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Packers’ Top Plays of 2020, #10: MVS’ contested touchdown in Detroit

To kick off our countdown, a receiver who has struggled with drops makes a tremendous contested catch to give the Packers a lead in a divisional game on the road.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Acme Packing Company’s writers have watched the film on the Green Bay Packers’ 2020 season and compiled our lists of the best plays from last year. Each writer voted on their favorite plays, combining qualities that include a play’s impact on a game or the season, outstanding individual or team effort, and amusement or hilarity factor.

Ten APC contributors submitted votes for the 15 best plays of the season, which we have combined and whittled down to the top ten plays of 2020. Please enjoy our countdown over the next two weeks!

To kick off our countdown of the top ten plays of the Packers’ 2020 season, we look at the Week 14 touchdown catch from Marquez Valdes-Scantling that helped pull the Packers ahead of the Lions in a win that pushed the Packers into the top spot in the NFC.

The Game

In Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, Marquez Valdes-Scantling put the Packers ahead by breaking a 7-7 tie with a touchdown of his own. Green Bay entered the week at 9-3 and in the second spot in the NFC, hoping to catch the 10-2 Saints for the top spot in the conference. Not only did this play help the Packers take one more step closer to the one-seed in the playoffs, but it was critical in looking at MVS’ development as a more well-rounded wide receiver.

The Situation

The Lions had scored an opening touchdown in the first quarter, but the Packers responded quickly with a long touchdown by Davante Adams. In due time, Green Bay would take the lead with another TD.

Following a Lions punt, the Packers marched down the field in the beginning of the second quarter. On second-and-9 from the 14-yard line, MVS was split out right with Davante Adams in the slot. Aaron Jones was positioned to the left of Aaron Rodgers in shotgun formation and Robert Tonyan positioned inline to left.

With the game tied, the Packers needed to take control of the game. The previous score of Adams catching a slant and booking it towards the TD was the catalyst, while the MVS score was a momentum booster.

The Play

Green Bay was in the red zone on the 14 yard line, so the typical moon shot to MVS was out of the question. Rodgers hiked the ball and looked nowhere else, but for the back shoulder fade to Valdes-Scantling. Despite the tight coverage by Lions sophomore defensive back Amani Oruwariye, the MVP QB exploited one-on-one coverage. MVS caught the ball away from his body around the two-yard line and spun across the goal line for his fifth TD reception on the year.

It’s no secret that MVS has struggled with drops in his young career. He was sixth in the NFL last year in drop percentage and had seven total drops. But this reception and concentration perfectly displayed the upside that MVS has as he continues to improve year-over-year. The downfield threat had a good season last year, but unfortunately, it was clouded by a few no-show games.

The Impact

While MVS was sixth in drop percentage last year, he was third in yards before catch per reception and third in average depth of target. If he fixes his drops and works on his concentration, just like he displayed in this very TD catch, those advanced yardage stats can turn into real yards per reception and equate to a a 1,000-yard season.

The play gave the Packers the lead, and though the Lions would tie the game before halftime, Green Bay would pull ahead for a 31-24 victory. Combined with a surprising loss by Saints in Philadelphia the same afternoon, the Packers took control of the number one seed in the NFC and would finish the year on a six-game winning streak, taking home-field advantage into the postseason.

Stay tuned on Tuesday when we reveal our #9 play of 2020!