Although inconsistent at times, Packers special teams made some outstanding plays
The Green Bay Packers special teams units had their share of successes and disappointments this season.
From blocked kicks and inconsistent coverage to punt return touchdowns and a record-setting field goal, the Packers did not match the level of play of the team’s prolific offense and opportunistic defense.
This week, Packer Plus concentrates on the top plays by Green Bay’s special teams in the 2014 regular season.
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MASON CROSBY, 55-YARD FIELD GOAL vs. JETS
Packers 31, Jets 24; Sept. 14 at Lambeau Field
For all but eight seconds of the first half, the only points Green Bay could muster in a lackluster first-half performance came from the right foot of Crosby.
The Packers trailed New York, 21-6, with 3:12 left in the second quarter when their offense got a huge lift with Crosby’s third field goal — the longest by a Green Bay kicker at Lambeau Field.
Crosby’s 55-yard boot lifted the sellout crowd and the team, igniting a comeback that continued with Randall Cobb’s 6-yard touchdown reception with eight seconds left in the half.
Crosby’s record kick easily cleared the cross bar and he finished with 11 points in the victory that evened the Packers’ season at 1-1.
TIM MASTHAY, 58-YARD PUNT vs. VIKINGS
Packers 42, Vikings 10; Oct. 2 at Lambeau Field
Starting field position in any game is important, but it’s heightened in inclement weather.
On a rainy evening against its NFC North Division rival, Masthay’s five first-half punts left Minnesota starting drives at its own 14, 11, 12, 20 (touchback) and 9-yard lines.
Green Bay led 14-0 early in the second quarter when Masthay’s third 58-yarder was a high driving kick that sailed to the Vikings’ 5-yard line. It was caught by Marcus Sherels and returned to the Minnesota 12.
A few plays later, Julius Peppers picked off a Christian Ponder pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead. Masthay averaged 50.7 yards on six punts in the game, placing five inside the 20-yard line.
JARRETT BOYKIN, FORCED FUMBLE ON PUNT vs. BEARS
Packers 55, Bears 14; Nov. 9 at Lambeau Field
This is a novel special
teams play that made all the highlight reels.
In a nutshell, the reserve Green Bay receiver forced a fumble with his foot in mid-drop of the football on an unsuccessful Chicago attempted punt.
Facing a fourth down at the Bears’ 20-yard line, Boykin rushed inside his blocker who slipped down and had a clear path to block Pat O’Donell’s punt. But the kick was never made.
Boykin jumped into the air and extended his arms to block the kick, but his right foot hit the football in midair before it could be struck. O’Donell recovered the football at the 8-yard line and Boykin made the tackle.
Green Bay’s offense took over and got a field goal to extend its lead to 45-0.
MICAH HYDE, 75-YARD TD PUNT RETURN vs. EAGLES
Packers 53, Eagles 20; Nov. 16 at Lambeau Field
Hyde’s spectacular return highlighted a key NFC contest in Week 11.
Hyde secured the high punt just inside the Green Bay 25 and stepped left to avoid Eagles defender Josh Huff. He then cut up field through the middle and bolted toward the right sideline with one man to beat: punter Donnie Jones.
Hyde won the footrace as Jones dove and missed at the 7-yard line. Hyde highstepped into the end zone for a 17-0 Green Bay cushion with 2:00 remaining in the quarter.
Hyde put himself into the Packers record books with the second 75-plus yard punt return of his young career.
MICAH HYDE, 55-YARD TD PUNT RETURN vs. LIONS
Packers 30, Lions 20; Dec. 28 at Lambeau Field
With the NFC North title on the line and its offense struggling in the opening quarter, Green Bay drew first blood on Hyde’s second punt return for a touchdown in the 2014 regular season.
The Packers defensive back cleanly fielded Detroit punter Sam Martin’s boot at his own 45-yard line. Hyde started up field and cut right, making Lions defender Jed Collins miss.
Hyde then shot up the middle, veered toward the left sideline, and was never challenged to the end zone. “I made one cut and made a guy miss and then it opened up,” Hyde explained. “I couldn’t have done it without the guys blocking and we gave a boost to our offense.”
It was Hyde’s third punt return for a touchdown in his two-year career, tying him for the franchise mark with returners Desmond Howard and Will Blackmon.
Packers free safety Micah Hyde returns a punt for a 75-yard touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter of the game Nov. 16 at Lambeau Field. It was the second 75-plus-yard punt return of his young career.
Mason Crosby kicks a 55-yard field goal against the Jets Sept. 14 at Lambeau Field.