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! Today we move on to play number 9, which again features the Packers’ boom-or-bust wide receiver.
It’s Week 10, and the 6-2 Packers are on ten days’ rest from pummeling the undermanned and diseased San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football. The Jaguars are coming off a heartbreaking 27-25 loss to the Texans on a missed two-point conversion. The Packers are ascending to the top of the NFC. The Jaguars are openly tanking in a competitive tanking contest of an AFC.
It seems like this should be a de facto bye for the Green and Gold, and perhaps that was part of the problem. This game would come down to the last possession, and if not for the heroics of our...uhm..hero, it may have gone the other way.
Let’s start by giving major kudos to the spectankular Jacksonville Jaguars, who barely lost this game and may very well have won it if not for the unreal arm of Aaron Rodgers and incredible speed of everyone’s favorite Packer lottery ticket wide receiver. Jacksonville entered the game at 1-8, and started something called “Jake Luton” at quarterback, but the fact that the Jags were actively tanking for Trevor Lawrence and playing nonsense words at high leverage positions didn’t slow them down against Green Bay.
Jacksonville jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and held Green Bay in check for the entire first quarter. In fact, they came very close to taking control of the game early, as on the final play of the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers converted a key 3rd-and-3 from the Green Bay 16, hitting Davante Adams for 6 and avoiding a punt deep in their own territory. Instead, the Packers opened up the 2nd quarter with a fresh set of downs, and wasted no time in taking the game right back.
We often discuss how Matt LaFleur uses heavy personnel to create mismatches in the passing game, and this play may be the single best example we have. The Packers come out in 21 personnel with Rodgers in shotgun flanked on either side by Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.
Robert Tonyan is just off the line in a wide slot with Davante Adams drawing single coverage at the top of the formation, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling drawing single coverage split out wide at the bottom. The Jaguars smell run, but that smell was actually Gardner Minshew’s Axe body spray over on the sidelines, and in reality this play is over before it even begins.
The Jaguars put nine men in the box with safety Jarrod Wilson (26) arguably the deep man. I say arguably because he is still very much in the box. Adams is covered by the competent CJ Henderson, but MVS has drawn the once highly-touted Sidney Jones. Jones was a second round pick of the Eagles in 2017, and everyone loved his tape coming out of college, but he suffered an Achilles tear during his Pro Day, and he just hasn’t put it together as an NFL player. He was a third stringer for Jacksonville for most of 2020, and the fact is that he is much smaller and slower than MVS.
Sidney Jones was drafted with pick 43 of round 2 in the 2017 draft class. He scored a 5.72 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 554 out of 1293 CB from 1987 to 2017. https://t.co/6QkGMkJL5q #RAS pic.twitter.com/ZHV1UNEPG8— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) September 5, 2020
The Jaguars bring five rushers, but the Packers do a great job picking it up. Wilson, sensing grave danger, retreats immediately to the deep middle, but Robert Tonyan runs a sort-of-bad skinny post which does just enough to draw Wilson’s attention to the top of the formation. The rest of the Jaguar secondary and linebackers all break to the top as well in order to bottle up Davante, and pick up Jamaal Williams out of the backfield.
The result is nothing but open space for MVS, who immediately blows by Jones.
All it takes is a good throw from Aaron and Marquez is off to the races, but that’s not where our fun ends, because in a frantic effort to recover, Jarrod Wilson didn’t notice the poor official in the middle of the field, and well…
And that, my friends, is how you get Trevor Lawrence.
Here’s a look at the play in its entirety:
Did we just witness the most complete game of MVS's career?— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) November 15, 2020
- 6 Targets
- 4 Catches
- 149 Yards
- 1 TD
After a big game vs SF, we are starting to see MVS "stack success" and I'm loving every second of it. #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/x6bxExAMrT
This play took place early in the game, and I think most of us expected the Packers to seize momentum and run away with it. That absolutely did not happen, and the Jaguars played the Packers very tight the rest of the way. Jake Luton even had the ball in Green Bay territory, down by four with under 2 minutes to play, and very nearly pulled off a miracle. Without the bomb to MVS, it’s entirely possible the Packers would have dropped this contest.
This was also the team’s longest touchdown of the season at 78 yards.
In the grand scheme of things this game didn’t matter that much. Green Bay still would have finished 12-4, and Jacksonville still would have had the #1 overall pick. That said, this would have been an embarrassing loss, and sometimes those can do a number on your psyche. The Packers would lose an overtime game to Indianapolis (the only team to lose to Jacksonville) the following week, and that could have made for an ugly losing streak. Instead they righted the ship immediately and rolled off 7 straight wins.
Stay tuned on Wednesday as we switch to the defensive side of the football for play #8!