266 NFL games down, 1 to go. It seems like the NFL season goes by faster and faster every year. Sunday, February 4th marks Super Bowl LII (52) as well as the end of the 2017-18 NFL season. This year’s Super Bowl is a rematch from Super Bowl XXXIX (39) where the New England Patriots ended their early 2000’s dynasty with a 24-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the Green Bay Packers, the season didn’t go as planned. A 7-9 record kept the Packers out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone for the second time in his career, the defense looked pitiful again, and the free agent acquisitions in the offseason didn’t really pan out for the Packers. There were some great moments of the subpar season, however. Before Rodgers went down the Packers were once again Super Bowl favorites and were riding high with a 4-1 record before Anthony Barr crushed Rodgers collarbone and our hopes of another deep playoff run. Backup quarterback Brett Hundley was able to give the Packers life for a couple of weeks and he had some good moments too, just not enough of them. It was hard to see the Packers struggle without Rodgers but there were a few shining stars within the rough that was the 2017 Green Bay Packers season.
Anyways, here are the best moments from the 2017 Green Bay Packers season.
- Brett Hundley’s First Career Touchdown – Week 6 @ Minnesota
In a game that was overshadowed by Anthony Barr and his malicious hit on Aaron Rodgers that broke his collarbone, Brett Hundley got his first true taste of the NFL. His previous experiences were either preseason games or garbage time duty during blowout games. Early in the second quarter the Packers were facing a 7-0 deficit and needed to get points on the board as soon as possible because the Vikings stout defense wasn’t giving up anything. When linebacker Jake Ryan forced a Minnesota fumble that was recovered by Clay Matthews, the Packers were set up with great field position and needed to get in the end zone. They would accomplish that on a third and six. Hundley would find his eventual favorite target, Davante Adams, for his first NFL touchdown and the Packers would tie up the game.
- Aaron Jones’s First Career Touchdown – Week 4 vs Chicago
When Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams went down with injuries earlier in the game it was up to the third string rookie from UTEP, Aaron Jones, to man the backfield for the rest of the Thursday night game against the Packers arch-rival Chicago Bears. When Jones would score near the end of the second quarter he would make it a 21-0 game for the Packers who were dominating on all sides of the ball. The touchdown may have seemed like just another during a night of dominance but Jones would come out of this game as the number one back and the following week he would burst on the scene with a huge game in Dallas. All that started with this touchdown at Lambeau on Thursday Night Football.
- Mike Daniels Strip Sack and Momentum Change – Week 1 vs Seattle
The Packers started off the 2017 season engaged in a surprising defensive battle with the Seattle Seahawks. That’s not the kind of game you want to play against one of the best defenses in the league. When Seattle took a 3-0 lead going into halftime, the Packers needed momentum and they needed it quick. Early in the third quarter, a strip sack by Pro Bowler Mike Daniels was exactly what the doctor ordered. The fumble gave the Packers great field position, as the Seahawks were already backed up near their own end zone. Three plays later, Ty Montgomery would find the end zone for the first points of the Packers 2017 campaign. The Packers gained the lead and never looked back, winning a huge NFC showdown 17-9. The strip sack was without a doubt the turning point in the game and if not for the crucial turnover, the Packers may have started the season with a horrible loss.
- Game Tying Touchdown Drive – Week 12 @ Pittsburgh
I gave the Packers little chance to win this game. The Packers were coming off their worst performance of the season, a shutout loss at home versus Baltimore. They had to go to Pittsburgh who just came off a huge Thursday Night football performance, demolishing Tennessee. Midway through the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 21 and the Packers had a reasonable chance of winning the game. The Steelers would eventually take the lead after Antonio Brown torched the Packers secondary once again. With 8 minutes to go, the Packers needed to go 77 yards and find the end zone to tie the game at 28. The first two plays of that Packer drive were two huge completions to tight end Richard Rodgers and wide receiver Randall Cobb, respectively. The Packers were in enemy territory and were poised to tie the game. On a crucial third and one, Hundley found Jordy Nelson for a first down. Then, with the game on the line, fourth and six saw Hundley find his favorite target for a huge 8 yard gain and a much needed first down. On the next play, Jamaal Williams tied the game with a touchdown run. While the Packers wouldn’t win the game, that touchdown drive showed the world what Brett Hundley was capable of. He showed confidence and poise, which is what the Packers hoped out of him when he was drafted.
- Aaron Jones Breakout Performance – Week 5 @ Dallas
When Ty Montgomery went down with a rib injury against Chicago, the backfield was up to the three rookie running backs the Packers drafted in the 2017 draft, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, and Devante Mays. Williams suffered a knee injury in that same game but was ready to play ten days later at Dallas. However, Jones showed enough promise the game prior at Lambeau to start. That decision proved to be one of the best during the 2017 season, as Jones would go off for 125 yards and found the end zone once. He had multiple clutch runs during the game and he would be a vital part of a huge win in Dallas. Jones would go on to have a couple good games, including one performance we will get to later, but a knee injury would slow down his 2017 campaign. However, Packer fans would get to know Aaron Jones after this clutch performance in week five.
