The 2022 Green Bay Packers season is over. The team finished with an 8-9 record and in third place in the NFC North division.
Despite the disappointing performance overall, there were some highlights and pleasant surprises over the course of the season. There were also major disappointments and injuries along the way.
Here is a look at the Packers 2022 postseason awards. Feel free to comment on any of these and state your opinions about who you feel deserves any of these awards.
Offensive MVP: RB Aaron Jones
The offense was inconsistent all season but Aaron Jones was clearly their best player. He finished the season with a career-best 1,121 rushing yards and a career-high 59 receptions as well.
Jones fought through some nagging injuries during the season and still was the engine that made the offense go. He averaged 5.3-yards per carry and topped 100 yards in a game five times. The Packers went 4-1 in those games with the only loss coming in Buffalo.
Jones has a great skill set for the Packers offense and could have done better this season if the offense emphasized the running game as much as they said they wanted to in some games.
Defensive MVP: CB Jaire Alexander
Before his injury, Rashan Gary was on pace to win this award but over a full season, it belongs to Alexander. The former first round pick out of Louisville was inconsistent in the early part of the season but finished strong. The passive defense deployed by Joe Barry in the first half of the season didn’t help Alexander either.
He finished the season with a career-high five interceptions and broke up 14 passes even though opposing quarterbacks were not always eager to throw to receivers covered by Ja’Money.
Opposing quarterbacks completed 59.8 percent of the passes they threw to receivers covered by Alexander this season, the highest rate since his rookie season. Their quarterback rating was a mere 63.7, however, due largely to the increase in interceptions.
Alexander rose to the occasion against the Vikings in Week 17 and shut down Justin Jefferson. He was the only Packers player to earn Pro Bowl honors this season.
Special Teams MVP: Keisean Nixon
Nixon was brought in to be a gunner on special teams by new coordinator Rich Bisaccia but he ended up finishing the season with more than 1,000 yards on kick returns despite not taking over the job until Week 8.
Nixon gave the Packers a weapon on special teams that they haven’t had in roughly two decades. He returned a kick for a touchdown, the first the Packers have had since 2011 and averaged 28.8-yards per kick return.
He didn’t become the team’s primary punt returner until Week 10 but averaged 12.7-yards per runback on 11 returns.
Nixon is fearless, fast and reads his blocks well. He gave a team that struggles offensively better field position which was a catalyst for the team’s late-season four-game winning streak.
Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year: WR Christian Watson
Watson struggled through injuries in preseason and a dramatic drop on the first offensive play from scrimmage in Week 1. Nagging injuries limited him to 10 catches for 88 yards and no touchdowns through the first nine games of the season.
But Watson had his breakout game against the Cowboys and had 31 catches for 523 yards and seven touchdowns receiving in the final eight games. He had three 100-plus yard days and ran for two touchdowns.
Watson has great size and elite speed. He improved as a route runner and earned the trust of Aaron Rodgers.
The potential is there for Watson to become an elite receiver. He needs to improve his hands and be more consistent but he had a strong finish to his rookie year.
Unsung Hero: OL Zach Tom
Tom played four different positions along the offensive line filling in when needed because of injuries. The only position he didn’t play was center.
The rookie fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest graded out as a better pass blocker than run blocker, but his versatility and overall performance points towards Tom having a bright future along the offensive line.
Biggest Disappointment: QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers dealt with a lot this season including the loss of Davante Adams, an inexperienced receiving corps, injuries along the offensive line and his own broken thumb and rib injuries.
All these issues were problems for Rodgers but ultimately there was a big drop in his production and play. His quarterback rating dropped from 111.9 to 91.1, his touchdown passes fell from 37 to 26 and his interceptions rose from four to 12.
Rodgers did not have a 300-yard game and had only one game with three or more touchdowns.
The Packers needed Rodgers to lead the team and rise to the occasion. While the disappointing season wasn’t all his fault, he didn’t live up to his own lofty standards and was a very average quarterback statistically in 2022.
Best Game: Week 17: Packers 41, Vikings 17
The Packers shut down Justin Jefferson and had all units rise to the occasion. Nixon returned a kick 105 yards for a touchdown, Darnell Savage returned an interception 75 yards for another score and Jones gained 111 yards rushing.
The Packers led 41-3 before putting in their backups midway through the fourth quarter.
This was a strong performance with the season on the line.
Worst Game: Week 5: Giants 27, Packers 22
While the Packers may have had games where they played worse, this was the game that cost them the most. In their first game in London, the Packers were 3-1 entering the game and held a 10-point lead at halftime before falling apart.
Poor play calling by Matt LaFleur on the final drive kept the team from tying the game and on the final play, Rodgers injured his thumb which reduced his effectiveness for the rest of the season.
This was a game they should have won and set off a chain reaction from which they never fully recovered for the rest of the season.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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