The dog days of summer call for not one but two series of posts here at Acme Packing Company. While we look ahead to the next edition of the Green Bay Packers through our 53-man roster prediction this week and next, we are also taking a look back at the 2022 squad and some of our favorite moments from last season.
That means that today we are kicking off our Best Plays of 2022 series, as we count down the ten (well, technically 11) top plays as voted on by APC’s contributors. We start this afternoon with two plays that tied for the #10 spot thanks to a handful of votes for each play.
First up is a tremendous individual effort by a rookie receiver to get the Packers on the board in a prime time game before we look to later in the season and find a defensive superstar coming up in the clutch with a game-clinching interception.
Let’s get this countdown underway.
T-10: Romeo Doubs scores in Buffalo
Romeo Doubs’ rookie season played out much like a microcosm of the Packers’ season as a whole: a never-ending rollercoaster of ups and downs. From being the go-to target in a stagnant offense to working through an injury-riddled second half of the season, Doubs experienced it all. As we look back on the season’s best moments, however, we’d do well not to forget that Doubs truly did flash. There is something to build on as he enters his second year in a crowded but still wildly inexperienced wide receiver room.
Coming off of a disappointing zero-catch performance marred by drops the week prior in Washington, Doubs was looking for a get-right game. In Buffalo in week eight, the Packers got off to a slow start that had all the makings of a blowout. They looked outgunned and outmanned against one of the league’s top offenses. However, in the second quarter, thanks to a hefty dose of Aaron Jones, Rodgers and Doubs found themselves in the red zone.
Doubs’ third touchdown of the year came near the end of the second quarter. Motioning right across the formation, Doubs had Taron Johnson beat the whole way. While he may have made the catch harder than it needed to be, the acrobatic, spinning grab showed off the rookie’s knack for big plays.
The play is one of the many reasons newly anointed QB Jordan Love praised Doubs during OTAs for his ability to make tough catches and adjustments. Joint practices with both the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots are just a month away, so it won’t be long until we get a taste of Doubs’ connection with Love against real defenses. If acrobatic catches like this one become more routine, Doubs is one of many second-year Packers who could be in line for a big season.
T-10: Jaire Alexander’s interception clinches a win over the Bears
After a promising 3-1 start, the Packers went on a 1-7 streak, with that Bills game coming right in the middle of the cold stretch. The only win in that eight game span was an overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys at home. In week 13, Green Bay went into Chicago for a December contest against their biggest rival and needed to go on a miracle run. Sure, the Bears came in 3-9, but a Packers loss would mean both teams would leave Chicago with even records.
Chicago jumped out to a 16-3 lead, scoring on three of their first four possessions, but Green Bay took a chance with 17 seconds left in the first half. Christian Watson scored from 14 yards out on a 4th-and-4 play to get Green Bay back in the game before the break. Things slowed again early in the second half, but the Packers managed to get ahead 20-19 with just 4:49 left in the game.
Chicago took the ball and started to move immediately. In just four plays, the Bears were sitting 1st-and-10 at the Packers’ 43 yard line. With 2:57 left in the game, Justin Fields took the shotgun snap and faked an inside handoff to David Montgomery, while the Packers dropped into a zone and rushed four. Cole Kmet, Montgomery and Dante Pettis ran short, underneath routes, but Fields opted to go for the first down strike and threw to Equanimeous St. Brown on his left. St. Brown was standing at the Packers 25, but had to come back for the ball as Jaire Alexander jumped his route.
Alexander hauled in the football, completing the catch and falling forward to the Green Bay 32 yard line. According to ESPN Win Probability, that play moved the needle from Bears 52.5% likely to win to 74.9% Green Bay, a full 27.4% jump.
The momentum of that play was vast, as the Packers scored three plays later on a 46-yard rush by Watson that may come up again in a bit. They held on for a victory in Chicago, then won their next three games to even their record at 8-8 heading into the showdown with Detroit. Given the shift this play created in the game and the season, as well as the factor of the Greatest Rivalry in Football, Alexander’s pick stood out as a major turning point.
Check back on Tuesday afternoon when we reveal play number 9 on the countdown.