bay a late lead
It was a meaningless game in week 16, as the Packers and Jets battled for pride. However, a one-yard touchdown run by Rodgers with 6:32 left in the game pulled the Packers back within five points at 35-30. With the help of the team’s last two timeouts and a holding call on the Jets, the Packers’ defense got a stop and gave Rodgers and company another chance.
After a few pass plays, including a 26-yarder to Jamaal Williams on a screen, Rodgers scrambled for 23 yards to the one just after the two-minute warning. On fourth-and-one, however, he called his own number and just barely reached the football over the plane of the goal line for a touchdown to put the Packers ahead.
Then, following a penalty on the Jets on a failed two-point conversion attempt, Rodgers went read-option with Jamaal Williams, keeping the football and taking it in himself for a three-point Packers lead.
Honorable Mention #3: MVS burns the Rams for a long touchdown
With the Packers trailing the eventual NFC champion Los Angeles Rams early in the fourth quarter, the offense found some success with the passing game against LA’s secondary. A pair of receptions by Davante Adams for 15 and 20 yards set up the Packers on the Rams’ side of midfield.
Then, Marquez Valdes-Scantling struck. The blazing-fast wideout put a picture-perfect double move on Rams corner Troy Hill, and Rodgers hit him in stride. MVS sprinted to the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a narrow 26-20 lead.
Honorable Mention #4: Bashaud Breeland pick-sixes Matt Ryan
Mike McCarthy just got fired and Joe Philbin is in charge. The 4-8 Atlanta Falcons are in town. There’s still some semblance of a slim hope that the Packers could go on a mini-run and make the playoffs, though it’s unlikely.
But late in the first half with the Packers holding a 10-7 lead, Green Bay got the kind of impact play from its defense that it had not received most of the season. Green Bay only forced 15 turnovers all year, ranking 29th in the NFL, but Bashaud Breeland snuffed out an ill-advised Matt Ryan pass and took it back for six.
Breeland jumped Austin Hooper’s route up the right sideline, easily snagging the pass and running 22 yards untouched to the end zone for the team’s only defensive touchdown of the year.
Honorable Mention #5/6: A pair of Aaron Jones touchdowns
The Aaron Jones takeover finally occurred around midseason, as the Packers’ second-year back began getting the starts and touches that he had demonstrated he deserved. These two plays ended up tied in our rankings.
First was a 33-yard burst up the middle against the Rams, a big score that put the Packers back within a field goal of Los Angeles at the end of the third quarter. Then three weeks later in Seattle, Jones showed his receiving chops, running a picture-perfect wheel route out of the backfield and hauling in a 24-yard pass and falling into the end zone for a 21-17 lead just before the halftime break. Check out that play here at the 1:39 mark of the clip.
The Packers would end up losing both games, but not for lack of effort by Jones.
Stay tuned as we reveal our #1 play later today.