Ex­cep­tional mo­ments

Although in­con­sis­tent at times, Pack­ers spe­cial teams made some out­stand­ing plays

Packer Plus - - Top Plays Of The Season - By MARTIN HEN­DRICKS

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.

Green Bay fans can also sub­mit their choice at www.json­line.com/pack­vote.

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.

MARK HOFF­MAN / MHOFFMAN@JOUR­NALSEN­TINEL.COM

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.

RICK WOOD / PACKER PLUS

Ma­son Crosby kicks a 55-yard field goal against the Jets Sept. 14 at Lam­beau Field.

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