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Janis outplays Patrick Peterson for the touchdown... somehow

Janis outplays Patrick Peterson for the touchdown… somehow

Jeff Janis had the game of his life last night. Janis, who dominated the 2014 combine despite coming out of tiny Saginaw Valley State, has not been a factor as a wide receiver for most of his Packers career (he has made an impact as a returner). As a rookie, he caught two passes for 16 yards; this past season, he caught two passes for 79 yards, both in a game against the Chargers.

Then, with Randall Cobb injured early in Green Bay’s playoff game against Arizona, Janis had the game of his life, catching 7 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. More incredibly, he had two catches for 101 yards on the Packers final drive of the game! Here’s a vine of those two plays, courtesy of Ryan Hester’s twitter account.

That amazing drive1 caused Janis to finish with 145 yards against Arizona, despite picking up just 79 yards all season. In the process, he set a record for receiving yards in a playoff game among players with less than 100 receiving yards in the regular season. In fact, he became just the 6th player to crack the century mark in a single postseason game despite failing to do it over the course of the regular season. The first five:

  • In 1943, Bears running back Dante Magnani had just 88 receiving yards. But in the third quarter of the NFL championship game, he broke the game open, catching 36-yard and 66-yard touchdowns from Sid Luckman. Magnani finished with 4 catches for 122 yards and the two scores in the Chicago victory.
  • We have all heard the story about Max McGee dominating Super Bowl I while playing with a hangover. McGee, who had a solid 12-year NFL career, was a 34-year-old backup in 1966. He caught just 4 passes for 91 yards, but when Boyd Dowler was injured early in the Super Bowl, it was McGee who stole the show. He caught 7 passes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the first score in Super Bowl history.
  • Jets tight end Mickey Shuler averaged 14.1 yards per game in 1979 and 1980, but an injured left shoulder in a 1981 preseason game ruined his season. Shula did not catch a pass during the regular season (appearing in six games), so little was expected out of him when the Jets faced the Bills in the playoffs. Then, starting tight end Jerome Barkum injured his hamstring in the first quarter, and Shuler entered the game. The Jets trailed 24-0, which explained the pass-happy day from quarterback Richard Todd ((28/51, 377, 2/4). Shuler caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown as part of an incredible comeback. New York had the ball, down 31-27, at the Buffalo 11-yard line with 14 seconds left, but Todd’s final interception of the game ended the rally.
  • Alvin Garrett caught 6 passes for just 75 yards in his first three seasons in the NFL, spanning 37 games. So he was not likely to be the hero when Washington took the field against Detroit in a playoff game after the 1982 season. But with Art Monk out with a foot injury, the 5’7 Garrett — generally limited to special teams — caught three second quarter touchdown passes from Joe Theismann. Garrett wasn’t a one-hit wonder — he caught 3/75/1 the next week — but it remains one of the more out-of-nowhere receiving games in playoff history.
  • Finally, we all remember last year’s Super Bowl, when Seattle’s Chris Matthews had a breakout game. The 6’4 wide receiver made a series of highlight catches, finishing the game with a 4/109/1 stat line.

And then there was Janis. The Packers lost in overtime, ruining the magical night, but it will still go down as one of the most incredible games by an unknown wide receiver in playoff history. And that drive will be remembered as one of the craziest drives by anyone in playoff history. Oh, and also: Aaron Rodgers is insane.

  1. Which, somehow was not a record: Mike Evans once gained 104 receiving yards on a drive. []
  • Tim Truemper

    Great piece of NFL history. It appears Chris Matthews is the best comparison thus far. And was Alvin Garrett considered part of the “Fun Bunch.” Looking at his PFR page I would have figured he had a more productive receiving career. Ah, the failings of human memory.

    • JeremyDeShetler

      Garrett was part of the Fun Bunch and also the Smurfs. If my faulty memory is right; the first Fun Bunch celebration took place after one of his touchdowns.

  • Tim Truemper

    Forgot about the smurfs! Thanks Jeremy.

  • Owen Rogan

    Janis also opened the drive with a 15-yard kick return giving him 116 total yards on the drive.