Top plays of the Packers regular season: Offense

Special to Packer Plus
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts after a touchdown during the 2016 regular season.

The Green Bay Packers offense did not cement an identity until late in the 2016 regular season, when it mattered most.

Inconsistent play and injuries forced the Packers coaching staff to revamp the running game and quarterback Aaron Rodgers caught fire and returned to MVP form for the final six games of a 10-6 campaign. It did not come easy, running the table just as their team leader said they could to secure a fifth NFC North title in the past six years.

The offense averaged 27.0 points per game and had both the league’s passing touchdown leader (Rodgers, 40) and receiving touchdown leader (Jordy Nelson, 14).

This week, Packer Plus presents five of the top, memorable plays by Green Bay’s offense in the regular season.

Next week, we will reveal how we ranked the plays, and final voting results from fans. Vote for your favorite top play here.

Here are the plays in chronological order:


Packers 27, Jaguars 23; Sept. 11 at EverBank Field

Packers receiver Davante Adams makes a 29-yard touchdown catch despite the tight defense of Jaguars defensive back Davon House.

On this touchdown play, the throw and the catch were both highlight-reel material.

Trailing, 17-14, to the underdog Jaguars with 20 seconds before halftime, Green Bay faced third-and-10 at the Jacksonville 29.

In this obvious passing situation, Rodgers dropped back and cornerback Jalen Ramsey came on the blitz from the defense’s left side with a clear alley to his target. Rodgers stepped up in the pocket to his left to avoid the sack, and displayed exceptional arm strength by launching the football with Ramsey pulling him down from behind with a fistful of No. 12 jersey. Watch the video

Rodgers was simultaneously hit by defensive tackle Jared Odrick from the front, and Odrick then tripped and fell on Rodgers as the quarterback lay on the ground.

The target was Adams just inside the goal line, and the third-year Packers receiver displayed great concentration and hands by diving to snare the ball with cornerback Davon House draped on his back. The football was just out of reach of the left hand of House, who was flagged for interference on the play.

“Magic from Aaron Rodgers,” the FOX announcer commented. “I don’t know how he caught that football.” His cohort replied, “You’re saying how did he catch that? I’m saying how did he throw it?”

Hendricks' rank: 2nd


Packers 27, Eagles 13; Nov. 28 at Lincoln Financial Field

Adams has a small window against Eagles defensive back Nolan Carroll to catch this 20-yard touchdown pass.

Talk about a tight window.

They don’t get much smaller than the space Aaron Rodgers threaded the football to a streaking Davante Adams in the back corner of the end zone at Lincoln Financial Field on a national “MNF” stage.

It was one of two Rodgers-to-Adams touchdowns in the Packers’ 27-13 victory that ignited the team’s six-game winning streak. Watch the video

On first-and-10 at the Eagles 20-yard line in a contest deadlocked 7-7 in the second quarter, Rodgers enjoyed perfect protection and threw a perfect strike to Adams, who was closely guarded by cornerback Nolan Carroll.

With inside position, Carroll appeared to have a bead on a possible interception, but the defender turned back to locate the ball just as it whizzed by his arms and into Adams’ hands as he fell to the ground.

“You can’t throw the ball any better than that,” said ESPN announcer Jon Gruden. “He (Rodgers) drops a ball into Davante Adams. That’s amazing. How did Adams catch that ball?”

Hendricks' rank: 5th


Packers 38, Seahawks 10; Dec. 11 at Lambeau Field

Adams blows by Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane for a 66-yard touchdown strike from Aaron Rodgers on the game’s opening drive.

The Packers made a statement on the game’s opening drive against their NFC arch-nemesis.

Just over a minute into the game, with 3rd-and-2 from the Green Bay 34, Adams was split out wide right next to Randall Cobb.

Covered man-to-man by cornerback Jeremy Lane, Adams ran a five-yard out before cutting down the right sideline. Watch the video

Meanwhile, Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to his right and fired a strike on the run over the head of Lane that hit Adams in stride at the Seattle 33. Lane dived, got nothing but air as Adams raced into the north end zone for a 7-0 Packers lead.

Rodgers, nursing a calf injury, continued his torrid play with three touchdowns in Green Bay’s 38-10 blowout.

“Healthier than where he was than a year ago,” Fox’s Troy Aikman said of Adams. “In the last three, four ball games, he’s really come up big.”

Hendricks' rank: 4th


Packers 30, Bears 27; Dec. 18 at Soldier Field

Packers running back Ty Montgomery rips off a 61-yard run against the Bears in Week 15. Montgomery finished with 162 rushing yards and two TDs.

The converted receiver had the rushing performance of his young career at Soldier Field in the Week 15 showdown with the rival Bears.

And one play showcased his vision, patience, and explosiveness as a runner.

Green Bay was pinned back at its 10-yard line early in the second quarter with a 7-0 lead. Rodgers handed the ball off to Montgomery, who started off left guard. Watch the video

He spun out of a would-be tackler’s grasp at the line of scrimmage and accelerated outside and outran three Bears defenders to the sideline. He raced 50 yards before slowing up to cut inside a downfield block by Adams to complete a 61-yard run.

Montgomery led a season-best ground attack that gashed Chicago for 226 rushing yards with 16 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

“He did a really good job being patient, breaking tackles and getting up on the second level and making big runs,” head coach Mike McCarthy said.

Hendricks' rank: 3rd


Packers 30, Bears 27; Dec. 18 at Soldier Field

Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson’s 60-yard reception set up the winning field goal against the Bears.

Green Bay needed a big play with the game on the line at Soldier Field, and Nelson and Rodgers delivered.

Like the duo have so many times in their storied Packers careers, Rodgers looked for Nelson in a clutch situation.

Tied, 27-27, with just 31 seconds remaining, Green Bay sat at its own 26-yard line facing third and 11. Overtime looked almost certain. Watch the video

Rodgers had other plans. He launched a high, 60-yard pass that Nelson hauled in on a post pattern against “quarters” coverage at the Chicago 14. The Packers receiver, who regained his form after missing the 2015 season with a knee injury, simply beat coverage with his speed and hauled in the bomb.

With no timeouts remaining, Rodgers spiked the ball to stop the clock with four seconds left. Kicker Mason Crosby then booted the game-winner from 32 yards for a 30-27 victory — Green Bay’s fifth straight.

Hendricks' rank: 1st

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