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From a Fan: My Greatest Memories of the Green Bay Packers in 2011
The Green Bay Packers gave their fans so many unforgettable memories in 2011.
The fourth Super Bowl. 13th championship. Winning the George Halas Trophy at Soldier Field. 19-1 record. Victories on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas night. One of the greatest individual performances in NFL history. An offense that can score with anyone. A defense that seems to have more scoring potential than the offenses of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams.
The only thing missing was a home playoff game at Lambeau Field. But hey: it gives us fans something to look forward to in 2012, right?
These were my favorite memories from 2011. This includes everything from the regular-season finale of the 2010-11 season to the Christmas night victory of the 2011-12 season. How ironic that it started and ended with the arch-nemesis just south of Green Bay?
The Chicago Bears and Packers have the NFL's most storied rivalry. Yet, they hadn't faced each other in the playoffs since 1941. That all changed in the 2011 NFC Championship. The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead. The offense would be held scoreless in the second half.
The Bears would eventually trim that deficit in half when Caleb Hanie replaced Jay Cutler. The Bears faced a 3rd-and-5 with approximately six minutes remaining. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers called a zone blitz that required that 337-pound B.J. Raji drop back into pass coverage. Hanie threw the football right into his hands and Raji rumbled into the end zone.
Raji celebrated with a "Dance" as the Packers took a 21-7 lead. They'd eventually win 21-14.
No. 4: The Kickoff Of The 2011 NFL Kickoff Game
The play wasn't anything special; Randall Cobb made his regular-season NFL debut with a 27-yard kickoff return to the 24-yard-line. The Packers would march down the field as Greg Jennings caught a seven-yard touchdown reception on the season's opening drive.
It was just great to see that there wasn't going to be a shortened season. The Packers had the most to lose from any type of cancellation because they were the defending Super Bowl champions and they have one of the NFL's youngest rosters; they're poised for a dynasty.
No. 3: Donald Driver Was Down And Then Back Out For Six More
The Green Bay Packers may have the NFL's deepest receiving unit (or maybe Aaron Rodgers just makes everyone look like All-Pros). At 36-years-old, Donald Driver doesn't have much room for regression if he wants to maintain his playing time over younger players like James Jones and Randall Cobb.
It was difficult to see Driver getting carted off into the locker room when he injured his knee against the Denver Broncos. Combined with the crowd's reaction, I felt like it might be a final farewell for him. I was still stung from the neck injury that Nick Collins had suffered just two weeks prior to that.
Driver would return and score the Packers' final touchdown in a 49-23 rout. Why Mike McCarthy allowed him back on the field when they had such a big lead is a mystery to me. Regardless, it made for a fantastic moment.
I would've felt great about going into halftime with a 21-17 lead with the way that Rodgers and the Packers' offense was playing. They also received the opening kickoff for the second half. However, the Atlanta Falcons "Tried to bite off more yardage," as Joe Buck would state it.
"And they just got burned."
The Falcons didn't seem to care much. John Abraham acted as if he owned Rodgers' heavyweight championship belt when his team trailed 35-14. Maybe he's just a fan of State Farm? That secondary could use some better coverage rates whenever they're playing the Packers or Saints.
No. 1: 4th-And-5
I couldn't immediately tell whether Jarrett Bush had made the interception or if the ball landed on the ground. What I knew was that Troy Aikman was full of "It" and I looked like Greg Jennings as I stormed across the living room.
Randall Cobb's 108-yard kickoff return against the New Orleans Saints in the regular-season opener.
Clay Matthews presenting Aaron Rodgers with the heavyweight championship belt during the Super Bowl XLV post-game press conference.
Nick Collins' 38-yard interception return in Super Bowl XLV
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 while completing a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and Nashville Predators. He also follows the Tennessee Titans, his favorite AFC team.
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