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.
Coming in at number two was an impact play, a game-sealing splash play by a new arrival who was playing his first game against his old team.
Week 1 against the hated Chicago Bears in a primetime matchup at Soldier Field would normally provide more than enough drama for a game. It was more than than for Adrian Amos, the former Bear who essentially flipped spots with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Bears fans and Chicago media spent much of the spring insisted Ryan Pace got the better end of this deal and Amos provided nothing more than run support as a box safety.
Though the game wasn’t billed as a referendum on this idea, it ended as one. Not only did the Packers defense outplay the vaunted Bears unit, but it was the ex-Bears safety, whom fans and media alike had under-appreciated, who made the deciding play.
With just over two minutes to go and the Packers clinging to a 10-3 lead, Mitch Trubisky’s one decent drive had a chance to tie the game. Facing a 3rd-and-10 from the 16-yard line, Chicago knows a field goal doesn’t help here. Even with three timeouts left, they’re going to need a touchdown either way and after this Green Bay defense harassed Trubisky all night, there was a good chance this was the only chance they were going to get.
The one mistake Trubisky couldn’t make was to give the ball away. Even with a field goal, if the Bears did somehow get the ball back, a touchdown would then win it, instead of tie it. An interception would almost assuredly end the game.
“I saw it when they got in that formation, I read it and I went to try and get the ball and I made the play,” Amos told Michelle Tafoya after the game.
With Allen Robinson the inside slot receiver and Tarik Cohen to his left, Amos identified the corner route from Robinson. Even if he hadn’t, Tramon Williams had blanket coverage on the play and may have been able to track down a pass breakup at least. Instead, Amos drifted to his right, broke on the ball, and a slight overthrow from Trubisky made it an easier play without having to contest with Robinson.
Late pressure from Rashan Gary off the edge may have forced Trubisky to rush the throw, leading to the off-target pass.
It wasn’t quite the clincher, but it certainly came close. The Packers still needed a last-second stop to secure the win, but this was the danger moment for Green Bay and Amos delivered for his new team. Not only did it put the exclamation mark on a critical NFC road win, but underscored a new way the Packers could win thanks to its defense.
In fact, Aaron Rodgers famously exclaimed, “We have a defense,” after this game featuring the critical pick from Amos along with a banner day from the pass rush, including an incredible 10 pressures from Za’Darius Smith.
This was a harbinger of things to come for the Packers defense, which thrived in red zone defense thanks to turnovers and relied on its pressure all year to make plays.
2019 Top Plays Countdown
#10: Davante Adams’ second TD helps put the Seahawks away
#9: Aaron Jones’ spinning TD catch makes up for a previous drop
#8: Aaron Jones secures NFC North title for the Packers
#7: Rodgers hits Adams for huge third-down conversion to all but clinch playoff win
#6: Packers’ goal-line stand on Christian McCaffrey with no time left
#5: Kevin King saves the day with an end zone interception
#4: Allen Lazard emerges and refuses to lose to the Lions
#3: Aaron Jones waves goodbye to the Cowboys
Tune in on Friday as we reveal the honorable mentions and our pick for the number one play of 2019.