The Best Divisional Round Performances in Packers History
The Packers have a long playoff history, and their many postseason trips have produced no shortage of great performances in the Divisional round. It could take an all-time great performance to beat Dallas on the road this week, so let’s take a quick look back at some of the best performances ever to see what this year’s team will have to match.
A surprising collection of offensive players have starred
The last Packers/Cowboys matchup in the Divisional round happened just two years ago (when Dez definitely didn’t catch it), and in that game, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams put together one of the best tandem receiving efforts in Packers history. Cobb hauled in eight passes for 116 yards, while Adams grabbed seven for 117 and a touchdown.
Neither one, though, can match the individual effort Jeff Janis produced during the 2016 Divisional game in Arizona. That night, Janis caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. His outburst including a 60-yard Hail Mary to save the Packers from a 4th down deep in their own territory, then a 41-yard Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Great receiving performances don’t come without great passing performances, and you won’t find one finer than Aaron Rodgers’ one man destruction of the Atlanta Falcons during the 2010 playoffs. Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns that afternoon, and also ran in another score for good measure.
When it comes to rushing outputs, you can’t do better than Ryan Grant’s rumble over the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 Divisional round. The game might be better known for Brett Favre throwing snowballs and underhanded passes, but Grant put on a show despite two early fumbles. He finished the day with 201 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and is the only player in Packers history to score three touchdowns in a Divisional round game.
Familiar names stand out on defense
It’s harder to quantify great defensive performances, but a few names jump out. Tramon Williams had probably the best divisional round performance of any Packers defensive back when he intercepted two passes against the Atlanta Falcons in 2010, returning one 70 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.
Clay Matthews also gets a mention for the same game, recording two sacks that day. Matthews’ performances is the only instance of a modern-era Packers player notching two sacks in a Divisional game win. However, in 1967, Henry Jordan was credited for 3.5 sacks against the Los Angeles Rams in a 28-7 Divisional round win for the Packers, though sacks did not become an official stat until 1982.
It's hard to top Desmond Howard on special teams
Finally, the best special teams performance in Packers’ divisional round history could also earn a mention on a list of postseason gaffes. Desmond Howard ignited a rout over the San Francisco 49ers in the 1996 playoffs by returning a punt 71 yards for a touchdown after the 49ers opened the game with a three and out. He then set up the Packers’ next touchdown with a 46 yard punt return just a few minutes later.
However, Howard nearly let the 49ers back into the game with a mistake that seems pretty funny in hindsight: he was just late getting back from halftime. Howard was trying to change into a clean uniform after his original uniform became extremely dirty due to the very muddy field that day, and as a result he was late for the start of the second half. The Packers had to rush another player onto the field for the kick return, and a miscommunication led to the 49ers recovering a fumble deep in Packers territory, setting up a touchdown that cut the score to 21-14 in favor of Green Bay. They never scored again, though, and Green Bay prevailed, 35-14.