5 Most Satisfying Packers Wins Since 2012
On paper, all wins are treated equally. A victory over an opponent is only becomes satisfying if there’s some underlying story. The Detroit Lions did not win a Super Bowl last year solely for finally overcoming a 25 year losing streak at Lambeau Field, but their victory in Green Bay proved to be the highlight of their season. It was their satisfying victory.
There has been an uptick in recent Packers history of satisfying victories. When we describe a ‘satisfying victory,’ it holds true to a few standards. In my eyes, it’s a win over a rival when there’s a lot on the line. It can also be a game no one expected Green Bay to pull out even after kickoff, and much to the chagrin of their opponent, the Packers rolled to victory.
It feels a little too easy to simply rattle off the Packers’ recent playoff successes, throw a dash of Super Bowl XLV in and call it a listicle. Instead, I looked for regular season games that had thrilling conclusions or brought much-needed relief to fans.
5. December 16, 2013: Green Bay 37, Dallas 36
Analysis: Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers finally broke through the week prior with a 22-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Backup quarterback Matt Flynn brought the Packers back from a 23 point halftime deficit in a game Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called, “one of the hardest losses I’ve ever experienced.” With Dallas running back DeMarco Murray near the century mark at halftime, Dallas inexplicably forgot about Murray and came out throwing in the second half. Flynn’s four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter alone put the Packers over the top.
Why It’s Satisfying: Most Packers games with Aaron Rodgers at the helm have some element of tension. There’s weight to the game; it means something. It’s the blessing that comes along with having an elite team. With the Packers’ playoff hopes on life support, this game seemed different. Down big at halftime, I felt resigned to the idea this game was going to end in a loss. That’s what makes this win so wonderful. Two late interceptions by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo sealed the win for the Packers, a sweet sight. A sweeter sight? FOX color commentator Troy Aikman’s old team with the ex-quarterback in the booth.
4. December 3, 2015: Green Bay 27, Detroit 23
Analysis: Thursday Night Football games are not good football games. Forcing teams to play on short rest, the NFL prioritizes their continued domination of the entire week during the fall and winter over player safety. This contest against the Lions was indeed sloppy. Green Bay’s offense was hapless through most of the game. Their first points came late in the third quarter when James Starks fumbled and Randall Cobb recovered in the endzone. With the game down to its final play and the Packers trailing 23-20, Aaron Rodgers heaved a mighty pass to tight end Richard Rodgers for a game-winning touchdown.
Why It’s Satisfying: In the pantheon of sports, throwing a game-winning Hail Mary touchdown ranks right up there with a walk-off grand slam in baseball, a game-winning half-court shot in basketball and a late goal deep in extra time in soccer. Watching the non-stop replays of the Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection made up for the 24-7 coverage of the ‘Fail Mary’ years ago. The win also evened up the season series between the Packers and Lions. Green Bay has not been swept by Detroit in the regular season since 1991.
3. October 12, 2014: Green Bay 27, Miami 24
Analysis: When the Packers travel to any Florida stadium, their fans come out in droves. With many transplants from Wisconsin in the stands along with vacationers wanting to escape the brisk midwestern fall weather, Miami’s stadium was conservatively 70 percent Packers fans. The game itself was agonizing, as Green Bay gave up leads of 10-3 and 17-10. Miami went ahead 24-17 with nine minutes left after a Mike Wallace touchdown grab. Rodgers engineered back-to-back drives to put the Packers ahead. On the final drive, a poor snap and a converted fourth-and-ten take a backseat to Rodgers’ fake spike strike to Davante Adams. Andrew Quarless caught the game winning touchdown grab in the blistering heat.
Why It’s Satisfying: This was a swing game in the 2014 season for the Packers. A dubious slow start to the season had Green Bay entering the game with a 3-2 record. Losing to Miami would have further distanced the Packers behind the red hot Lions. The final drive will find a permanent place on Aaron Rodgers’ career highlight reel. If you’ve ever told your buddies after a spike, “If only they faked it, no one was paying attention!” then you were very happy this day.
2. September 21, 2015: Green Bay 27, Seattle 17
Analysis: On the bright lights of Sunday Night Football, Green Bay finally welcomed Seattle onto their own turf. Just when it seemed the Packers would blow yet another halftime lead against the Seahawks, Rodgers marched the team on a 10-play, 80-yard drive punctuated with a touchdown grab by Richard Rodgers. It put Green Bay back in the lead – a lead they would not relinquish. Linebacker Jayrone Elliott clinched the victory with a diving, one-handed interception of quarterback Russell Wilson with just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Why It’s Satisfying: I’m prepared to catch heat for ranking a Week Two regular season game as the second most-satisfying victory in recent Packers history. My justification is based less on the actual game and more on the circumstances surrounding the game. Seattle had dealt Green Bay their toughest playoff loss since Michael Vick’s romp over the then-undefeated at home in the playoffs Packers a mere nine months prior. More than 1,000 days had passed since the infamous “Fail Mary” in Seattle. After a prolonged stretch of success over Seattle in the early 2000’s, the tables had turned. While Lambeau Field is not a stadium known for its deafening noise, the crowd made life tough for Russell Wilson and Green Bay exorcised their Seattle demons.
1. December 30, 2013: Green Bay 33, Chicago 28
Analysis: Green Bay entered the season’s final game with a chance to secure an NFC North division championship in a winner-take-all game against their rival Chicago Bears. All eyes were on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, out the previous seven games with a broken collarbone. On a national stage and in a hostile environment, Rodgers threw for more than 300 yards. Down one point with 38 seconds remaining, Randall Cobb hauled in a game-winning touchdown pass to send the Packers home to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Why It’s Satisfying: With this loss, Jay Cutler dropped to a career record of 1-9 against Green Bay. Cobb’s memorable last-second touchdown remains one of the best feelings I’ve experienced watching the Packers. With the national spotlight off Green Bay because of Rodgers’ injury and Matt Flynn barely keeping the Packers in contention, it was fun to have one high-pressure game at the end of the season. Had it not been for a colossal collapse by the Detroit Lions, Green Bay would have had no shot at making the playoffs. Doesn’t hurt to beat your sworn rival on their turf with a hobbled quarterback at the last second, either.