Green Bay Packers: Top 5 Plays of the 2011 Season
The Packers may have had a disappointing playoff run, but that doesn't take away what they've been able to do in the regular season, going 15-1 and winning the most games in one season in franchise history.
The disappointing loss to the Giants doesn't take away some of the greatest plays of the year either. From the 51 different touchdown receptions, to all the turnovers created by the defense, this Packers team has had plenty of big plays this season that will be added to the highlight reel.
Here are the five most memorable plays of the Packers' very memorable 2011 season.
5. Jordy Nelson's 93-Yard Touchdown Reception vs. St. Louis
On Oct. 16, the 5-0 Packers played the 0-4 Rams, and while the Packers' domination in the game was to be expected, there were still plenty of great plays. One of them was Jordy Nelson's 93-yard touchdown reception, a personal high for both Rodgers and Nelson.
In the second quarter, Rodgers connected to Nelson, who caught the ball around the 30-yard line, and juked a couple of receivers to run the ball 70 yards for the score. It was one of Nelson's many highlights of the season, and what made it even more memorable was the defender that he beat for the touchdown was none other than former Packer Al Harris.
4. Ryan Grant 80-Yard Touchdown Reception vs. Lions
Ryan Grant was largely quiet for most of the 2011 season, but this play in the final game of the regular season was a gem. With Matt Flynn as the starter, Grant caught a screen pass, found a hole and turned on the jets as he beat the Lions for an 80-yard touchdown. It was Grant's second big-play touchdown of the season, as he ran in another long one against the Raiders.
This play sparked a back-and-forth battle between the Lions and Packers on Lambeau Field, with both teams trading big plays in a 45-41 win for the Packers. Unfortunately, this would be their final win of the 2011 season.
3. Jordy Nelson Catch vs. the Giants
Although this one didn't go for a touchdown, this is easily Jordy Nelson's most impressive catch of his career. Up by one point against the Giants in the fourth quarter, Rodgers threw to Nelson, who made a ridiculously acrobatic catch, as he jumped in the air, reaching out to catch the ball, and after catching it, spun around and landed both feet on the ground, all while staying completely in bounds.
The video above further explains why this play is so spectacular, as if seeing it isn't enough. This catch might be the most impressive catch of the season, and for Nelson, it helps show off his tremendous acrobatic ability.
The Packers would score on this drive, and at the end of the game, would need to score again to get the game-winning field goal. On that drive, Rodgers went to Nelson again, who made another great catch to help seal the win.
2. Charlie Peprah Interception Return for a TD vs. the Chargers
Peprah's interception was the result of a tipped pass, but he took full advantage of the opportunity, and while nobody was expecting him to score, he kept his eyes upfield and plowed through to get the score.
This interception would start a string of more turnovers by the Packers, who picked off Rivers on the next drive, and then picked him off for a final time in the fourth quarter by Peprah once again, who was nearly able to run it in for the score for the second time.
1. Randall Cobb 108-Yard Touchdown Return
This play is easily the best play of the season, if not one of the greatest plays for the Packers in years. Newly acquired rookie Randall Cobb, who quickly took over duties as a punt returner, had already made a strong impression on Packer Nation when he caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter. But he wasn't done yet.
In the third quarter, up 28-20, Cobb returned a Saints kickoff while deep into the end zone, and soon after crossing the 20-yard line, looked as if he was going to get taken down, but with the help of unsung hero John Kuhn, rolled over a defender and kept himself upright, all while turning on the jets and running it in for a score.
It was the Packers' first kickoff return for a touchdown in 10 years, and Cobb's first kick return for a touchdown in his career. Later in the season, he would return a punt for a touchdown against the Vikings, becoming the first Packer to return both a punt and a kick for a touchdown in one season.
Cobb is already looking like a rising NFL star, and his performance on Thursday night against the Saints certainly was a great start to his career.