NFC North Reporter
“This was special,” mentioned a smiling Aaron Rodgers after the Packers’ 26-20 win over the Miami Dolphins. “Everything that we needed to happen this weekend, happened.”
Rodgers is referring to Green Bay’s playoff possibilities, that are as much as 27% (per FiveThirtyEight) after the win and a few assist from dropping groups Saturday. The Commanders misplaced to the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants misplaced to the Vikings. The Seahawks drew the Chiefs card and misplaced. And the Detroit Lions misplaced to the Carolina Panthers. It cleared the best way for the Packers to be only a half-game out of the playoffs.
It is nearly like this was predestined.
“I don’t think we’ve struggled with confidence, but definitely haven’t had a lot of believers outside of the locker room, I don’t think,” mentioned Rodgers. “This should get us a couple on the bandwagon.”
‘This was particular’ — Aaron Rodgers instructed Pam Oliver
Aaron Rodgers spoke with FOX Sports activities NFL reporter Pam Oliver concerning the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Miami Dolphins.
It was instantly evident that Green Bay understood the duty in entrance of them. The Packers had been aggressive, going for it on fourth down 5 occasions. They managed to transform three of them. Additionally they tried a faux punt to achieve some momentum within the first half. It did not pan out. However that did not deter them from staying aggressive.
They performed for his or her season in all aspects of the sport, beginning with the protection, which held the Dolphins to a subject aim on their first drive. Then particular groups ace Keisean Nixon returned the following kickoff to the Miami 9-yard line. The Packers acquired three factors out of that possession, however the offense would come up larger later.
The Packers traded touchdowns with the Dolphins later within the quarter. They opened the second half with a rating to tie the sport at 20-20. They left some factors on the board however managed two extra subject targets to go up by six. All recreation, Green Bay appeared hellbent on leaving the ball in Rodgers’ fingers. And he appeared hellbent on pushing the ball downfield.
However what began with the protection additionally ended with the protection — following a “rousing’ speech in the locker room from defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, according to Rasul Douglas.
“OG got here in and cursed us out dangerous,” said Douglas. “It was identical to, ‘we have now to play higher.’ And within the second half, we performed higher.”
Green Bay’s defense had struggled in recent weeks. Save for the game last weekend against a shell of the Los Angeles Rams, they had given up over 400 total yards in their previous four games. They gave up 500 against Philadelphia as the Eagles rushed for 363 total yards.
Miami seemed to want to follow that blueprint early. They stuck to the ground with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson in the opening drives. Mostert had three rushes for 33 yards after the first Miami possession. But in the second half, after Green Bay evened the score, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ended up trying to push the ball downfield. The result was three straight interceptions, the last of which all but ended the game.
For as back and forth as the game had been, the Packers decided to kick a field goal on fourth-and-3 from the Dolphins’ 8-yard line to go up six points. It was a decision questioned by some, setting Tagovailoa up to be the main character with a two-minute touchdown drive to win the game.
“I type of thought the best way our protection was enjoying within the second half that we might preserve them out of the tip zone, a minimum of,” said Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
His faith was warranted, as Douglas intercepted a ball intended for Miami tight end Mike Gesicki just two plays into the drive. Everything came down to a solitary stop by the Green Bay defense — and they came up big.
The Packers ended up with four total takeaways on the day. They sacked Tagovailoa twice and hit him four total times. LaFleur credited the effort to being able to get more pressure up front, even if it didn’t translate into a sack frenzy.
“It appeared like we had been getting a little bit bit extra stress up entrance on Tua, making him transfer out of the pocket. We knew he is a man that is going to anticipate and he will let the ball go. In case you can learn the quarterback the correct manner that additionally provides you some alternatives defensively. Our guys did an incredible job of that.”
The Packers are coming together at exactly the right time. With some holiday magic afforded to them by not only teams around the division but individual players, like Tagovailoa (or maybe Tua Claus) gifting them the aforementioned opportunities to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“It wasn’t fairly. I believe numerous occasions if you kick a bunch of subject targets, that is normally simply sufficient to get you beat. We’ve got to be higher within the crimson zone, clearly. Need to get these guys higher calls. However I can not say sufficient about our protection. The primary half was clearly less than our normal however the second half, made just a few changes and our guys actually went on the market and executed. Any time you have got 4 takeaways in a recreation, you must win that recreation.”
High tales from FOX Sports activities:
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had previous stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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