This season didn’t end the way we all hoped it would, but they rarely do. Still, that doesn’t mean it was a total loss. We were treated to a lot of incredible plays this season. As the season goes on, I tend to forget about all the great moments that came in previous weeks. Last season I decided I would gather some of my favorite plays from the season and gather them all in one spot. I had a lot of fun with it, so I thought I’d do it again this season.

What follows are some of my favorite plays from the 2016 season, followed by a bunch of other stuff I loved in 2016. Kick back in your favorite chair, put on “I Will Remember You,” and join me on a walk down memory lane.

Week 1

Being pulled backwards by his jersey, Aaron Rodgers is still able to zip a perfect pass 35 yards downfield to Davante Adams. Adams uses his body to shield the ball from the defender and makes a tremendous catch.

Week 2

I could have taken a Mike Daniels [76] play from every week and made an entire post out of that. In fact, I may end up doing that. For now, just enjoy Daniels absolutely mauling poor Brandon Fusco.

Week 6

I love Eddie Lacy. Look at the patience. Look at the quick hop-step back inside and the quickness when he hits the hole. Last of all, look at that hurdle at the end of the run.
I really hope he’s back next season, if only on a 1 year deal.

Week 7

Davante Adams outside to the right of the line. Runs a quick post/corner route and completely spins his man around. He did this a few times this season and it made me giggle every single time.

Wait. Not giggle. I mean, a short, gruff, barking laugh. While I was hold a beer. Because I’m a MAN.

Anyway, this route is tremendous.
Good play design, too. The Packers like to run a lot of dual dig routes. The defender no doubt sees the in-cut from Randall Cobb out of the slot and assumes Adams will be running the same route. It’s a great change-up to throw a defense that is keying in on offensive tendencies.

Week 9

Rodgers is tracking Cobb across the back of the end zone and unleashes a rocket, just out of the reach of the safety. This throw is bonkers.

Week 10

A brawl erupts after a late hit on Rodgers, and all Jeff Triplette can do is to stand in the background thinking about that time he cracked open a peanut shell and found three peanuts inside.

Week 11

Randall Cobb runs a slant, takes a shot from the deep safety, spins away and picks up quite a few additional yards. He’s a tough little bugger.

Nick Perry with a bull rush to get his man off-balance, then a violent rip-through to get to Kirk Cousins. Terrific move.

Packers with trips to the right. Everyone runs left, flooding that side of the field. James Starks sneaks out of the backfield to find the entire half of the field has been vacated. Easiest 31 yard touchdown he’ll ever have.

For what it’s worth, Davante Adams is also wide open  down the sideline.

One of the more ridiculous plays I remember seeing this year. Aaron Rodgers gets his facemask grabbed by a defender flying into the backfield, somehow stays on his feet, rolls out, adjusts his facemask and fires a bullet across his body to the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

I still can’t believe this actually happened.

Week 12

Davante Adams is outside on the left. He beats his man off the line and gets outside. Aaron Rodgers lofts a ball into the back of the end zone. Adams gets down and is able to catch the ball and get his knees down.

From another angle.

And another.

Ridiculous.

Week 13

Jake Ryan times his blitz perfectly. Xavier Su’a-Filo [71] is pulling across the formation and Ryan runs through the vacated hole to make a tackle in the backfield. Hard to time it better than this.

Aaron Rodgers rolling right, whips a pass across his body into tight coverage. Randall Cobb comes down with the catch for a touchdown.

This play is remarkably difficult for a quarterback, but Rodgers makes it look so easy.

Week 14

Three plays into a huge game against the Seahawks, Davante Adams gets open down the sideline and Aaron Rodgers hits him with a perfect pass. Adams doesn’t even have to slow down and it ends up being a 66 yard touchdown. Packers got off to a fast start and never let up.

Christian Ringo gets off the sideline late, runs full-speed at the line and decks his man. Every time I see this play I laugh uncontrollably.

From another angle.

That kills me, man. Every single time.

Damarious Randall took some heat this year, and a lot of it was deserved. However, he showed off exactly what he is capable of here. Randall is playing the deep outside zone. Randall tracks the receiver but keeps his eyes on any routes that may be entering his zone. Once the receiver clears Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Randall sprints downfield and makes a spectacular interception near the end of the first half.

Datone Jones helps flush Russell Wilson from the pocket, which forces the ball to hang up a little.

Week 15

This was Ty Montgomery’s big breakout game as a running back. I had a lot of plays I could have gone with, but this is my favorite. He shows patience down the line, some quickness in the backfield to force some bad tackling angles, a strong burst once he hits the hole, speed in the open field and strength to gain more yards at the end of the run. The entire run is a thing of beauty, but I could really just watch his quick cuts in the backfield all day.

3rd and 11 in a tie game. Jordy Nelson turns his man to the outside before cutting back in for a post. Aaron Rodgers can see the two deep defenders squatting on underneath throws, so Rodgers unleashes the ball as Nelson clears the safety. The Packers pick up 60 yards on this perfect throw and Mason Crosby kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play.

