The 10 best Packers wins of the decade (and five toughest losses)
For any list of the best and worst Green Bay Packers games of the decade, you shouldn't have to think very hard before arriving at No. 1 for either side of the equation. But what would make up the rest of the list? Let's explore.
The 10 best wins
10. Nov. 30, 2014: Packers 26, Patriots 21
The Packers don't often get to tussle with AFC heavyweight New England, but the Packers hosted the Patriots in a high-profile 2014 game, with the Packers owning an 8-3 record and the Patriots at 9-2. Jordy Nelson caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers late in the third quarter, and a huge sack by Mike Daniels and Mike Neal on Tom Brady set up a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 2:40 to go, and the Packers siphoned off the rest of the clock.
9. Jan. 1, 2012: Packers 45, Lions 41
The Matt Flynn Game. With Aaron Rodgers resting as the Packers, then 14-1, prepared for the postseason, backup Matt Flynn checked in and delivered an otherworldly performance, with a franchise-record 480 yards passing and another record with six touchdown passes. His last, to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 to go, tipped the scales in a wild victory.
8. Jan. 9, 2011: Packers 21, Eagles 16
Spoiler alert: This won't be the last time you see the 2010 postseason on this list. At the outset of their Super Bowl run, the Packers were in a jam with Philly driving in the final 2 minutes of the game. But Michael Vick's pass from the Green Bay 27-yard line was intercepted by Tramon Williams, and the Packers held on to advance to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
7. Sept. 9, 2018: Packers 24, Bears 23
There's a bittersweet aspect to this game, because the knee injury Aaron Rodgers sustained may have hampered him throughout the season, one that ended with the Packers at 6-9-1 and out of the playoffs. But in the moment, the season opener at Lambeau Field was a thrill. Playing on a Sunday night, Rodgers returned after sustaining what looked like a multi-week injury, and though the Packers were down 20-0 in the third quarter, he engineered a comeback that concluded with Randall Cobb's 75-yard touchdown catch and run with 2:13 to go. Rodgers finished 20 of 30 for 286 yards and three touchdowns despite missing a large chunk of the game.
RELATED:The top seven moments in which Aaron Rodgers ripped out the hearts of the Chicago Bears
6. Jan. 15, 2011: Packers 48, Falcons 21
Green Bay needed a couple of late-season wins to even get into the playoffs, but they emerged as the team to beat with a convincing victory over top-seeded Atlanta in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs en route to a Super Bowl title. Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three scores in a performance that remains on the short list of his greatest ever, and Greg Jennings went over 100 yards receiving. Tramon Williams returned an interception 70 yards for a score, as well.
5. Jan. 15, 2017: Packers 34, Cowboys 31
It was a showcase for Mason Crosby and the wonderment of Aaron Rodgers. Playing in the divisional round of the playoffs in Dallas, Crosby's 56-yard field goal gave the Packers a lead with 1:38 left, but Dallas was able to answer with a Dan Bailey 52-yarder at the 40-second mark. Rodgers had plenty of time. He bounced back from a sack to find Jared Cook for a sideline catch that might be the second-best catch of the decade behind the Rodgers-to-Rodgers Hail Mary, a 36-yard strike that set up Crosby's 51-yarder as time expired for the victory. It was an eighth straight win for a Packers team looking to "run the table" after starting the year 4-6.
4. Dec. 3, 2015: Packers 27, Lions 23
The Hail Mary game represents perhaps the most unlikely comeback in Packers history. Green Bay's series of laterals in the final 10 seconds went for naught, but Lions defender Devin Taylor committed a facemask penalty on Aaron Rodgers that allowed for one last untimed down. Rodgers, of course, launched a 61-yard pass that was brought down by Richard Rodgers in the end zone to give the Packers a remarkable victory that reignited a struggling Green Bay team and helped it reach the playoffs.
