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!
The countdown continues with the 5th-ranked play, which sent one of the NFL’s best defensive backs into a tantrum.
The divisional round of the playoffs brought the Los Angeles Rams to Green Bay, and a Packers victory was far from certain. LA came in with one of the league’s best defenses, anchored by future hall of famer Aaron Donald, as well as league darling coach Sean McVay. If the Packers were to once again advance to the NFC Championship Game, they would need to get through a tough opponent.
While Aaron Donald and a bevvy of quarterback injuries were the big stories heading into the game, one of the major topics was how Davante Adams, the league’s best receiver, would fare against Jalen Ramsey, one of the league’s best corners. Adams does a lot of the hard work for the Packers, and teams that succeeded in limiting his production were also generally successful in slowing down the Packers’ offense. Could Ramsey be the difference-maker? Could the Rams’ defense keep their undermanned offense in the game? Or would the Packers advance to a second straight NFC Championship Game?
After trading field goals to kick off the scoring, the Packers started their second drive of the game with 4:36 remaining in the first quarter. It was an extremely run-heavy drive which featured only three complete passes of the 14 plays they ran, though they were aided significantly by an Aaron Donald roughing the passer penalty. It was a truly impressive display of power football, with Jamaal Williams gaining 22 yards on four carries, Aaron Jones adding 18 yards on four carries, and AJ DIllon chipping in another 5 yards on a key 2nd-and-1 carry.
On 2nd-and-6 from the LA six yard line, Williams would pick up five, setting up a crucial 3rd-and-1 from the LA one yard line. All of that power running was instrumental in setting up what happened next.
I want to start by saying that I love this play. Sure, in the grand scheme of things it was a simple one-yard touchdown, but it was also a clinic in design, in trusting your quarterback, in chemistry between players, in creative use of personnel groupings, and in understanding the situation.
It was also just a great troll of Ramsey. Usually it’s not a good idea to target the other team’s best corner on purpose, but every now and then the stars align for this kind of thing.
The Packers powered down the field, and so Los Angeles had to respect the possibility that Jamaal WIlliams, lined up to Rodgers’ right, just powers this in. But you’ll quickly notice that the Packers aren’t in a typical heavy bunch formation. While Marcedes Lewis is anchoring the left side of the line, on the right we have an interesting trips combo, with Allen Lazard acting as a de facto tight end, MVS in the slot, and Davante Adams wide, but not that wide. Already the Rams are a mess, with a bunch of defenders lined up over this blob of awesomeness.
Now the fun really starts. Check out the look.
There were plenty of options on this play. Williams could have taken a handoff and followed the left side of the line into the end zone. Lewis could have broken upfield for a glorified tackle eligible touchdown. The receivers could have run any number of pick plays. And the Rams are thinking about all of this, which is why they wind up getting burned. As soon as Rodgers saw that blob of defenders, he looked at Davante, Davante looked back, and the play was set.
Adams goes in motion, and Ramsey follows him across the formation. It’s a leisurely jog at first but as soon as Adams hits the top of the formation, he turns, and goes into a full on sprint.
And immediately those bunched up defenders turn into a major problem, because while Adams is running unimpeded, Ramsey is forced to slalom through his own guys.
It goes so poorly for Ramsey and the other Rams defenders that they’re essentially left with no one on MVS or Adams at the goal line.
Rodgers goes for his favorite, and we have the sweetest one yard touchdown you’ll ever see.
Jalen Ramsey is extremely mad. Maybe at his teammates. Maybe at himself. But in this situation, you can really only be mad at the universe.
The Packers took a 10-3 lead and control of the game. On the next series, Za’Darius Smith sacked the already injured Jared Goff setting up a 3-and out, and the Packers would capitalize with an Aaron Rodgers one-yard touchdown run, expanding the lead to 16-3. They would control the game going forward, and most importantly, the vaunted Rams defense had no answer for anything that Aaron Rodgers or Matt LaFleur wanted to do as they advanced through the Divisional Round of the playoffs.