The Green Bay Packers won 14 games in 2019, compiling a 13-3 regular season record and a home victory in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Many tremendous individual plays contributed to that success, and with the summer upon us we at Acme Packing Company have ranked our favorites from the entire season.
Compared to 2018, when the Packers finished 6-9-1, 2019 was much more fun and had far more memorable plays to look back on. This year’s countdown was one of the toughest to decide in recent memory, with the top two plays separated by a single point. 11 APC contributors pitched in, each ranking our 15 favorite plays in order. After compiling the rankings, we finalized our top ten and will present them in reverse order over the next several days.
At number nine in the countdown, we have a play that showcased what Aaron Jones repeatedly put on highlight reels last season: scoring and catching passes.
During Week 7 last season, the Packers hosted the formerly-Oakland Raiders at Lambeau in what turned into an offensive showcase for the green-and-gold. The Packers were sitting comfortably at 5-1 with a game looming the next week against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
These October games can be make-or-break for teams who are looking to keep pace for playoff contention as the weeks begin to cool. Starting 5-1 is already better than expected for a team that has a rookie head coach, but these crucial midseason games are where you prove that the first month of the season wasn’t a fluke.
This was the Packers second non-conference game of the season right before a primetime matchup against the Chiefs. Ian Rapoport had reported that Patrick Mahomes would be out 3-5 weeks just that morning and if you believe in narratives, the Raiders game could’ve been a perfect trap game for Green Bay to ease focus and wonder what would happen next week if the Chiefs wouldn’t have their MVP quarterback.
Despite only giving up three points on the Raiders’ first drive, the Packers were gashed in a big way. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had gashed the Packers defense – tell me if you’ve heard this story before – to the tune of 53 yards on just three carries, including a 42-yard scamper. They kept the ball on the ground all the way to the Packers’ 26-yard line and that’s when two incompletions by Derek Carr on 2nd and 3rd down forced the Raiders to kick a 45-yard field goal.
The Packers got the ball back and started picking up their own chunks of yardage, only facing a single third down on the fifth play of the drive that included plays exclusively run out of shotgun and a penalty on Oakland’s Lamarcus Joyner.
On the sixth play in the drive, the Packers were sitting 1st and 10 at the Raiders 21-yard line, following a 29-yard pass to Jimmy Graham that converted a 3rd and 6. In shotgun formation, Davante Adams and Jake Kumerow were split out left and Allen Lazard right, with Jimmy Graham lined up by Bryan Bulaga. Jones was to Rodgers’ right.
Rodgers appears to know exactly where he’s going with the ball the entire way. Jones breaks out of the backfield up the seam, but starts to drift to the back-right corner of the endzone with Nicholas Morrow in man coverage on the third-year back. The safety help over the top had drifted away from the play to help on Lazard by the time the ball was in the air. Jones, facing the sideline, made a lightning quick adjustment to flip his body around to catch the ball in the back of the endzone before victoriously pointing to the sky and breaking out a jet-plane celebration with his offensive teammates.
The immediate impact from the play was Jones shaking the burden off his shoulders from the week before against the Detroit Lions. On a similar play and route from Jones, he dropped an easy TD while the Packers were sitting in a 13-0 hole in the second quarter. The Packers would barely eke out a 23-22 win in that game against a divisional opponent.
Against Oakland, the Packers offense continued to look like that first drive throughout the rest of the day as they chucked the ball all over the field, gaining 429 yards in the air (481 total) and six touchdowns.