3. Dec. 29, 2013: Packers 33, Bears 28
Losing Aaron Rodgers to injury in Week 9 probably should have been the death knell for the Packers, but Green Bay somehow patched enough together to make the final regular-season game matter. After a stretch of going 0-4-1, the Packers won nail-biters over Atlanta and Dallas behind backup Matt Flynn, and Rodgers was back in a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC North title against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown with 38 seconds to go, and the Packers somehow found their way to the playoffs at 8-7-1, dealing yet another blow to the rival Bears in the process.
2. Jan. 23, 2011: Packers 21, Bears 14
The longstanding Packers-Bears rivalry had never included a Super Bowl-era playoff game, but that changed in the NFC Championship contest at Soldier Field. When defensive lineman B.J. Raji returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter, it felt over, even though backup quarterback Caleb Hanie and the Bears went down fighting. The Packers were headed back to the Super Bowl.
1. Feb. 6, 2011: Packers 31, Steelers 25
Green Bay kicked off the decade by winning Super Bowl XLV, capping a remarkable playoff run with a triumph in Dallas, to secure the franchise's fourth Lombardi Trophy. Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, Nick Collins returned an interception for a 37-yard touchdown, and Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 140 yards in a game that launched him into status as a Packers star.
The 5 toughest losses
5. Overtime playoff losses to Arizona (two games). Jan. 16, 2016: Cardinals 26, Packers 20. If we're being honest, the Packers just being alive in this game was amazing. Somehow, the Jeff Janis catch on a Hail Mary pass as time expired in the playoffs is only the second most-remembered Hail Mary from that season ... and he caught a ridiculous 60-yard catch on fourth and 20 just seconds earlier, to boot. But Larry Fitzgerald returned the first pass of overtime 75 yards and then caught the game-winner two plays later to bring the Packers down from their soaring high of tying the game in regulation.
Jan. 10, 2010: Cardinals 51, Packers 45. This playoff game is attached to the 2009 season but technically does take place in the past decade. The absurd shootout in Arizona ended in overtime heartbreak, when Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Michael Adams, and Karlos Dansby recovered the fumble and returned it 17 yards for the winning score. Rodgers threw for 423 yards and four scores, and both Jermichael Finley (159 receiving yards) and Greg Jennings (130) had huge days, but the defense simply couldn't get a stop.
4. Oct. 15, 2017: Vikings 23, Packers 10. Green Bay lost the NFC North rivalry game, but the real loss was Aaron Rodgers suffering a broken collarbone after getting tackled by Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr. The Packers sagged thereafter, dropping four of their next five before a pair of overtime wins helped give Green Bay some hope. Rodgers came back against Carolina late in the season, but a loss to the Panthers eliminated the Packers from playoff consideration.
3. Jan. 15, 2012: Giants 37, Packers 20. Green Bay followed up its Super Bowl season with a 15-1 regular season in 2011 and appeared poised for yet another Super Bowl run, but it came crashing down in the divisional round of the playoffs at Lambeau Field. The Giants, who bumped Green Bay from the 2007 playoffs as well at Lambeau en route to a Super Bowl, pulled away in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a convincing loss and shatter the thrill of a dominant regular season.
2. Sept. 24, 2012: Seahawks 14, Packers 12. The Fail Mary. Much had been made of the replacement officials calling NFL games on account of a labor dispute, but the issue truly came to a head when officials were confused over the final moments of this game. Golden Tate was credited with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson as time expired, even though MD Jennings appeared to intercept the ball in the end zone (and Tate shoved aside Sam Shields with both hands with clear offensive pass interference). The officials ultimately decided on simultaneous possession and gave Seattle the last-second win. It was a game that now has its own Wikipedia page, and it was the last moment of the replacement ref era — a deal was struck with the regular NFL refs immediately thereafter.
1. Jan. 18, 2015: Seahawks 28, Packers 22. Do you really want to relive this one? There's the Brandon Bostick botched onside kick, but also the touchdown pass by former Packers punter Jon Ryan on a fake play, the missed assignments on defense, the decision to simply go to the turf instead of returning an interception before the game was officially in hand and, finally, the game-winning touchdown in overtime with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. You can say you never want to think about it again, but admit it ...you think about it a lot.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.