Plays that shaped the Packers' season No. 1: Jordy Nelson's torn ACL

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The play that most shaped the 2015 Green Bay Packers season happened well before any of the actual 2,982 plays on offense, defense and special teams in the regular season and playoffs.

It happened in, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers called it, a “meaningless game.”

We wrap up our look at the 10 plays that most shaped the season.

Here’s No. 1:

Game: Packers vs. Steelers, preseason game.

Date: Aug. 23, 2015.

Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh.

The play: Jordy Nelson’s torn ACL.

Why it mattered: The Packers didn’t just lose their top receiver who was coming off his best season -- 98 catches, 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014 -- they also lost their deep threat. Three of Nelson's touchdowns in 2014 were 65 yards or longer, and he led the league with seven touchdowns of at least 40 yards. Without Nelson, Rodgers’ yards per attempt -- perhaps the most telling stat about the potency of an offense -- was the lowest of his career at just 6.7. Rodgers had just two passing plays in the regular season longer than 60 yards, and one of them was the 61-yard Hail Mary against the Lions. The Packers finished tied for 25th out of the 32 teams in passing yards per game. James Jones, who was signed in September to replace Nelson, made up for some of the lost production with 50 catches and eight touchdowns, but he wasn’t the deep threat they needed. Jones also started fast with six touchdowns in his first six games but had five games with either zero or one catch.

Quotable: “If I was going to be critical of one of the things on offense that we didn’t do a good enough job of, we didn’t handle the injuries, let alone Jordy [and] the left tackle,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the season. “You have to help people at times in each and every season. It’s part of your game planning. It’s part of your strategic makeup when you get into game planning and when we had uphill matchups, we didn’t do a good job helping that individual. I don’t really put Jordy in that category because Jordy was lost in Pittsburgh in the preseason and we had plenty of time to adjust, and I think the way we started the season you could make a case that we did adjust to it.”

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