7 Green Bay Packers We Trust Most in the Clutch
Every once in a while I'll hear someone say, "Been there, done that", describing their past actions. I'm going to use that particular phrase as I try to describe seven players who play for the Green Bay Packers and have come up clutch at crucial times. Not just in regular season games, but in playoff or championship situations as well.
Everyone on this list has won a Super Bowl ring for the Packers and were very instrumental in bringing home another Vince Lombardi Trophy to Green Bay when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
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What can you say about Aaron Rodgers?
Rodgers has led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory in which he was named MVP of the game (Super Bowl XLV).
Add to that, Rodgers threw 45 TD passes to just six interceptions for 4,643 yards and also had a QB rating of 122.5 of 2011. The 122.5 QB rating was the best in the NFL and also broke the all-time record set by Peyton Manning in 2004, when Manning had a 121.1 QB rating.
Rodgers was also named first-team All-Pro and was named the starting QB for the NFC in the Pro Bowl in 2011 (his second Pro Bowl), as he led the Packers to a 15-1 regular season record.
That all led to Rodgers being named the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 2011.
A well-deserved honor. But there is much more.
Rodgers not only had the best-ever QB rating in a single season in 2011, but Rodgers is the all-time leader in QB rating in both the regular season and the postseason.
Rodgers has thrown 132 TD passes vs. just 38 interceptions for 17,366 yards and has a 104.1 QB rating in his career during the regular season. Rodgers is the only QB in NFL history to have a QB rating of over 100 based on 1,500 passing attempts.
Rodgers has a 41-22 record in the regular season in four years and has won one NFC North title.
In the postseason, Rodgers has thrown 15 TD passes vs. only four picks for 1,781 yards and has a QB rating of 105.5 in his career. Again, that is the best in NFL history.
Rodgers has a 4-2 record in the postseason, including a Super Bowl victory.
In Super Bowl XLV, there was a play that clearly illustrates how clutch Rodgers was in that game. It was 3rd-and-10 and the Packers were on their own 25 yard line with about six minutes to go in the game. The Packers were holding a slim 28-25 lead at the time.
So what did Rodgers do? He threw a frozen rope to Greg Jennings in tight coverage on a skinny post that led to a 31 yard reception. That catch led to a 23 yard field goal by Mason Crosby which padded the Green Bay lead to six points with just over two minutes to play.
Not long after that, Rodgers would be on stage accepting his Super Bowl XLV trophy after the Packers had beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
I believe there will be a few more ceremonies like that for Rodgers down the road.
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Greg Jennings had the look of a big play WR his first year in Green Bay in 2006. Jennings didn't run patterns like a rookie, and he was very assignment-sure. An ankle injury took away some of the luster of his first year in the NFL, but Jennings showed enough talent to make people take a real good look at the rookie out of Western Michigan.
Then in his second year (2007), Jennings showed he was prime-time receiver when he caught 12 TD passes, including two late game TDs on the road in very difficult venues like Denver and Kansas City where the Packers won tight ball games.
Jennings has been a productive WR his entire career, as he has 389 receptions for 6,171 yards and 49 TDs. Jennings has also been named to two Pro Bowl teams.
Jennings also had a fantastic postseason when the Packers were on their way to winning Super Bowl XLV. Jennings had 21 receptions for 303 yards and two TDs as the Packers won their 4th Super Bowl.
The two TDs came in Super Bowl XLV, when Jennings caught four passes for 64 yards and found the end zone twice.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, based on the track record of Jennings, who overall in his career in the postseason has 40 receptions for 558 yards and five TDs.
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Jordy Nelson's career in Green Bay started out a little quiet, as he was usually the third or fourth option at WR his first three years in the NFL. Nelson had 100 receptions for 1,268 yards and six TDs total in those three years in the regular season.
Then came the 2010 postseason when Nelson exploded on the scene. He had 21 receptions for 286 yards and two TDs, including one in Super Bowl XLV.
All told in that biggest of games, Nelson had nine receptions for 140 yards and a TD.
