How Jarrett Bush Saved the Green Bay Packers' Season

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIDecember 11, 2013

Jarrett Bush saved the Green Bay Packers' season in Week 14.
Jarrett Bush saved the Green Bay Packers' season in Week 14.Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers' season was on the brink of failure. They held a 22-21 lead over the Atlanta Falcons, but the Falcons were driving late in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead.

Then, the most unexpected of players stepped up and saved Green Bay's season. That player was cornerback Jarrett Bush.

Bush's career with the Packers has been up and down. This year, he's been known for his strong play on special teams and his unimpressive play when he's been in as an extra cornerback.

However, it was this same Bush that was on the field late in the game for the Packers and made two of the most important defensive plays all year. Let's take a look at exactly how Bush managed to save the Packers' season and keep their playoff hopes alive.



The first big play from Bush came just after the two-minute warning. The Falcons were down by a single point but were outside field-goal range. 

The play that Atlanta called was just a short out route to tight end Tony Gonzalez. 

Jarrett Bush is lined up across from Tony Gonzalez.
Jarrett Bush is lined up across from Tony Gonzalez.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

The first thing that Bush did very well on this play was that he got just enough contact with Gonzalez to bump him off his route.

Bush gets just enough contact on Gonzalez.
Bush gets just enough contact on Gonzalez.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

The fact that Bush was able to affect Gonzalez's route so much is impressive, considering that Gonzalez has about five inches and 47 pounds on him. By pushing Gonzalez off his route, Bush did just enough damage to get Gonzalez to his spot unbalanced.

As you can see in the picture below, Bush closed well on Gonzalez and got enough of his hand on the ball to pop it out of the hands of one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game of football.

Bush knocks the ball loose.
Bush knocks the ball loose.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

By forcing this incompletion, Bush gave the Packers offense the ball back with the chance to run out the clock and win the game. 



The second season-saving play that Bush made came on 3rd-and-10 with only 11 seconds remaining in the game. Once again, the Falcons were driving down the field and only needed one more big completion to get into field-goal range to have a chance to win the game.

On this play, Bush was once again lined up across from Gonzalez.

Bush is lined up across from Gonzalez again.
Bush is lined up across from Gonzalez again.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

The Falcons were going to run a shallow out route with Gonzalez and a deep out with wide receiver Harry Douglas. They were also having wide receiver Roddy White streak deep down the sideline.

Instead of playing man coverage against Gonzalez, Bush dropped into zone. His eyes were locked onto Douglas, and as soon as Douglas turned his head around, Bush did the same thing and locked his eyes into the backfield.

Bush turns his head when the receiver does.
Bush turns his head when the receiver does.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

When quarterback Matt Ryan released the ball, Bush was in the perfect position to make the play. However, what truly made this play so impressive was the fact that he sustained the contact with fellow cornerback Sam Shields and managed to hold onto the ball to record the interception.

Bush maintains possession of the ball through contact.
Bush maintains possession of the ball through contact.Photo from NFL Game Rewind

Since this was only third down, had Bush dropped that interception, the Falcons would have had one last chance to throw a Hail Mary and win the game. However, Bush's incredible play gave the ball back to the Packers with only four seconds left in the game.

Had the Packers lost Sunday, which certainly would have been possible without Bush, their playoff hopes would have been dashed. They would have dropped to 5-7-1 on the season and multiple miracles wouldn't have been enough to get them atop the NFC North.

However, Bush stepped up in the biggest way possible and saved Green Bay's season in two plays.