National Football League
Aaron Rodgers made up the incredible final Packers offensive play inside the huddle
National Football League

Aaron Rodgers made up the incredible final Packers offensive play inside the huddle

Published Jan. 18, 2017 9:10 p.m. ET

It was third and 20 with seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, and Aaron Rodgers found his Packers team tied 31-31 against the Cowboys in Dallas. Green Bay needed a huge completion to get into field-goal range and give kicker Mason Crosby a chance to win the game.

With the game on the line, Rodgers relied on himself to come up with a play.

...And not just to call the play. According to Packers receiver Randall Cobb, Rodgers designed the play, right in the huddle, telling the Packers receivers what routes to run.

This is incredible. Rodgers went through the old mental catalog, realized the Packers didn't have too many plays he could call on that would get them a 30-yard reception on the touchline — they needed to get out of bounds to stop the clock — so he just made one up.

A rollout to his left, a throw across his body to tight end Jared Cook, who somehow managed to plant his feet before his momentum carried him out of bounds, and he'd done it.

Crosby stepped up and drained not one but two 50+ yarders after the Cowboys tried to ice him, and the Packers were moving on to the NFC Championship.

One could argue that it doesn't speak too highly of the Packers' play calling that Rodgers was forced to literally make up a play on the spot when he needed it most. For me, though, it speaks to being creative in the time of need. The Packers didn't have too many plays for that situation because it's so rare to find yourself in that situation. Rodgers assessed the problem and made a solution. Cook made an incredible catch.

The modern NFL is incredibly complex. Successful teams test out plays, craft them with multiple minds all working to find the best and most efficient way to pick apart defenses, which are themselves incredibly complex and intelligent. It's cool that, despite all that, a great player can still draw up a play in the dirt and make a huge completion when he needs to.


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