By Abraham Gutierrez
With so much criticism and skepticism surrounding the Green Bay Packers this season, Aaron Rodgers reminded everyone why he’s a former NFL Most Valuable Player and a Super Bowl champion. With their backs against the wall on the road, the Packers rallied and broke the hearts of the Miami Dolphins in front of a sold-out Sun Life Stadium.
After a nearly perfect second half by Ryan Tannehill, Rodgers put his team on his back and carried them to victory. Trailing 20-24 and needing a touchdown to win, No. 12 completed a go-ahead touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless that pushed the Packers ahead, 27-25 with three seconds remaining in the game.
Thus, the Miami Dolphins have fallen to 2-3 on the year, which is good enough for third place in the AFC East. In the case of the Green Bay Packers, this team has won three in a row after a slow start, which has them in a tie atop the NFC North with the (4-2) Detroit Lions.
Offensively, it was the tale of two halves for the Fins offense. After managing to score just a field goal in the first half, Miami’s attack picked up after the break. Nevertheless, the Dolphins were still severely outplayed on that side of the rock, tallying just 19 first downs compared to the Packers 27, 336 total yards to their opponents’ 369, and were dominated in the time of possession battle to the tune of 22:49 to 37:11.
The main reason why the offense’s grade isn’t higher is simply because there wasn’t much balance to Miami’s offensive attack. In fact, for the first time this season, the Dolphins’ rushing attack was totally ineffective, as the running backs were held to under 100 yards against a Packers defense that gives up 154.5 yards per game on the ground.
Despite giving up 27 points this week, the fact that this is the Green Bay Packers’ offense has to count for something when grading the Fins defense. In addition, if it weren’t for the effort put forth by Cameron Wake and the rest of Miami’s defense, the Dolphins wouldn’t have even had a chance to win this game.
One of the blemishes on this unit’s performance was the way they were fooled by Rodgers’ fake spike attempt in the late going. With the game on the line, no players should be letting their guard down until the whistle blows, which wasn’t the case for Miami.
Once again, Ryan Tannehill got off to a very slow start, but managed to pick things up right after the break. Through the first two quarters, Tannehill couldn’t get things going, missing one receiver after the next on his way to a 2-interception half.
After halftime he was nearly flawless, nonetheless, as he almost single-handedly almost led Miami to an improbable victory over the cheese heads. Now all Tannehill has to do is figure out how to get going from the opening whistle and maybe this team would not have to work so hard playing catch up.
Special Teams: A
The Miami Dolphins special teams unit did a great job of doing “the little things” and did not beat themselves. One of the biggest improvements were made by returner Jarvis Landry, who returned two kicks for 91 yards, including a long of 54 yards in the process.
It’s also worth noting that Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields helped with the field-position battle by booting three punts for a 42.3 average. Finally, kicker Caleb Sturgis kept his nearly perfect start going, connecting on his only field goal attempt of the game from 48 yards, as well as three extra points.
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Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .