GREEN BAY – The votes are in, and the winners of our previous four categories are now up for Peak Performance of the Year for 2015.
Here are your top vote-getters on offense, defense, special teams and in the clutch. Be sure to watch the video and cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of the page.
Offense: Jeff Janis at Arizona, NFC divisional playoff
Forced into an unexpectedly large role after Randall Cobb left the game with an injury, Janis responded with a breakout game, catching seven passes for 145 yards. He caught four for 36 on two scoring drives in the second quarter, snagged an 8-yard TD pass for his first pro score in the third quarter, and then made two of the biggest plays of the season on the final drive. His 60-yard reception on fourth-and-20 kept a seemingly hopeless drive alive, and then his 41-yard TD catch on a Hail Mary against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson sent the playoff game into overtime.
Defense: Clay Matthews, Mike Neal and Nick Perry at Washington, NFC wild-card playoff
The pass rush came fast and furious at Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, as three Packers recorded multi-sack efforts. Matthews had 1½ to extend his all-time franchise playoff record, while Neal and Perry had two sacks apiece. One of Neal’s produced a fumble that Neal himself recovered, and Perry beat highly regarded left tackle Trent Williams on both of his takedowns.
Special teams: Jeff Janis vs. Dallas, Week 14
Cowboys punt returner Lucky Whitehead found out how quickly Janis was becoming one of the league’s top punt gunners. Not once but twice, Janis was right in Whitehead’s face as he fielded punts and dropped him for a loss. Janis added a shared tackle with teammate Demetri Goodson on another coverage tackle for loss. It’s a wonder Whitehead didn’t start calling fair catches sooner.
Clutch: Aaron Rodgers at Detroit, Week 13
The Packers trailed the Lions 20-0 midway through the third quarter when Rodgers finally got the offense going. A 75-yard drive for a TD was followed by a quick turnover and another score, and the game was on. In the fourth quarter, Rodgers capped an 84-yard TD drive with a 17-yard scramble around the left side to the pylon, and not long after, he launched one of the longest, most majestic Hail Mary throws in the history of the game.