Cardiac Pack: Rodgers to Quarless with 3 seconds left lifts Packers to win over Dolphins
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~Similar to many a last-second win back in the 90’s, Aaron Rodgers hit tight end Andrew Quarless in the end zone with 3 seconds left in the game to give the Green Bay Packers a 27-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins and move to 4-2, keeping pace with the Detroit Lions atop the NFC North.
The Packers got the ball back at its 40-yard line with 2 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game and trailing 24-20. Knowing a field goal was not an option, it was touchdown-or-lose territory, not the kind of wins the Packers are accustomed to during the Rodgers Era.
Rodgers was 6-for-9 on the game-winning drive.
The biggest play on the drive was an 18-yard pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on fourth-and-10 from the Miami 30.
The Dolphins had scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions of the second half, driving 80, 80 and 79 yards to take a 24-17 lead with 9:13 left in the game, and the Packers’ defense was wearing down after losing cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams to injury on the same drive near the end of the third quarter.
The Packers pulled to within 24-20 on a 30-yard Mason Crosby field goal with 4:09 left in the game. The Packers defense finally stopped the Dolphins as Miami got conservative trying to salt away the game.
Critics have pointed out that Cardiac Last minute wins like this have been rare for Rodgers. While it’s true that he hasn’t had the stealing-victory-from-the-clutches-of-defeat kind of last minute wins that Brett Favre often had, in the regular season, in the 90’s, Rodgers has been fine late in games. But this win ranks up there at the top for pulling out a win when a loss was so close.
The win gave Mike McCarthy and Rodgers a win over former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.
Rodgers finished 24 for 42 for 264 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, again. He only has one interception on the year, and that was the tipped ball in Seattle on opening night.
News & Notes
TJ Lang made the real play of the drive when he hustled his butt off and dove head-first for the loose football after Rodgers coughed it up on that final drive. #UnsungHero
Jamarri Lattimore whiffed on a block on a Tim Masthay punt and allowed a blocked punt early in the game. Lattimore later left the game, in the second quarter, and did not return. No word on the injury, but it was in the neck area.
Mason Crosby saved a touchdown on a kick return as Special Teams coach Shawn Slocum watched his team break down twice early in the game.
Sam Shields, untouched before even a play was run, and then Tramon Williams two plays later, both were injured early in the 4th quarter and were unable to return.
Though the Packers are deep at the cornerback position, those are the two starters and they are good. The Packers face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers next week in Green Bay. The last time Newton faced the Packers was in 2011 in Newton’s second game as a pro and he torched the Packers for 400+ yards, but the Packers won by 7 on their way to the 13-0 start that season. That was the game Nick Collins’ career ended.
After Carolina next week, the Packers travel to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints. Cornerbacks will be needed that night.
Shields injury is a mystery as it was before the play even began to start a drive. I thought it was a cramp in the heat, but they said the knee area.
Williams foot was twisted up in a pile making a tackle.
Rookie receiver Davante Adams continues to step up. He caught 6 passes on 8 throws his way (75%) for 77 yards. Included in those were two key third down passes earlier, and the big fake-spike catch that set up the game winning pass to Quarless.
The run blocking again was non-existent for the most part. Eddie Lacy had another 2.9 per carry day, finishing with just 40 yards on 14 carries. This was against a defense that was pinning its’ ears back going after the QB all day long. James Starks and John Kuhn fared a bit better, averaging 3.8 per carry each.
This would have been a good opportunity for DuJuan Harris to be put in there with his change of pass, quickness. Sometimes I think McCarthy has forgotten about the little man down the stretch in 2012. He was good.
Clay Matthews was silent. He didn’t get a sack, a tackle for loss, or even a tackle period. He was blanked on the score sheet aside from one batted ball, which could have easily resulted in a gift interception for someone. But it fell harmlessly to the ground away from all the green jerseys.
Julius Peppers had one tackle for loss and four solo tackles.
Letroy Guion made an unnoticed, but huge play early in the game. On fourth and goal from the one in the first quarter, Miami elected to bypass the sure field goal and go for it. They gave it to the super KnowShon Moreno, but Guion guessed and shot the gap, getting to Moreno about three yards in the backfield, forcing Moreno to cut right, which is right where safety Morgan Burnett had filled. The Dolphins got nothing.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix led the team in tackles with seven, while fellow safety (and cornerback once Shields and Williams departed) Micah Hyde was next with six.
Before exiting from the mysterious injury, Shields had an interception as did Casey Hayward.
Former Packers starting LF Daryn Colledge, member of the Super Bowl winning team of 2010, faced Rodgers.