Four Plays Out of 2,663: Costly Drop

The Packers' season went down in flames against the Giants, due in large part to four colossal blunders. We look at those four big plays in this four-part series. In Part 4, we look at Aaron Rodgers' third-quarter incompletion to Greg Jennings in the end zone.

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 at Lambeau Field is coming from construction vehicles.

If you missed it: Part 1 — First-drive incompletion.
Part 2 — Hail Mary.
Part 3 — Sack-Strip.

A couple plays, of course, are what big games between good teams boil down to more often than not. Just look at last year's 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' clutch third-down completion to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter?

Here is the fourth of the four plays, based on review of the game and with viewpoints from the coaches.

Fourth quarter: Jennings' drop

Jennings can't make the catch against Rolle.
Photo grab from Fox Sports
Oh, what might have been.

For all the things the Packers did poorly, they really should have won the game, anyway. And rather than ducking out of town without talking to reporters after the game or on Monday, Greg Jennings would have been the toast of the town with three touchdown catches.

Aaron Rodgers missed Jennings with what should have been an easy touchdown in the first quarter, and Osi Umenyiora's strip-sack took away an easy touchdown to Jennings in the third quarter.

Even with those missed opportunities and two defensive lapses that gave memorable touchdowns to Hakeem Nicks, the Packers had a chance to make a game of it in the third quarter.

Thanks to the Packers' maligned defense forcing a three-and-out punt after Umenyiora's fumble, Green Bay still trailed only 20-10 when they took possession with 8:48 to go in the third quarter. With Bryan Bulaga, Tom Crabtree and Jordy Nelson sealing the edge and Josh Sitton making a terrific reach block, James Starks ripped off a 29-yard run to the Giants' 22.

That set up the third potential touchdown to Jennings. On third-and-5 from the 17, Jennings lined up in the left slot and Donald Driver was split wide left. Driver ran his route about 7 yards, curling to the inside. Jennings ran a wheel route to the outside of Driver and down the left sideline, forcing Antrel Rolle to navigate around Driver to keep up with Jennings. That gave Jennings just a sliver of room, and Rodgers fired maybe his best ball of the day to the end zone. Jennings, however, couldn't make the play. At first glance, it looked like Rolle might have poked the ball free. Upon further review, perhaps Rolle obstructed Jennings' vision. Either way, the ball bounced off Jennings' hands for an incompletion.

The Packers settled for a field goal, cutting the deficit to 20-13 with 3:55 to go in the third.

"Our standards, we expect to make that play, to go up and attack the football and make a play," receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. "Obviously, we did not. Standard-wise, Greg would certainly say, ‘We've got to make that play.'"

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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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