From another angle.

An absolute bomb.

Here is where I would like to remind everyone that not only did Rodgers toss this, but the Packers were out of timeouts so he had to get everyone up the field and on the line to spike it. Lane Taylor was injured on the previous play and attempted to run onto the field as a replacement, but Rodgers waved him off.
To repeat: in an extremely stressful and time-sensitive moment, Rodgers had the presence of mind to see Taylor coming onto the field and tell him to go back to the bench. That blows my mind.

This was the Bears mascot after the play. He’s so sad.

Week 16

Oh nothing. Just Aaron Rodgers juking Xavier Rhodes out of his boots.
Jordy Nelson’s well-timed shove also helped.

Week 17

I have watched this countless time and I still have no idea how Aaron Rodgers escaped from this. The man is a magician.

Just looking at this from a degree of difficulty standpoint, this might be the best throw I’ve ever seen.

Wild Card Round

Clay Matthews gets a strip sack, then barrels down the field to force a second fumble and nab the recovery.

I love this angle, where you can see him yelling for Joe Thomas or Julius Peppers to pick up the ball before sprinting down the field and grabbing it himself.

I love this throw. It’s gorgeous.

Ho-hum. Another Hail Mary.

Divisional Round

Micah Hyde reads this wide receiver screen perfectly. He jumps the route and comes away with an interception.

Rolling to his right and about to get crushed, Aaron Rodgers throws a perfect ball high-and-away to Jared Cook for a 3rd down conversion. I hope we get to see a lot more of this next season.
Except for the part where Rodgers got crushed. I don’t want to see more of that.

I don’t even know how to talk about these throws anymore. This play is extremely disrespectful.

HUGE 3rd and 20 conversion to set up the game-winning field goal. Perfectly placed ball on the sideline and a great catch by Jared Cook.

From another angle.

I love how Aaron Rodgers plants his feet and leans, attempting to will Cook to stay in bounds.

Of course there was a review, which means we got treated to shots of the Packers watching the replay on the huge board in Dallas and celebrating. I love Randall Cobb screaming, “That’s a catch, baby! That’s a catch!”

My heart stopped for a bit when this started wide left.

My two favorite things on this play:
1. Mason Crosby watching the ball go through the uprights before crouching in celebration.
2. Julius Peppers leaning hard to his left to get a better angle on the kick.

And then, of course, there’s the celebration.

When I look back on this season, this will be the image that will immediately spring to mind. Yes, they lost the next week to the Falcons, but that loss can’t take this moment away.


And now for some of my favorite non-football things from 2016.

Movies

The Witch
My favorite movie of the year. I went into it with expectation of it being terrifying. It wasn’t exactly terrifying, but it was supremely unsettling and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a remarkable film that only gets better with each viewing. You can find my review here.

The Barn
A loving throwback to 80s slasher/monster horror without falling into the trap of being a parody. The creature design is incredible and the movie’s atmosphere makes for perfect Halloween viewing. Go in looking to have fun and you won’t be disappointed. You can find my review here.

Holidays – “Father’s Day” segment
Anthology movies are notoriously uneven and this one is no exception. There are some good segments in Holidays along with some terrible ones (I’m looking at you, Kevin Smith’s “Halloween” segment). Then there is “Father’s Day.” It’s a small segment, featuring only one actress on the screen. We follow her as she follows the taped instructions of her father (voiced by Michael Gross) who had left her when she was just a small child. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and chilling. The segment is only 11 minutes long, but it’s one of the best things I’ve seen this year. It’s perfect.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I thought this was going to be a smaller affair than it ended up being, but I still loved it. It was a Star Wars movie while not always feeling like a Star Wars movie. The cast was perfect and I loved the story. Just a lot of dark, dark fun to be had.

10 Cloverfield Lane
The original Cloverfield is a perfectly fine found footage movie. I didn’t know how I would feel about a sequel, but this blew me away. Since there are only three people involved in the story, the performances had to be great to keep me engaged. Everyone brought their “A” game. John Goodman managed to be terrifying and charming, often at the same time.  You can find my review here.

Green Room
A small movie about a punk rock band who witness a murder in a Nazi club and have to survive by whatever means necessary. It’s claustrophobic and stressful and tense and amazing. It features one of the final performances from the great Anton Yelchin.

Deadpool
I’ve been a fan of Deadpool comics for years and was ridiculously excited when they finally pulled the trigger and made this movie. I was not disappointed. It’s violent and hilarious. Ryan Reynolds is perfect, although T.J. Miller came very close to stealing the show with his portrayal of Weasel.

Beyond the Gates
A fun throwback to 80s horror and the era of VHS board games. Having horror icon Barbara Crampton show up certainly didn’t hurt this movie’s horror cred.

Don’t Breathe
I adored the Evil Dead remake, so I was excited to see what Fede Alvarez would do in his follow-up. He did not disappoint. It takes the home invasion subgenre and flips it a little. There were times when I wasn’t exactly sure who I was cheering for. This was a tense, unnerving movie. I didn’t love some of the events of the third act, but, overall, I really liked this.

