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.
After taking a look at Aaron Rodgers’ vintage pump fake to freeze Jalen Ramsey for the TD yesterday, we move on to our 6th top play: MVS’ 75-yard race to the end zone against the Vikings. In our first play that came in a loss, Valdes-Scantling tied things up late in the 4th quarter of a back-and-forth game. An offensive explosion by both teams provided stress and excitement down to the wire.
After a statement win in Arizona vs. the Cardinals, the Packers looked to be sitting pretty as the NFC’s top seed. Of course, news of Aaron Rodgers’ COVID diagnosis came down soon after, along with a weeks-long story about immunizations and ivermectin. The next week, Jordan Love and the Packers fell to the Chiefs 13-7 in an ugly offensive showing but Rodgers' return helped the team get back on track with a shutout win against the floundering Seahawks in week 10.
Week 11 marked the Packers’ first meeting with the Vikings and the start of a division-heavy end to the season. With the Buccaneers, Rams, and Cardinals hot on their heels, a win was vital. Rodgers put on a show in the second half but the Packers ultimately fell short on a last-second field goal from Greg Joseph.
After storming back from a 23-10 deficit, the Packers were in a position to win the game late. But the story of the game was the dominance of Justin Jefferson. Time and time again he made plays to propel the Vikings' offense while the Packers didn’t find their footing until it was too late. After getting out to an early 3-0 lead, the Packers didn’t lead again until 7:49 left in the 4th quarter.
After a 75-yard drive in the 3rd quarter that ended in a Davante Adams touchdown, the Packers' defense made the crucial stop, aided by a Preston Smith sack. Right on cue, a 12-play, 94-yard drive from Rodgers and co. put the Packers on top. After the Vikings responded with a 5-minute, 12-play touchdown drive, the Packers were down 31-24 and needed a quick score.
On the very first play of the drive, Rodgers uncorked a beauty to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had crossed Xavier Woods and broken free. Facing pressure, Rodgers stood in the pocket thanks to AJ Dillon, Lucas Patrick, and Jon Runyan diagnosing and picking up the stunt from the Vikings. Anthony Barr’s rush was stopped by Dillon and gave Rodgers the time he needed.
But with just over two minutes left, they left Kirk Cousins with too much time. There’s something you don’t see often. Or ever. Despite a disastrous near-turnover from Cousins that Darnell Savage had his hands on, the Vikings marched down the field for the game-winning field goal.
The loss was an incredibly costly one for the Packers. Losing Elgton Jenkins to a torn ACL felt like a harbinger of doom for the team’s title hopes, despite their valiant efforts in replacing him. In addition, Rodgers’ first-half performance and subsequent feet presser (Never show feet for free) showed he was still dealing with the effects of his toe injury. The loss was just the second in Matt Lafleur’s career against the NFC North, dropping him to 13-2 at the time.
Things looked bleak as the Packers hoped for Arizona and Dallas losses, but the next week’s win against the Rams raised spirits with a bye week following and the Packers finished strong to capture the NFC’s top seed.
Check back next Monday as we move on to the top 5 plays of 2021.