Story courtesy by The Associated Press
Aaron Rodgers stood facemask to facemask with a teammate, screaming in jubilation at the end of a hot, harrowing afternoon.Rodgers had the last word Sunday, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless with three seconds left to help the Green Bay Packers rally past the Miami Dolphins 27-24.
Green Bay twice gave up leads and trailed 24-17 before Rodgers directed consecutive drives of 68 and 60 yards for the victory. He overcame a fumble and a fourth-and-10 on the Packers' final possession, and faked an intentional spike before throwing a completion that set up the touchdown.
Rodgers finished with three touchdown passes and 264 yards while committing no turnovers. The Packers (4-2) earned their third consecutive victory, won in Miami for only the second time ever and remained tied with the Detroit Lions atop the NFC North. The Dolphins (2-3) lost despite the return of six starters who had missed playing time. They overcame deficits of 10-3 and 17-10 to take a 24-17 lead with nine minutes left when Ryan Tannehill hit Mike Wallace for a 5-yard score.
At that point the Packers appeared to be wilting on a typical fall day in the subtropics -- sunny, humid and 85 degrees. Cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both appeared affected by the heat and left the game two plays apart in the third quarter.
The Packers kicked a field goal with 4:09 to go, making it 24-20, then forced a punt to start at their 40 with 2:04 remaining and no timeouts left. Rodgers fumbled when sacked, and teammate T.J. Lang recovered. That set up a fourth-and-10, but Rodgers threw to Jordy Nelson for 18 yards, then hit James Starks on third-and-10 for 10 yards. With the clock running following another completion, Rodgers faked a spike before throwing to Davante Adams, who gained 12 yards before going out of bounds with six seconds remaining.
Following a Dolphins timeout, Quarless easily outmaneuvered linebacker Philip Wheeler for the winning catch. Wheeler wasn't thrilled with the defensive scheme, which left him alone on the flank. Playing in his 100th regular-season game, Rodgers also threw for scores of 9 yards to Nelson and 5 yards to Randall Cobb. He has 15 touchdowns passes and only one interception this season.
With the Packers' secondary depleted, Tannehill threw for two scores and 143 yards in the second half, but he was unable to run out the clock with a 24-20 lead. The Dolphins tried four passes and ran only three times on their final possession.
Green Bay made a goal line stand in the first quarter, stopping Miami three consecutive times at the 1, including on fourth down when Williams tackled Knowshon Moreno for a loss. Casey Hayward intercepted Tannehill to set up a field goal. The Packers enjoyed a 14½-minute advantage in time of possession, a big change from other games this season. Their run defense was ranked as the NFL's worst, but Miami's running backs totaled only 63 yards on 20 carries.
"One of those games where we were worn out, they were worn out, it comes down to the last drive," Rodgers said. "And we made enough plays."
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