The Green Bay Packers just connected on a Hail Mary that sent the divisional round playoff game to overtime, one of the most dramatic final plays in NFL playoff history.
Jeff Janis hauled in the pass from Aaron Rodgers, who threw it more than 60 yards in the air — and did it throwing across his body.
Here is video of the amazing Hail Mary:
The play set Twitter afire, with thousands of reactions pouring in within just a few minutes.
— Sleeper Athletes (@SleeperAthletes) January 17, 2016
— SkySportsNFL (@SkySportsNFL) January 17, 2016
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 17, 2016
To add to the drama, the coin toss that came after the Hail Mary had to be re-thrown when it failed to flip in the air. Though the Packers won the aborted toss, the re-toss also went to the Cardinals.
Afterward, Aaron Rodgers was quite miffed.
“He had it on heads, he was showing heads, so I called tails, and it didn’t flip,” Rodgers said (via NFL.com). “He just tossed it up in the air and it did not turn over at all and it landed on the ground. So we obviously thought that was not right. He picked the coin up, flipped it to tails and then he flipped it without giving me a chance to make a recall there. So it was confusing.”
It got even crazier from there. On the very first play of overtime, Carson Palmer avoided a sack and found a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald, who ran through the rest of the Green Bay defenders all the way to the five-yard line. Two plays later Fitzgerald took a shovel pass the rest of the way, scoring the game-ending touchdown.
Fitzgerald had a great performance, with 8 catches for 176 yards including the game-winning score. He has now become the only player in the Super Bowl era with three games of 150 yards or more in the playoffs.
“It was very appropriate for him to finish the game that way,” said quarterback Carson Palmer. “Especially finish the game in the end zone to get the win. But he means a lot to this team, he means so much to this community and it’s spectacular some of the things he does on the field.”
Fitzgerald’s two amazing overtime plays are still overshadowed by the big Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers, which is actually the second one he’s hit this season. Earlier in the year, the Packers benefited from a phantom facemask call against the Detroit Lions as the Packers were desperately trying to lateral their way into the endzone on the final play of the game. This gave the Packers on untimed down, and Rodgers delivered a 61-yard Hail Mary to tight end Richard Rodgers for the win.
The loss was a tough one for the Packers and especially for coach Mike McCarthy, who has now lost his seventh playoff game, with five of those coming on the final play of the game. And the loss wasted a gritty effort from the team, who lost Randall Cobb in the first quarter with a chest injury. Jeff Janis, who caught the Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers, was a little-used player during the season but came up huge.
But the defensive miscues in overtime wasted what could have been one of the most-remembered plays of all time in the Hail Mary. Instead, the Packers will have to wait yet another year for a chance at their second title of the Aaron Rodgers era.
[Image via NBC]