MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has run out of adjectives for Aaron Rodgers, which is unfortunate because the quarterback believes he’s only halfway through his career.
Rodgers’ 100th NFL game Sunday was indescribable - to McCarthy, at least - and capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless with 3 seconds left, helping Green Bay rally past the Miami Dolphins, 27-24.
How to sum up Rodgers’ performance?
“I need to work on my vocabulary,” McCarthy said. “The guy is a remarkable player.”
The Packers were out of timeouts when Rodgers led them 60 yards in the final 2:04 for the winning score. He overcame a fumble and a fourth-and-10, and faked an intentional spike before throwing a completion that set up the touchdown.
“You want the opportunity to make a play there at the end,” Rodgers said.
The Packers (4-2) won in Miami for only the second time 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.
Here are some takeaways from Green Bay’s third consecutive victory:
RODGERS IS PLAYING AT A PEAK: Rodgers threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns while committing no turnovers. Along with the game-winner, he threw for scores of 9 yards to Jordy Nelson and 5 yards to Randall Cobb. He has 15 touchdowns passes and only one interception this season.
Rodgers, 30, recently threw his 200th touchdown pass and reached the 25,000-yard passing mark, and game No. 100 marked the latest milestone.
“I’d like to play at least another hundred,” he said.
THE HEAT WAS ON: On a typical fall day in the subtropics - sunny, humid and 85 degrees - the Packers appeared to be wilting in the third quarter.
Cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both appeared affected by the heat and left the game two plays apart. At halftime, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill had two interceptions and a passer rating of 26.0, but he threw for two scores and 143 yards against the Packers’ depleted secondary in the second half.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game coming down here in the heat,” McCarthy said. “We said we weren’t worried about it all week, and we weren’t worried. But the fact of the matter is, we are from Wisconsin. So we fought through it.”
QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS: The Dolphins provided plenty of fodder for second-guessers. Leading 24-20, they threw four times when they had a chance to run out the clock. After being forced to punt, their defense called timeout twice on the Packers’ final drive.
Perhaps the biggest puzzle was why linebacker Philip Wheeler was left to cover tight end Quarless on the final play. Wheeler wasn’t thrilled with the defensive scheme, which left him alone on the flank.
“I felt like it was 50 percent bad coverage, and 50 percent bad call,” Wheeler said. “Rodgers is a really good quarterback, and he figured it out.”
QUARTERBACK SNEAK: With the clock running following another completion, trickery by Rodgers set up the winning touchdown. He faked a spike before throwing to Davante Adams, who gained 12 yards before going out of bounds with 6 seconds remaining.
“That was some freestyling right there,” Rodgers said.
“Smart play,” Miami’s Jared Odrick said. “Kudos to them for thinking that fast.”
BALL CONTROL: The Packers enjoyed a 14 1/2-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.
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