Four Plays Out of 2,663: Blown Touchdown

The Packers' season went down in flames against the Giants, due in large part to missed opportunities. We look at the four big plays in this four-part series, with perspective provided by the coaching staff.

With Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's season-ending press conference on Wednesday, the Lambeau Field Media Auditorium will sit empty until sometime in mid-April, when general manager Ted Thompson delivers his always-informative pre-draft talk.

Between offense, defense and special teams, the Packers battled for 2,663 snaps during their 17 games. Four of those plays are why the only loud noise from Lambeau Field is coming from construction vehicles.

A couple plays, of course, is what big games between good teams boil down to more often than not. Just look at the Super Bowl. Where would the Packers have been without Howard Green's unexpected pass rush setting up Nick Collins' pick-six? Or without Clay Matthews' fumble-forcing tackle of Rashard Mendenhall? Or without Aaron Rodgers critical third-down conversion to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter?

Here is the first of the four plays, with viewpoints from the coaches.

First quarter: Incompletion to Jennings

Greg Jennings runs past Antrel Rolle.
Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire
This will be the play that makes Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings sick all offseason.

On the Packers' first drive, they faced a third-and-8 from the Giants' 29. When the Giants go to their nickel package, safety Antrel Rolle moves into the slot to play cornerback. On this play, Jennings lined up in the right slot and left Rolle in his dust with a double move.

It should have been an easy touchdown. But as Rodgers steps up in the pocket, linebacker Michael Boley works free from running back John Kuhn and flushes Rodgers to his right. Having to throw on the move, the ball sails just over Jennings' outstretched fingers.

It didn't help that Jennings appeared to misjudge the ball and didn't run through the ball. In the end, though, if Kuhn sustains the block, Rodgers gets to stand comfortably in the pocket and probably throws a strike.

"Aaron had to slide up in the pocket," McCarthy said. "Didn't actually talk to Aaron (but) in his interview yesterday, he felt good about the way the ball came out of his hand. Thought he had it. But once again, you have two things going on there. You have the receiver running a double move in a man-to-man situation. You got the coverage and Greg ran a good route, but with Aaron sliding, the angle of the throw changes and I think that probably factored in him missing it."

"Just the timing standpoint, wasn't able to make the play from start to finish. Just didn't execute it," receivers coach Edgar Bennett said.

It was the most-glaring example of Rodgers, the presumptive league MVP, just not being as efficient as he had been all season.

"I thought he did some good things. Had some drops, we had a couple of errant throws, but that happens in games," quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said. "You look at it, we had four or five plays in that game had they gone a different way, it would've been a closer game for us. But they didn't, and that's all I have to say on that."

Instead of a 7-3 lead, the Packers settle for a tying field goal.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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