Let me set the scene. It's the 2022 NFL season, and the Green Bay Packers are sitting with a 3-5 record before heading into Detroit to face the lowly 1-6 Lions.
The Packers were looking to get a big win against a division opponent, when disaster struck. Rashan Gary goes down with an apparent knee injury that later would be diagnosed as a season-ending ACL tear. Gary's 2022 campaign was over.
However, the former first-round pick did not shy away from recovery, ensuring he got back to 100% to be ready to dominate in 2023. Gary has since returned to action this season and is playing some of the best ball of his career.
Although Gary was playing in his 11th game back from tearing his ACL, this Thanksgiving game in Detroit meant more to him than just football. Gary wanted to come back to the stadium that stripped him of his 2022 season and put on a show. He did just that.
Gary finished his day with four pressures, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. One of his forced fumbles led to a Johnathan Owens scoop-and-score touchdown.
Packers' Rashan Gary's Thanksgiving performance places him among NFL's best
"I know I tipped the ball. I didn't know what it was going to be. When I got up, I saw J.O. in the end zone, so I said, 'Oh, that's what's up,'" said Gary on his game-changing play.
Gary dominated what was touted as one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL for all 60 minutes on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
Against the Lions, Gary had his second three-sack game. He is tied for 13th in the NFL in sacks with 8.5, which ranks higher than Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa, and Chris Jones.
An emotional Gary in the locker room after the game was embraced by his head coach and teammates, who know how much he put into his recovery this past offseason. Gary's performance against the Lions earned him a game ball.
"I'm tired of crying In front of y'all," said an emotional Gary in the Packers locker room after the game.
Since returning from his ACL injury, Gary has not only proven to Packers fans that he is the cornerstone piece to the defensive line for the team's future, but to the entire NFL that he should be in the discussion as one of the best pass rushers in the league.