The Aaron Rodgers era has been extremely exciting for all Packers fans. He’s seemingly always making another play that takes our breath away. As great as he’s been, his receivers (and tight ends) have made some pretty incredible catches along the way, too. Since Rodgers has come to Green Bay it seems like the impossible not only happens, but happens often.
When it comes to passing plays, there has been no shortage of magic lately.
It wasn’t easy to narrow down a decade’s worth of impressive catches to just 12, but that’s what we’ve done here. We chose 12 catches in honor of Rodgers’ jersey number, in case you didn’t pick up on that.
There are a a lot of familiar names on this list, but only one player is mentioned three times. We’ll let you find out who that is below. And honestly, could there be any other reception than the one we have listed at No. 1? We don’t think so… But feel free to let us know what you think!
Alright, onto the best catches of the Aaron Rodgers Era in Green Bay. Oh, we do recommend pulling a few of these up on YouTube along the way.
12. Donald Driver vs Atlanta Falcons Week 5, 2008: It was Rodgers’ rookie season and he threw up a bit of a prayer to a double-covered Donald Driver. Driver somehow caught the ball in-between two Atlanta Falcons defenders as he landed in the end zone. It was one of those passes that simply shouldn’t be caught, but the Packers’ all-time leading receiver did so anyway.
11. Davante Adams vs Chicago Bears Week 7, 2016: Adams took the ball away from the defender and secured a touchdown for the Packers. Green Bay was down 10-6 in the third quarter, but this play turned the game around and the Packers didn’t look back. It took immense focus and strength to somehow corral that ball and Adams found a way to make it look easy.
10. Jordy Nelson vs San Francisco 49ers Week 1, 2013: An almost impossible sideline catch. Nelson has become one of the best receivers in franchise history and no one else has utilized the sideline as effectively as he has throughout his career. This is our favorite sideline catch, by him, because of the sheer ridiculousness of how far he stretched out to make the play.
9. Donald Driver vs Detroit Lions Week 6, 2009: Driver pushed the defender away with one hand (the defender was called for pass interference on the play, but it was obviously declined) and he came down with the ball in his left hand. We were actually at this game and saw the catch, and the crowd’s reaction, live. It was one of the finest one-handed catches we’ve ever seen — certainly the best we’ve ever seen in person.
8. James Jones vs the Houston Texans Week 6, 2012: The ball was a little overthrown and Jones had to dive to the ground to make the play. He did so, in the end zone, and deflected it up to himself before catching it as he hit the ground. Al Michaels asked, “Is it one-handed? Yes, touchdown” as he called the play. This was one of six touchdowns Rodgers threw that day.
7. Donald Driver vs St. Louis Rams Week 3, 2009: Guess Who? Driver once again made an insane one-handed catch while being interfered with by a defender while streaking down the left sideline. This time he caught the ball at an even more severe angle than the other handed-catch of his that landed on this list. He, somehow, secured the ball against his shoulder pad as he hit the ground and miraculously he never lost control; it was probably the finest catch of his career.
6. Greg Jennings vs Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLV: His first touchdown of the game was so impressive because Rodgers had to thread the needle to even get it to him and it was nearly deflected. Jennings had to have immense focus just to secure the ball in his hands, but then he was absolutely crushed by Troy Polamalu and still hung onto the ball as he fell toward the goal line. It was a huge play in the game and one of the biggest catches in recent Packers’ history. If he drops that who knows who wins that game.
5. Richard Rodgers vs Detroit Lions Week 13, 2015: Capping off the largest comeback (20 points) in the history of the Packers-Lions rivalry, Richard Rodgers caught one of the most famous Hail Mary’s in NFL history. The way he tracked the ball perfectly as it flew through the air and then timed his jump exactly right, catching the ball at its highest point, was precisely what had to happen for that play to be successful. And it was. That catch launched one of the greatest celebrations in team history.
4. James Jones vs Atlanta Falcons Postseason Divisional Round 2009: Jones’ touchdown catch against the Falcons is still talked about today. He went up and stole the ball from the defender, juggled it, and somehow maintained possession as he fell to the ground, all while staying in-bounds. That touchdown put the Packers ahead and they never looked back. It’s plays like that that live on forever.
3. Jeff Janis vs Arizona Cardinals Postseason Divisional round 2015: His Hail Mary catch in Arizona came right after making another great must-have catch on 4th down. Janis found a way to come down with one of the greatest completions in franchise history. He tracked the ball from a greater distance than maybe any ball that has ever been caught by a Packer player. Ever. He, like Richard Rodgers on his Hail Mary earlier in the season, timed his jump perfectly and fell to the end zone, ball in-hand, sending the game to overtime. Although the game ended up being one of the most heartbreaking games in team history.
2. Randall Cobb vs Chicago Bears Week 10, 2014: This one-handed touchdown catch from Rodgers definitely broke the Bears’ will. In an absolute rout of their bitter rival, Rodgers threw for six touchdowns in the first half alone. But the best catch of the night, by far, was Cobb’s one-handed diving catch in the end zone. To be sprinting full-speed and still be able to reach out and secure the ball with one hand is insane. Cobb made it look so easy, too.
1. Jared Cook vs Dallas Cowboys Postseason Divisional Round 2016: This once-in-a-generation sideline catch by Cook set up game-winning field goal against Dallas. How he kept his feet inbounds is still a mystery. How this pass was completed will forever mystify Packers fans. The amount of focus and dexterity it took for him to keep his toes in bounds will hauling in an absolute bullet from Rodgers, while the game is on the line, is amazing. Never have we seen a pass look so impossible be completed before — and it set up a game-winning field goal, on the road, in the playoffs against a rival. Wow. Cook spent just one year in Green Bay, but he definitely left his mark with this catch.
Did your favorite grab of the Rodgers Era make the list? I’m sure we’ll be adding a few more to the countdown over the next few years.
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