Plays that shaped the season: No. 4

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
1:00
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers were on the field for more than 2,000 plays combined on offense and defense this season and several hundred more on special teams.

As we look back on the season, we will examine 10 plays, subjectively chosen, as the ones that most shaped the Packers’ season that ended with the 23-20 NFC wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

The list, so far, in reverse order:

No. 10: Micah Hyde’s near interception against the 49ers.

No. 9: Enter Matt Flynn in relief against the Vikings.

No. 8: Johnathan Franklin’s fourth-and-1 fumble against the Bengals.

No. 7: Eddie Lacy’s 60-yard run against the Cowboys.

No. 6 (and 6a): Sam Shields’ interception in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys (and Tramon Williams’ interception against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter).

No. 5: Clay Matthews breaks his thumb against the Lions.

Here’s No. 4:

Date: Oct. 13, 2013.

Location: M&T Bank Stadium; Baltimore.

Game: Packers at Ravens.

The play: Receiver Randall Cobb takes a low hit from safety Matt Elam at the end of a 15-yard reception.

Why it mattered: The hit, deemed legal by the NFL, caused Cobb to fracture his tibia just below his knee. He was placed on injured reserve/designated to return but did not come back until the regular-season finale against the Bears, missing 10 games. Before his injury, Cobb was off to a career-best start. At the time, he led the Packers with 29 receptions, putting him on pace for 92 catches. The hit rekindled the debate about establishing a “hitting zone” for defenders. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers initially didn’t like how Elam hit Cobb low and confronted him, but later said he understood the challenges defensive players have because they know they can’t strike players in the head.

Quotable: “I just felt like, from my vantage point, he had plenty of time to not take out a guy’s legs in that situation,” Rodgers said after the game. “I think he could have hit in the proper hitting zone, and that’s what I told him. The other safety came over and actually made a very knowledgeable point, which I appreciated a little intelligent answer back and forth about some of the issues defensive players have to deal with [trying to hit] the target area. I totally understand that and get that.”

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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