The Green Bay Packers aren’t the most loaded team in the NFL, but Aaron Rodgers shows off his ability to do incredible things without too much help, this time coming away with leading his team from behind in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins, capping things off with a game-winning touchdown pass with only three seconds left to play.
And to think that Rodgers, despite all of his success and excellent numbers, wasn’t considered a clutch quarterback when it comes to coming back from behind. The theory says that if the Packers are in the lead going into the fourth quarter, they’ll stay with it. If they’re behind, Rodgers (taking the blame and credit just like every other quarterback) won’t be able to bring them back. Something similar to Tiger Woods, back in the days when he was still winning majors.
Last year the numbers on those comeback attempts weren’t too fancy. Things have changed since then, through last season and this season as well. The Packers actually had the lead going into the fourth quarter but conceded two touchdowns in the fourth quarters, as Ryan Tannehill suddenly felt a lot better the moment Tramon Williams and Sam Shields were off the field with injuries. But the Packers went into special shotgun mode on those final two drives, and there was nothing the Dolphins could do to stop them.
Rodgers finished the game with three touchdown passes for 264 yards. He has thrown just one interception through the first six games of the season, the first NFL player with so few interceptions while already completing 15 passes for a touchdown through the first six games. He wasn’t completely accurate the entire game (24-of-42) but it didn’t matter as long as he got things right on the drives that mattered.
How did he do, leading the Packers to a field goal and that game winning touchdown to Andrew Quarless, who had just two receptions for 11 yards but one of them turning out to be so crucial? He started out by leading the Packers 68 yards on 11 plays from their own 20 to get a field goal bu completing 3-of-5 passes and running himself for a few yards in order to put the Packers in excellent field goal range, helped by some running from James Starks while Eddie Lacy was doing quite poorly in the game (41 yards, 14 carries).
The Packers managed to hold the Dolphins on just 17 yards of offense on the next drive, leaving them with just over two minutes and no timeouts in order to erase a four point lead. Rodgers drove the Packers downfield 60 yards in order to get that touchdown. The Dolphins probably went back and thought about the 4th and 1 on the Packers 1 they weren’t able to convert during the first quarter when they realized they were losing a game it was almost impossible to lose.
The Packers are far from perfect in plenty of of areas, but Rodgers make them good enough to look like contenders. Maybe only one other quarterback, Peyton Manning, could have made the Packers look so good for so long even after the decline of their Super Bowl year and the 15-1 season that came after, like Rodgers does. Not a lot of protection, not a lot of running, not such a great defense. But the Packers keep winning with Rodgers leading the way, even if it they cut it a bit thin at times.