GREEN BAY—The Packers defense had its back to the wall, and Dom Capers went on the attack.
“If they can make first downs, the game is over,” the Packers defensive coordinator said of his unit’s critical stop on Miami’s final possession of the game. “We went to our Okie defense and you saw us blitz. There was a lot of all-out pressure. We knew we had to get the ball back, so you’re going to fill every gap.”
Miami took possession at its 20-yard line with 4:09 to play in the game. Ryan Tannehill threw for a first down and a penalty against Brad Jones gave the Dolphins another first down, but with the Dolphins needing only one more first down to kill what remained of the clock and protect a 24-20 lead, the Packers defense stiffened and forced a punt.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense did the rest on the way to a thrilling, 27-24 win at Sun Life Stadium.
The Packers defense was dominant in the first half, intercepting Tannehill twice and holding him to 84 yards passing and a 26.0 passer rating. One play early in the third quarter, a 40-yard run by Tannehill, switched momentum to the Dolphins’ side.
“I see elements when we play as good as any defense in the league, and then we’ll have a lull and have the ball moved on us,” Capers said. “We have to try to put a ballgame together.”
Injuries to cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams are the major issues heading into this week’s preparation to play the Carolina Panthers. Shields sustained a knee injury and Williams sprained an ankle in the second half of the game in Miami.
“We have pretty good depth in the defensive backfield. We’re going to have to evaluate when we find out what the status of those two guys is,” Capers said.
One of the big plays in the Packers’ game-winning touchdown drive was a fake-spike pass from Rodgers to rookie wide receiver Davante Adams. It occurred on second-and-6 at Miami 16. Rodgers flipped a short sideline pass to Adams, who broke a tackle and ran to the Miami 4-yard line. Rodgers threw to Andrew Quarless for the game winner on the next play.
“It’s not important that everyone know,” Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements said of the fake-spike play, which was made famous by Dolphins all-time great quarterback Dan Marino. “It’s between the quarterback and the wide receiver. If they play it, he just throws it out of bounds. I didn’t know he was doing it.”
Clements praised running back James Starks for his play late in the game.
“He ran hard. He got us some good runs. When you can mix in the run and not exclusively pass the ball, it helps,” Clements said.
Rodgers was sacked three times and one of those sacks produced a fumble guard T.J. Lang recovered during the Packers’ game-winning drive.
“Overall, I thought the protection was good. They’re a good pass-rushing defense. We were playing against a good defense and I thought we played well,” Clements said.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - OCT. 10