Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers draws, executes game winning play
The Green Bay Packers pulled out all the stops, including a play Aaron Rodgers drew up on the spot, to beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31.
We have seen the two-time NFL MVP scramble, extend plays, and improvise to make incredible plays. With an NFC Championship berth on the line, he took this narrative a step further.
Cobb said the final play was not an actual playcall. Rodgers just told each receiver what to do, like a kid drawing in the dirt. Seriously.
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) January 16, 2017
With just 12 seconds left on third-and-long, Rodgers literally drew up each receiver’s route based on what he had seen from the Cowboys secondary.
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Rodgers rolled left, and delivered a pass high enough to soar above the outstretched arm of Byron Jones, yet quick enough to reach Jared Cook as he kept his toes in bounds and knees off the ground. The sure-handed tight end secured the ball, bringing the Packers inside Mason Crosby field goal range.
Crosby slid the 51-yard attempt just inside the left upright as time expired, sending the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.
“We’ve made those throws before, in practice. So it’s a matter of trusting your muscle memory and your training,” Rodgers commented on the 36-yard pass. Whether it’s a game saving Hail Mary, or diving catch on the sideline, the offense practices time and time again. Cook made an incredibly tough catch look routine.
Micah Hyde‘s deja vu moment halted key Cowboys drive
All season, there has been a spotlight on the Packers secondary. Plagued by injuries, they have appeared vulnerable at the best of times. Fans have asked for someone to step up, and the X-factor throughout their eight game win streak has been Micah Hyde.
Just as the offense prepares on the field, Hyde did his homework in the film room. In Week 6, the Cowboys ran a screen pass play to Cole Beasley right in from of him. Although the play only went for a three-yard gain, it was in the back of his head. Recognizing the formation to be identical, Hyde knew where Dak Prescott’s pass was headed.
Hyde jumped the route and intercepted the pass, giving the Packers exactly what they needed.
While the ensuing drive didn’t go for points, and in fact resulted in Aaron Rodgers’ first interception in a career-high 318 pass attempts, it backed the Cowboys up and took precious time off the clock.
Hyde finished with a Pro Football Focus rating of 92.0, the highest among all players in the game.
Many big plays were made in the high scoring game, but it was the preparation before anyone set foot on the field that made all the difference.