With everything breaking down around him Aaron Rodgers was once again relaxed and proved why he’s the best player in the NFL when he executed a picture perfect game winning drive to defeat the Miami Dolphins.
The defense lost Tramon Williams and Sam Shields and had a bad second half. The offensive line had a horrible day pass blocking against Cameron Wake and Oliver Vernon. The running game was non existent. No problem for Rodgers.
Rodgers completed 24 of his 43 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but even those great numbers do not tell the whole story. Rodgers’ critics always questioned his ability to come back late in games. It was always nonsense and Rodgers proved it yesterday.
To be put in the position to comeback Mike McCarthy deserves credit for his decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-6 with 4:09 remaining and the Packers down seven. I was a skeptic thinking that the Packers would never get the ball back with how their defense looked minus Shields and Williams.
He got help from the Dolphins who somehow decided the best course of action to run out the clock would be to throw four passes. Throwing on second-and-9 and coming back running on third-and-9 made absolutely no sense. After a nice punt return from Micah Hyde the Packers got to start at their own 40.
James Starks had a nice 11-yard run on a draw to open the drive, but the next three plays did not get anything with Rodgers constantly under pressure. Of course on fourth-and-11 he faced pressure right up the middle where quarterbacks least like it, and the play looked doomed. Rodgers is about the only human on earth who could make the throw that he did to Jordy Nelson on an out route for 18 yards.
A couple of plays later Rodgers threw it to Cobb in the flat for four yards, but for some reason he made little effort to go out of bounds and the clock was running with about 20 seconds left. With everyone expecting Rodgers to spike it, he instead threw a screen to Davante Adams, and he got out of bounds at the four yard-line with seven seconds remaining.
Rodgers gets credit because it worked, but if Cortland Finnegan plays it correctly and forces Adams inside to his safety help the game ends on that play. His trust in the rookie Adams paid off all day and it did on that play again. He makes a veteran move to shake Finnegan’s tackle and get outside of him to the boundary.
Rodgers then found the matchup he liked on the ensuing play with Andrew Quarless on a linebacker and fired a perfect back shoulder throw for the game winning touchdown. The win was huge for Green Bay with both Detroit and Chicago winning and two tough opponents coming up before the bye week. They have now won three straight after starting off a 1-2 start and are making their usual October run.
As McCarthy said after the game you just run out of words to describe Rodgers at this point. The best way to me is just watching the plays that he makes look easy that really very few other quarterbacks can make. The third quarter touchdown pass to Cobb is another example of that. It is so hard to get the velocity that he did on that throw after escaping the rush and throwing across his body down the middle of the field.
The interception total of one and going five straight games without one also stands out. A player who has the abilities of Rodgers might get cocky with the ball, but that will never happen with him. Turnovers are usually the number one thing that decides who wins and loses in the NFL, and Rodgers always gives the Packers the best chance to win the turnover battle.
With Rodgers playing at this level the Packers can compete with anybody in the NFL despite their weaknesses in other areas. Those weaknesses were on display yesterday, but it didn’t matter. Rodgers was just too good and has the Packers going in right direction yet again.