Now that the Green Bay Packers and their fans collectively had their heart health checked, it’s time to take a look at the thrilling 27-24 Packers win over the Miami Dolphins.
The game started out well enough for Green Bay as the offense steadily marched down the field and took a quick 7-0 lead after an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass to the Jordy Nelson.
After taking a 10-3 lead into the locker room at half time, the Packers went back on their heels a bit as Miami tied the game up in the third quarter thanks in large part to a 40-yard run by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Green Bay answered right back with a jaw dropping play extension by Rodgers who found Randall Cobb in the end zone to put the Packers back in the lead. It would not be the last highlight reel play of the day for the Green Bay quarterback.
Then Tramon Williams and Sam Shields went down on back-to-back plays and the defense really was in trouble. Miami tied the game and then took the lead. With the defense reeling thanks to losing both starting cornerbacks, the Packers were in trouble.
After a Packers drive stalled deep in Miami territory, Packers coach Mike McCarthy opted to kick a field goal rather than try for a touchdown on fourth and goal.
Everyone knows what happened next. The defense held on the next subsequent drive and then Rodgers led a comeback drive for the ages to get the Packers to 4-2.
Here are the individuals who stepped up as well as those who stumbled in the win against the Dolphins.
QB Aaron Rodgers
He’s not clutch at all. He can’t win in the fourth quarter. He lacks the moxie that Favre had when he was with the Packers.
That’s been the common criticism of Rodgers and the quarterback swiftly shut those critics up Sunday. Thanks to a beautiful fourth down laser to Jordy Nelson while getting drilled in the chest followed by a fake spike Dan Marino would be proud of, Rodgers led a surgical drive to bring his team back.
That’s what legendary quarterbacks do and Rodgers’ legend grew quite a bit on Sunday.
WR Davante Adams
Whenever Jarrett Boykin returns to health, he may not get his job back.
One could even argue he shouldn’t.
Adams, the rookie wide receiver, has quickly earned Rodgers’ trust (not an easy thing to do) and it showed against Miami. He showed great ability in getting yards after the catch and his heads up play on the fake spike that even some Packers didn’t see coming showed veteran savvy and that he is quickly developing into yet another weapon for Green Bay in the passing game.
WR Jordy Nelson
If Rodgers is going to be praised for his clutch play, Nelson must be as well.
There is no better receiver on the sideline in the NFL than Nelson right now and it showed on Sunday. He wanted more yards on the fourth down conversion on the game-winning drive but he showed great awareness and made a catch when he needed to.
As the league’s leading receiver, Nelson is seeing more attention every week but he still is getting the job done.
Looks like that new contract was another bargain for the Packers.
S HaHa Clinton-Dix
It’s all but official now: the Packers have a budding star at safety.
He didn’t have a highlight reel play like a sack or a fumble or interception, but Clinton-Dix once again was around the ball constantly. He led the team with seven tackles (one of which was for a ten yard loss) and was also getting pressure on Tannehill.
He’s actually been an asset more than liability which is remarkable for a rookie safety. He has also elevated Morgan Burnett’s play.
Early returns indicate the Packers got this draft pick right.
Honorable Mention: G TJ Lang
The offensive line had trouble (more on that below) but that was a great heads-up play by Lang on the Rodgers fumble on third and 9. If Miami gets that ball back, the Packers are 3-3.
Lang was definitely the unsung hero of the day.
A 54-yard kick return. A blocked punt as well as the punter being under siege all day.
Not a banner day for Shawn Slocum’s unit.
They kept giving Miami a shorter field early on but thankfully the Dolphins could not capitalize. Thankfully, the defense was up to the task as well and forced turnovers which bailed out the special teams for their multiple blunders.
The offensive line
The Packers seem to have issues along the offensive line whenever they face a team with a decent pass rush.
They struggled with the Seahawks all game, had problems with the Jets and Lions and now the Dolphins. The tackle position is especially concerning. Bryan Bulaga struggled early against Cameron Wake but seemed to get better as Wake ran out of gas. If it wasn’t Bulaga struggling it was David Bakhtiari.
They have to get better here. No one wants to see Matt Flynn again except in garbage time in a blowout victory.
LB Brad Jones
The tape says it all here. One of the worst games we have seen from a Packers linebacker in a while.
Missed tackles. Stupid penalties. Even a fluke pass deflection off his helmet. He could have had an interception if he turned around and that pass would have been a touchdown had Tannehill not underthrown it.
Hopefully Jamari Lattimore is ok after leaving the game with a neck injury. Jones has no place in the starting lineup.
LB Clay Matthews
Once again, Matthews disappeared. He had no tackles and his only contribution was a deflected pass.
Wasn’t he signed to a big contract not too long ago? The thought was he was supposed to be the Rodgers of the defense, stepping up and making plays when the team needed it most.
After the Super Bowl run, that basically hasn’t happened. The only time Matthews is being seen on TV lately is in a commercial.
If he doesn’t get better at his day job, those endorsement deals will dry up pretty quickly.
But at least his hair looks fabulous right?!——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke