Packers 27, Dolphins 24: Game Balls and Lame Calls

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.

Game Balls

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.

Lame Calls

Special teams

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 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


22 thoughts on “Packers 27, Dolphins 24: Game Balls and Lame Calls

  1. Brad Jones was atrocious. He was never a great ILB, but he used to be ok. Now he looks so out of sorts and awful, it’s really astonishing. Always out of place or taking himself out of the play. Can’t cover, can’t tackle, can’t do much of anything. Lattimore needs to get healthy fast, or they need to bite the bullet and put in Barrington. Jones is awful. I don’t usually call for cutting someone mid-season because you need to have someone on the roster that can take that players spot, but in this case, I would be fine if they cut brad Jones. He is utterly useless out there. Great win, however. Hayward and House stepped in and did alright. Tough to lose both starting corners. GoPack!

    1. The Brad Jones experiment should be over now… Just hope that TT and MM can accept this fact and move on.

      1. TT has just annouced a $55 MM 5 year extension for Brad Jones. His rationale – 59 is playing better than 50 and look at the money we have paid him. The fall-off in 52 is got to be the groin injury. Look for him to rally in 2nd half. And yes, 53 is contributing.

  2. How about honorable mention to James Starks? His slashing and dashing in the final drive certainly helped.

  3. I haven’t re-watched the game, but I thought Nick Perry played well too. He stuffed that run that went for minus-ten (although someone else got the tackle), he got pressure on Heyward’s INT, make a ST tackle that might have saved a touchdown and also tripped up Tannehill on a QB draw that forced a punt.

    1. I agree, Perry has been more active. It isn’t always showing up in the stat column but he has been pretty good. GoPack!

  4. 1. Davante Adams played a good game for a rook, but he almost screwed up big time. He turns back to the inside trying to get yards, and if the Fins DB makes the tackle inbounds it’s game over.

    2. Rodgers may not admit it, but he was paying attention when he was watching Favre extend plays. He did miss the part where Favre told him ‘when in doubt, just whip it in there.’

    3. Someone commented here that the Packers need to ‘bite the bullet’ with regard to Brad Jones. Might I offer an alternative suggestion for the use of said bullet?

    4. Clay Matthews needs to be benched. Nothing long turn (hopefully), no big deal about it (hopefully), but the message needs to be sent because the guy’s started to believe all the ink and forgetting what he had to do to make people write it.

    1. I was watching Brett Favre. Be honest, Aaron is much better QB. Brett was all about his records. Aaron is all about team. If you can’t see that, that is your problem!

      1. Croat: For whatever reason, you’ve decided that when I post lately, you need to call me out for something I said. Your replies are usually way off-point and miss a lot of the subtlety and nuance, and maybe even some humor that I try to weave into what I write.

        I appreciate that you’re a Packer fan living halfway across the world and that you are participating in these forums in a second language, which I don’t even possess. What I don’t appreciate is you interpreting my thoughts in an extremely literal sense, and then coming back with a hackneyed rejoinder ala the Festrunk Brothers that doesn’t even tie to the context of what I posted.

        Read what I posted relative to Rodgers a couple of times and then try to tie your response back to it. You’ll understand why it comes across as bass-ackwards and illogical, in a ‘hey you, get off my chest!’ kind of way.

        1. I would like to apologize to you. It was not my intention to offend you or make you less worth. I’m just tired of people to whom is Brett the best. He was wonderful and excellent QB, but I think he was all about himself. That is why I overreacted to your post, and I will not underestimate that I misunderstand something in your post either…
          If I made mistake, you reply and I will accept. It is not to hard for me. After all, I do not know about football that much as lot of you!
          So, no hard fellengs?

          1. Savage57 was not saying that Brett is the best. He was saying the Rodgers does not take chances (“when in doubt, whip it in there”), and that’s a good thing about Rodgers.

              1. Croat, the guy was being sarcastic using humor for the Favre/Rodgers thing. What did you think he meant just curious? lol.

  5. Forgot one, Kris. Philbin deserves a game ball. He doesn’t call those two timeouts on the final drive, chances go way down that the Packers pull out the win.

    1. And for some reason, on that final drive, they decided to put the ball in Tannehill’s hands rather than ramming it down the Pack’s throat with Miller (who looked awful strong against a gassed Packers D on the previous drive). Trestman did the same thing. If I’m anyone playing the Packers with a reasonable OL and a power back, I gash the interior of the Packers D and throw in a little play action all day long.

  6. why is it that just about every week we have to hear, “that was a great defensive line we just played” or “they have a great pass rush”…so every team in the NFL must be great…how about our offensive line opening up a few more holes and protecting a little better before we have to have noodle arm Flynn back on the field…

  7. I know this sounds crazy but I hope MM gives a game ball or maybe some type of game cloth blanket to the “awning guys”. These two played a huge role in this win and need to be called out for their unselfish duty holding up that heavy white awning all game so the players were just cool enough to perform to victory.

    Part of Philbin’s strategy was to use the sun and heat to his advantage. Well, the awning guys responded and took that away from Philbin. I don’t even know if they got paid for doing what they did all game?

    These two guys could go down in history like that guy that came out on a snowy New England game on a riding lawnmover with a big round brush on the front of it to brush away a spot during a timeout so the kicker had grass to kick the game winning field goal. While it wasn’t as dramatic, keeping the players cool in the hot sun was absolutely huge. Thank you awning guys!!

  8. Kris – I would give a game ball to MM as well. His game plan to get Kuhn involved as a ball carrier and a blocker was critical to the Packers decisively winning the TOP battle in this game. He also made a good decision to use Sherrod as a blocking TE to help protect the franchise as the OL was collapsing badly. The game winning play call and execution was also perfect. After this game it’s obvious to me that we can’t afford to lose Lattimore for long. Brad Jones was terrible again yesterday. If he continues to play he will cost this team a game or more down the road. As for CM3, I’m not sure what is going on with him but he basically disappeared yesterday, especially in the 2nd half. Prior to yesterday’s game I thought that our OL was beginning to gel, but now it looks like they have a lot of work to do. They cannot allow Rodgers to be hit as often as he is getting hit. They need to get better. They were pretty ineffective run blocking as well. Most of the yards gained by our backs they made on their own. Maybe, because of the lopsided TOP our OL began to wear down in the heat. At least we came away with the victory, now we’ve got to see if the injuries to our defensive players are serious or not. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  9. I wonder if replacing (core ST player) Ryan Taylor with Kevin Dorsey had anything to do with the sudden change in special teams performance. Probably not, but it strikes me as quite a coincidence.

    1. Dorsey did f up on kickoff coverage from what I understand but that is the coaches job to make sure he doesn’t. I believe what we have here on special teams is a failure to communicate. That is on Slodumb!!

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