Each year, Acme Packing Company’s writers vote for the Green Bay Packers’ top plays of the previous season. Our votes are based on the impact of the play, spectacular individual or team effort, or sheer amusement value we compile the votes to list out the top ten plays. Join us over a two-week span as we count down from 10 to 1 in the Packers’ Top Plays of 2021.
Earlier today, we revealed the first of two plays that finished our voting tied for the 10th spot on our countdown. Rasul Douglas’ second pick-six of the season was one that helped cement his legendary status in Green Bay after just a handful of games and is a worthy inclusion on this list.
The other play that tied for 10th place took place months earlier, when Douglas was still on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad. It’s easy to forget after all of the Packers’ special teams struggles throughout the 2021 season that those units actually helped to deliver a critical road victory early in the season. In this big prime time matchup, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams set up the win, but it was classic clutch Mason Crosby who converted a long field goal attempt to send the Packers home from California in a good mood.
It’s week three, and the Green Bay Packers are still facing questions about their identity. Just two weeks earlier, the New Orleans Saints blew them out 38-3 in the season opener in Jacksonville, chasing Aaron Rodgers from the game and sending much of Packers nation into a frenzy. Green Bay bounced back with a win over the lowly Detroit Lions at home in week two, but a trip to San Francisco — a house of horrors for Matt LaFleur in recent years — gave the team a chance to deliver a statement win against a quality team.
This game took place on Sunday Night Football, with the entire football-watching world watching to see if the Packers could finally travel to California and beat a full-strength 49ers team.
Green Bay jumped out to a big lead in the first half, with Mason Crosby hitting a 54-yard field goal early and the Packers getting touchdowns from Davante Adams and Aaron Jones to go up 17-0 with a minute left in the first half. However, the 49ers bounced back, with a 68-yard kickoff return setting up a Trey Lance touchdown run as the clock hit zero on the second quarter.
San Francisco pulled within three in the third before the two teams traded touchdowns early in the fourth. Crosby’s second field goal of the game put Green Bay up by six with a bit more than two minutes to go, but the Packers’ leaky defense gave up a big play to George Kittle and back-to-back-to-back 12-yard gains, the final one resulting in a touchdown by Kyle Juszczyk to give the 49ers their first lead of the day.
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams would not go quietly into the night, however. Without any timeouts, the two connected on two long passes to get the Packers to the edge of field goal range as Rodgers spiked the football with two seconds remaining.
Not much went right for the Green Bay Packers’ special teams in 2021. That unit was known for repeated disasters all season long, and their failures against San Francisco a few months later would lead directly to the team’s elimination from the postseason. However, on this occasion, everything went perfectly.
Hunter Bradley’s snap from the left hash was on-target. Corey Bojorquez handled the ball and placed it cleanly. And although the 49ers had a wing player coming unblocked around the right side of the Packers’ line, he was a touch late as Crosby drilled his 51-yard field goal straight down the middle.
Watching the video linked above, the Packers’ relief and excitement is obvious. This was a team desperate for a statement win after having been embarrassed two weeks earlier, and one that had seen too many things go wrong at Levi’s Stadium during the 2019 season.
This was also the second game of a seven-game winning streak, which helped to keep Green Bay right in the thick of the race for the top seed in the NFC all season long. They would need every win they got in 2021, as their 13-4 record gave them the lone first-round bye thanks to a conference record tiebreaker over the Buccaneers.
The play was arguably the brightest spot for the Packers’ special teams all season. Two weeks later, Crosby and Bengals kicker Evan McPherson battled in a fourth quarter and overtime duel to see who would finally fail to miss a field goal attempt. The Packers would have numerous kicks blocked over the course of the season while coverage units struggled. Ultimately, the issues would culminate in tragedy against these same 49ers, who blocked a field goal and a punt at Lambeau Field in the Divisional Playoffs. That led to Maurice Drayton receiving a pink slip and the Packers finally paying top dollar for a special teams coordinator to bring in Rich Bisaccia in the offseason.
But on this late Sunday night, Crosby and the specialists delivered the game-winning strike after heroics from Rodgers and Adams gave them the opportunity, and that win proved to be crucial down the stretch as the team fought for a second straight #1 playoff seed.
Come on back Tuesday as we reveal play number 9 on our countdown.