Ultimate Game Review

It's our Play of the Game, Player of the Game, a gaze into the Crystal Ball and 15 story-telling numbers from the Packers' memorable victory over Miami. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers’ 27-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Play of the Game

Aaron Rodgers’ game-winning touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless — never mind the fake-spike completion to Davante Adams — doesn’t happen without T.J. Lang’s hustle.

On third-and-9 from the Dolphins’ 47, Rodgers faced immediate pressure from Miami star defensive end Cameron Wake, who had gotten around right tackle Bryan Bulaga. That forced Rodgers to step up in the pocket. Dolphins linebacker Chris McCain converged on Rodgers while the other defensive end, Olivier Vernon, got away from left tackle David Bakhtiari. Rodgers tried to elude McCain but wound up turning into the hard-charging Vernon, who jarred the ball loose.

Lang beat McCain cornerback Brent Grimes to the loose ball to let the Packers survive for fourth down.

“It’s instincts,” Lang said. “You’re a football player. You see a ball on the ground, you’ve got to do everything you’ve got to do to go grab it. It’s something that, I saw the ball coming and saw a guy coming straight me and I just dove and hoped for the best. I ended up coming out with it.”

Player of the Game

Rodgers was magnificent in what might rank as his best clutch performance, considering the circumstances. He took a pounding but made several key plays against a Dolphins pass defense that entered the game ranked No. 1 in yards per pass attempt.

His finest play came on the fourth-and-10 following the Lang recovery. Vernon beat Bakhtiari with an inside swim move and stormed up the middle. Just before unloading the ball, the hard-charging Vernon hit Rodgers flush in the chest. Rodgers, however, fired a perfect strike to Nelson for 18 yards.

“I’ve got to work on my vocabulary. The guy’s a remarkable football player,” McCarthy said. “There’s things as a play-caller you can try to help your quarterback when he’s gassed like that. Just for him to keep battling through and extending the number of plays he did it was obviously impressive.”

Gazing into the Crystal Ball

You’d like to think a game like this would build vital momentum with Carolina coming to Green Bay and a game at New Orleans before the bye. Then again, the Packers thought they had built vital momentum with a big rally to beat the Jets, only to be dominated at Detroit.

The Panthers, the defending NFC South champions, were supposed to be an all-defense, no-offense team after parting ways with veteran receiver Steve Smith. Instead, the Panthers are coming off a 31-24 win over Chicago and a 37-37 tie against Cincinnati.

One thing’s for certain: Green Bay’s defense had better figure out how to combat the read-option and an athletic quarterback after having all sorts of problems in the second half with Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton rushed for 107 yards and threw for 284 against the Bengals.

Numbers Worth Noting

0: Giveaways by the Packers. They have four this season, putting them on pace for 10.7. Green Bay’s best season came in 2011, when it had 14. Of the best four seasons in Packers history, three came under McCarthy, with the 2009 and 2012 teams having 16 apiece.

3: Green Bay’s turnover ratio, on the positive side, with two first-half interceptions and the fumbled lateral on the final play of the game providing three takeaways. Green Bay is plus-9 for the season — tops in the league — and plus-7 in the past three games.

3: Three-and-out series by the Dolphins on Sunday. They had a league-low five entering the game.

4.67: Yards per play by Green Bay’s offense. Miami’s defense entered the league ranked No. 1 by allowing 4.70 yards per play.

9: Consecutive October games won by the Packers. Aaron Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdown passes and only one interception in those games.

9: Receptions by Jordy Nelson. That ties Max McGee (345) for ninth-most in franchise history. He has four games of at least nine receptions this season. His touchdown was the 40th of his career, passing Boyd Dowler for ninth in team history.

9: Interceptions by the Packers this season, with Sam Shields and Casey Hayward picking off passes against the Dolphins. The Packers had only 11 last season.

10: Rushing yards allowed on 10 first-half carries by Green Bay’s last-ranked run defense. The Dolphins, however, finished with 112 yards on 23 rushes.

10: Missed tackles, by Packer Report’s count, by Green Bay’s defense. The Packers had missed 6.0 per game the previous four games, by ProFootballFocus.com’s tally.

10: Touchdowns against no interceptions for Rodgers since telling Packers fans to “relax.” Green Bay is 3-0 in those games and has scored 107 points.

39: Combined interceptions, since 2010 and including playoffs, by cornerbacks Tramon Williams (20) and Sam Shields (19; including one on Sunday). Both exited in a span of three plays in the third quarter with injuries. They are two of the three leading interceptors in the NFL during that span, with Richard Sherman tied with Williams.

55: Plays run against the Packers. The entered the game ranked fourth with 72.6 snaps per game and on pace to be on the field for 1,162 snaps this season. That would have been the most in NFL history.

79: Plays run by the Packers. Their goal was to average 75 plays but they entered the game with a season-high total of 68 (vs. the Jets) and a season average of 55.0.

100: Career games played by Rodgers, with his three touchdowns and 264 yards increasing his career totals to 203 passes and 25,616 yards. Only Dan Marino (217) has thrown for more touchdowns in his first 100 games and Marino (27,064), Kurt Warner (26,097) and Peyton Manning (26,008) are the only quarterbacks with more yards.

170: Consecutive passes without an interception for Rodgers. In Packers history, Bart Starr has the longest streak (294 in 1964-1965) with Rodgers’ streak of 181 attempts ranking second. Rodgers surpassed Brett Favre (163 in 1995-1996) and Rodgers (159-pass streaks in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013).

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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