- First Overtime Win for Aaron Rodgers – Week 3 vs Cincinnati
This game started out rough for Aaron Rodgers. He threw a pick-six for only the second time in his career, the first time since 2009. The interception wasn’t necessarily Rodgers fault either, as it was a tipped pass to former Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson. Anyways, at halftime, the Packers needed to step up or they were going to lose to a mediocre Bengals team at home. Luckily the Packers were able to do just that and force overtime. In overtime, the team who usually gets the ball first wins, and sure enough Cincinnati got the ball first. Previously, Rodgers was 0-7 in overtime games. In four of those games, the Packers never got the ball, in another (the 2009 wild-card game in Arizona) the refs botched an obvious facemask call that led to a fumble for a touchdown. To put this into perspective even more, in his career, prior to the game versus Cincinnati, Rodgers has thrown six (SIX) overtime passes, that’s it. So when the defense had to make a stop first, everyone knew it would be a tall order, especially for how the defense has played as of late. So when the defense forced a three and out on the Bengals, who were running all over the Packers defense, everyone knew it was time for Rodgers to lead the Pack to a crucial win.That was exactly what he did. Three plays in, on third down, textbook Rodgers got the defense offsides and found a streaking Geronimo Allison who would bring the ball inside the 10-yard line. Mason Crosby would kick the game-winning field goal and the Packers notched a 14 point comeback. In addition, with the win, Aaron Rodgers can say he beat every team in the NFL, besides the Packers obviously. He was previously 0-2 versus Cincinnati. A lot of history was made on that fateful September day at Lambeau Field, and that’s why it was one of the best moments of the 2017 season.
- Damarious Randall’s Pick Six – Week 5 @ Dallas
There is a prevalent theme for the 2017 season, especially in the earlier games. Facing a deficit at halftime and having to be able to come back and win. Down 21-6 at one point in the second quarter, things didn’t look good for the Packers once again. The defense, which was struggling to stop the Cowboys, needed to come up big in the second half if the Packers wanted to escape Jerry’s world with a win. After taking the lead cutting the Dallas lead to two, the following Dallas drive saw the struggling Damarious Randall intercept a Dak Prescott tipped pass and take it 15 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown. It would ultimately give the Packers the lead midway through the fourth quarter, and it would set up one of the best finishes to a Packers game in recent memory.
- Surprising Front Office Changes
For years Packer fans were calling for the jobs of General Manager Ted Thompson, Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers, and even Head Coach Mike McCarthy. In reality, nothing was going to happen if the Packers continued to make the playoffs, continuing to waste Rodgers’ prime. After not making the playoffs, producing a losing record, and having your whole team exposed by mediocre teams, it was finally decided that another year of abysmal defensive performance, letting very productive players walk in free agency, and getting heartbroken in the playoffs wasn’t meant to be. Thompson and Capers were eventually let go and the majority of Packers fans rejoiced, including me. On top of that, their replacements may be some of the best out there. The successor to Thompson, Brian Gutekunst was a favorite throughout the organization. In addition, Mike Pettine, the former Cleveland Browns head coach who was hired as the defensive coordinator, is respected amongst many of the players on defense. It will be interesting to see how these moves shape the Packers in 2018.
- Back to Back Overtime Wins – Week 13 vs Tampa Bay and Week 14 @Cleveland
The Packers needed to win these games in order to keep their season alive. While it would take overtime to win these games, it was great to see Brett Hundley’s offense perform well in the clutch. Although Hundley didn’t have have a good game by any stretch versus Tampa Bay, throwing for just 84 yards, it was the legs of Jamaal Williams and great defensive plays that led to a win at Lambeau, oh and don’t forget the one rush by Aaron Jones, the game-winning touchdown. Many argue that the Packers didn’t deserve to win on that fateful December afternoon in Cleveland, down 21-7 in the fourth quarter the Packers managed to score 14 in the final quarter to tie the game and force an interception in overtime and win. This game really showed that this team refused to give up. It was a great road win, even though it was against the winless Browns. Davante Adams had a huge day, recording the game-tying and the game-winning touchdown. It was my favorite game of the season.
- Rodgers-Adams Game Winning Touchdown – Week 5 @ Dallas
There really isn’t any other moment to put at number one. This game had it all, a brilliant comeback, great defensive plays, and the final drive that sealed the win. When the Cowboys scored with just over a minute to go, I knew Aaron Rodgers had one more drive in him. Clearly, he did as he would find Davante Adams in the end zone with 11 seconds left. What’s even more special than the touchdown pass was the drive Rodgers led the Packers on. Everything about it was just pure magic.The fourth quarter was the best quarter of play from the Packers all season. This game was just another example of Aaron Rodgers proving to the world why he is the GOAT.