CLEVELAND – Davante Adams wasn’t stopping. If he did, Jordy Nelson was right there to escort the Packers’ fourth-year receiver through the end zone and up the tunnel at FirstEnergy Stadium.
It wasn’t necessary. Adams charged out of sight after his game-winning 25-yard touchdown in sudden death to cap Green Bay’s resilient 27-21 overtime triumph over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon.
“That was awesome. Honestly, that was a dream of mine to do,” said Nelson of Adams’ touchdown. “I was going to push him in the back if he stopped. We were going to keep rolling.”
The win over the Browns marks the first time in franchise history the Packers have won in back-to-back overtime games after turning back Tampa Bay 26-20 last Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The 25-yard touchdown was the second of the two Adams scored in the waning moments of the game. His first – a 1-yard touchdown catch off a fade from Green Bay quarterback Brett Hundley – tied the game at 21 with 17 seconds left in regulation.
After a Josh Jones interception gave the Packers the ball at the Cleveland 42, the Packers turned to Adams twice during the final series. Coming out of a timeout, Hundley hit him from the slot on a 5-yard slant pass to convert on third-and-2.
Three plays later, Hundley went back to Adams on third-and-6. After connecting on a short pass, Adams found an opening in the middle of the Browns’ secondary to stretch the play to a 25-yard touchdown.
“I’m always thinking hopefully get in the end zone,” Adams said. “But in that situation I was thinking more cover the ball up, make sure that we obviously didn’t want to have a situation where somebody’s coming and knocking the ball out. So just secure it, but saw a little bit of room, and great blocking by my teammates. Just had to make a play.”
The offense struggled to get Adams involved early, but he became a focal point. All of Adams’ production – 10 catches for 84 yards and the two scores – came in the second half.
More specifically, Adams caught eight passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the final 20:28 of the contest after Green Bay shifted to a no-huddle, empty-backfield offense to get back into the game.
The change helped spark the Hundley-to-Adams connection, pulling the Packers back into it and continuing a productive partnership between the two.
“He finds a way to make plays when given the ball no matter what the circumstances are,” said linebacker Clay Matthews of Adams, who leads the Packers with 69 catches for 828 yards and nine touchdowns this season. “I think that’s what we’re seeing throughout his short career is every year he’s gotten better.
“It’s so easy to document, but the way he’s taking over games now and being a premier receiver, he’s obviously made a huge fan out of me and makes it easy to have full trust in him. To get that win in walk-off fashion is great.”
As has been customary the past few weeks, the Packers got off to another fast start in converting two fourth downs in an 11-play, 74-yard series that ended with a 30-yard touchdown pass to running back Jamaal Williams.
However, the offense fell into a lull after the early score and the Packers trailed 21-7 with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Adams admits some teams would have struggled to find the will to rally back on the road against a winless opponent.
As the Packers have proven during this seven-game stretch without Aaron Rodgers, however, they’re not out of a game until it’s over. After going 0-of-6 on third downs in the first half, the offense converted 8-of-10 in the second half.
Williams scored a second touchdown off a 1-yard run with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter to dig into the Buccaneers' lead, finishing with 22 touches for 118 yards.
Thanks to a little resiliency, some quick adjustments and key performances along the way, Green Bay (7-6) enters next Sunday’s game in Carolina looking to keep its postseason hopes alive.
“There’s a lot of clutch DNA over here,” Adams said. “It’s not in our DNA to give up. It wasn’t looking like it was in our favor late in the fourth there, but we continue to fight and get it done.”
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