That led to 2011, when Nelson became one of the most feared weapons in the NFL, as he had 68 catches for 1,263 yards and a whopping 15 TDs.
Many think the best it yet to come for Nelson.
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Ted Thompson does not play the free-agency game very often but hit gold with Charles Woodson.
Since his arrival in Green Bay in 2006, Woodson has 37 interceptions, nine of which were returned for TDs. Woodson has averaged almost 85 tackles per season. He has 10 sacks and 14 forced fumbles—one of which he recovered and returned for a TD.
Woodson was also the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL in 2009 for the Packers.
Woodson has been named All-Pro four times as a Packer and has also been selected to four Pro Bowl squads.
"I want y'all to think about one thing...one...For two weeks, think about one. Let's be one mind, let's be one heartbeat, for one purpose, one goal, for one more game...one. Let's get it...And check this, if the President doesn't want to come watch us in the Super Bowl...Guess what? We'll go see him! Let's get a White House on three...One-Two-Three (collectively)...White House!"
Woodson then broke his collarbone late in the first half in Super Bowl XLV. Woodson then delivered a "win one for the Gipper" speech to his team at halftime, imploring his teammates to win.
Win they did.
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It's hard to believe that Clay Matthews has only been in the NFL for three years. Matthews has been named to three Pro Bowl teams already and was named All-Pro in 2010. Over his career, Matthews has 161 total tackles, 29.5 sacks, four interceptions, three TDs and six forced fumbles.
The biggest forced fumble of Matthews' career came in Super Bowl XLV. It was the biggest defensive play of the game in fact.
It was the first play of the fourth quarter, as the Packers held a slim 21-17 lead, and the Steelers were driving in Green Bay territory. QB Ben Roethlisberger handed the ball to RB Rashard Mendenhall, who had previously scored a Pittsburgh TD on an eight-yard run. Matthews sensed a play was coming his way though and he alerted DE Ryan Pickett about the upcoming play. Both Matthews and Pickett sandwiched Mendenhall and hit the running back at the same time. The result? A key fumble that was recovered by LB Desmond Bishop. The turnover led to another TD by the Packers, as Rodgers threw an eight-yard pass to Jennings to finish the drive.
The Packers beat the Steelers 31-25, but the fumble forced by Matthews and Pickett was probably the biggest play of the game.
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No player come up bigger defensively for the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 postseason than Tramon Williams, who was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team also in 2010.
Williams ended the chances of the Eagles in the Wild Card Game in Philadelphia with a clutch pick of QB Michael Vick with less than a minute remaining in the game, as the Packers hung on to win 21-16.
Then in the Divisional Playoff Game vs. the Atlanta Falcons, Williams had two more interceptions in the game. None was bigger than the 70 yard pick Williams took to the house with no time remaining in the first half. That interception for a TD gave the Packers a 28-14 lead and the Pack never looked back on, as the Packers whipped the Dirty Birds 48-21.
It was also Williams who broke up the 4th down pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace that ended any chance the Steelers had of winning Super Bowl XLV, as the Packers held on to beat the Steelers 31-25.
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The Packers won the Vince Lombardi Trophy with their win in Super Bowl XLV, but the Packers probably wouldn't have gotten to the big dance if not for the touchdown-saving tackle by Desmond Bishop against DeSean Jackson, with under two minutes to go in the Wild Card Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jackson caught a short pass over the middle from Michael Vick and went 28 yards and was on his way to the end zone before Bishop made a shoestring tackle, as the Packers hung on to win 21-16.
Bishop was also part of the key defensive play of Super Bowl XLV. The Packers were leading the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-17, when on the first play of the fourth quarter and the Steelers driving in Green Bay territory, Clay Matthews and Ryan Picket forced a Rashard Mendenhall fumble.
It was Bishop who recovered the fumble, and the Packers went on to score another TD in the ensuing drive after Bishop's recovery. The Pack went on to win the game 31-25 and were able to bring home their fourth Super Bowl trophy.
Bishop continued his stellar play in 2011, as he had 115 total tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles.