Loss to Niners Squeezes its Way onto Crowded Postseason Heartbreak List for Rodgers, Packers
As the dust settles on another disappointing end to a promising Packers season, it got me thinking. The loss to the 49ers was painful for a multitude of reasons, but where does it rank among the rest of the heartbreaking playoff losses in the Rodgers era? For me, it may just sneak into the top 5.
Here are my personal top 5 most painful playoff losses while Rodgers has been at the helm:
Honorable mention: 2013 Wildcard vs. San Francisco (23-20)
This game had revenge written all over it. After the Packers effectively put Colin Kaepernick on the map the year prior, Green Bay came into this game ready to avenge that tough loss. The Packers were much improved on the defensive end, and took care of the football. A late dropped interception by Micah Hyde could have been the difference, but instead Phil Dawson snuck in a 33 yard field goal to beat the Packers as the clock expired.
#5 – 2021 Divisional vs. San Francisco – (13-10)
The biggest sting of this one is the recency bias. Yes, it was bad, and yes, the Packers should have remedied (or at least tried) their special teams throughout the season. It wasn’t just the special teams last Saturday night that spelled the Packers doom, but tentative play calling and ineffective offense as well.
#4 – 2020 NFC Championship Game vs. Tampa Bay – (31-26)
This was such a highly anticipated game. The Packers had lost big time earlier in the season to Tom Brady and the Bucs, but had been playing well enough down the stretch to earn the #1 seed and host the red hot Bucs. A Tom Brady heave at the end of the first half to Scotty Miller was the memorable play that set the Packers back, but the failure to turn three second half interceptions into points was the difference.
#3 – 2017 NFC Championship Game at Atlanta – (44-21)
One of the few on the list where the Packers weren’t favored to win. The most painful part of this game was the lead-up: The Packers had taken down a good Giants team, and followed that up with an incredible upset of Dallas on the road. An early fumble paired with the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones connection proved too much for the Packers.
#2 – 2011 Divisional vs. New York Giants – (37-20)
The start of a dynasty. The Packers set a multitude of records following up their Super Bowl season a year prior, and come into their first playoff game as the #1 seed with a record of 15-1. For the second time in recent memory, Eli Manning takes down the Packers in Lambeau, this time in dominant fashion. Another hail mary at the halftime buzzer set the Packers back, but 4 Packers turnovers cement this team as one of the best to not win the big game.
#1 – 2014 NFC Championship Game at Seattle (28-22 OT)
My oh my. This game still haunts me to this day, and yet when it’s on replay, I still can’t look away. It’s almost impressive how the Packers blew this one. A 19-7 late lead paired with 5 Seahawk turnovers should have been enough, but it wasn’t. Everything went right for the Seahawks in the final 2:09 and overtime, and EVERYTHING went wrong for the Packers. There were plenty of scapegoats assigned in this one, but it simply comes down to execution. One of the most memorable playoff blunders in NFL history, and another missed opportunity for a Brady-Rodgers Super Bowl showdown. No need to ask if it still stings, I’m writing about it after all.
There it is. As tough as Saturday Night was, it pales in comparison to some of the other tough losses in the postseason for Rodgers and the Packers. Like it or not, Rodgers and Favre have very similar postseason records at this stage. Favre finished 12-10 as the Packers starter in the postseason, while Rodgers currently stands at 11-9. As for the debate of whether or not the Packers need to move on from the future Hall of Famer, I still firmly believe he gives the legendary franchise the best chance to capture another title.