Hush
Another movie that flipped the home invasion subgenre a bit. We follow a deaf woman who is terrorized by a masked attacker. He toys with her, thinking he has an easy kill. He would be wrong. You can find my review here.

Train to Busan
South Korean zombie film. It’s not perfect, but I really enjoyed myself. With fast zombies on a train, it often felt like a mash-up of 28 Days Later and Snowpiercer, which are pretty good choices to smash together. I loved these characters.

Music

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Any year we get new music from Radiohead is a good year. I wasn’t high on The King of Limbs, but this album is incredible.

Julien Baker – “Go Home”
Technically this came out in 2015. I really liked this album when it came out, but it wasn’t until recently that I fell in love with this song. Sparse and raw and heart-wrenching.

Daughter – Not to Disappear
Allows you to kind of settle into a downtempo groove before everything builds and explodes. One of my favorite albums of the year.

Eliza Hardy Jones – “Couldn’t Leave You”
In an album full of great songs, this one is my favorite. I love the music, but it’s her phrasing that pushes this over the top.

Pixies – “Classic Masher”
Pixies are one of my all-time favorite bands and I love that they’re still putting out music. It’s not quite on the level of their older stuff, but I still enjoy this. I’m a big fan of driving around with this song blaring from the speakers.

Jesus Jackson – “Seed”
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson released two incredible albums – his last one in 2009 – then fell off the map. He resurfaced in 2016 under the name Jesus Jackson and released a single. It’s a massive departure from his first couple albums, but it’s a really fun song.

Regina Spektor feat. Ben Folds – “Dear Theodosia”
I will never see Hamilton, but I can listen to this song on repeat.

Danny Brown – “Really Doe”
Great track. Has a really catchy chorus that you shouldn’t sing out loud in your workplace. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

Kevin Morby – “Destroyer”
I love the way the piano opens this song. Quite possibly my favorite song of the year.

Bon Iver – “00000 Million”
I’m a sucker for the Fionn Regan sample.

Brian Fallon – Painkillers
I’ve been a fan of The Gaslight Anthem for years, so I was pretty excited about Fallon’s first solo outing. It’s a little more stripped down than The Gaslight Anthem, but it still has the same feel. A great rock n’ roll album for driving around on a sunny day.

TV Shows

Stranger Things
I know I’m not special, but I loved this show. It felt like The Goonies/Super 8 mixed with The X-Files. Much creepier than I had expected. I loved these characters and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Vice Principals
I love the two leads – Danny McBride and Walton Goggins – so I was pretty excited about this. It’s extremely funny and extremely dark. I had no idea trying to get a job as a principal was so messy. I assume this is just basically a documentary.

Westworld
Some of the twists in this show were fairly easy to spot, but I had a really good time with this. I loved the concept, and the storytelling/acting was top-notch. Then again, I’m a sucker for pretty much anything set in a Western setting, so my love for this show is pretty unsurprising.

Exorcist
I love that horror has made a comeback on TV. I still haven’t finished the season, but the few episodes I saw were really creepy. Looking forward to digging in a little more.

The Good Place
I loved pretty much everyone involved in this, but was hesitant to actually watch it. The previews made it look pretty dumb. My wife forced me to start watching it and I’m glad she did. I’m madly in love with this show.

The X-Files
So it’s not technically a new show, but it came back this year after being gone for 14 years. “Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster” and “Home Again” were legitimately good episodes – if in slightly different ways – but the rest of them weren’t great. Unless your idea of “great” involves Mulder running around on a mushroom trip and going clubbing. Either way, it was great seeing Mulder and Scully back on the screen again.
If you’ll allow me to put on my nerd glasses for a moment, I will say that it would have been better had they followed the storylines from the season 10 comic book run, but I’m not the one calling the shots here.

Podcasts

Mickstape
The great Trill Withers Podcast left us early last year, but the host – @TylerIAm – joined forces with @ColeyMick to talk about the NBA, hip-hop and a random assortment of other things. These guys know their roundball and they’re also hilarious. Definitely give them a listen.

Something Red
This belongs to the Bloody Good Horror podcasting family, so you know it’s good. It’s hosted by CC, and it’s focused on horror literature. I don’t get a chance to read much these days, so I like having something like this that keeps me in the loop. Also, CC is awesome, so that helps.

Horror Writers
This is a bit self-serving, as I’ve been writing for them for years. But, since I’m not a regular on the podcasts, I figured it was okay to post it here. It’s just getting off the ground, but there is already quite a bit of fun stuff to listen to; whether it’s roundtable discussions or short, chilling stories, it’s always a great time.


Before I go, I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of you. We moved into the new digs at Pack To The Future during the season and it could not have gone better. I’ve gotten a ton of great feedback this season and I feel like I have improved a lot.
I’m planning on doing some work in the offseason on some other teams and posting here, so make sure you’re checking back in. Usually I’m ready to take a break once the offseason rolls around, but I just want to keep working this year.

Thanks again to everyone! Go Pack Go!

Comments