Mike McCarthy is running out of things to say about Aaron Rodgers.
Allow me, coach.
After throwing what can only be described as his worst pass of the season, an interception to a Giants linebacker, Chase Blackburn, that was signed earlier this week, after watching his receivers drop six perfectly thrown balls, after watching his defense withered in the face of a big moment - after all of that transpired, Rodgers simply engineered the signature offensive drive of the Packers season up to this point.
As Rodgers said after the game, the first play, a pass to tight end Jermichael Finley that barely missed the outstretched hand of Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams, was the most important. Mike Holmgren always said the initial first down is always the toughest, and thereby most important, to get in a 2 minute drill situation. Finley getting upfield after the catch helped immensely as well, obviously.
Then, with pressure coming up the middle from the Giants, with two defenders practically in his lap, Rodgers laid out a perfect pass for Jordy Nelson up the left sideline that clearly took the wind out of the Giants sails. It was an adjustment made at the line between Rodgers and Nelson and it was nearly identical to the big throw up the left sideline at Lambeau during the opening drive back in Week One against the Saints. The key to that play from the receiver's standpoint is to make your move on the defensive back (which happened to be ex-Packer Will Blackmon) and then to get upfield while leaving enough room for the quarterback to throw the ball over the defensive back. Nelson ran an exquisite route, leaving the perfect amount of space between himself and the sideline for Rodgers to fit a perfect pass and lead him out of bounds to stop the clock.
Then, seemingly without any sense of panic, Rodgers ran two plays, the first of which lost a yard when he hit running back Brandon Saine underneath the Giants coverage. The second, which the Packers ran without any real sense of panic, was a quick out from the slot position by Greg Jennings that gained 18 yards and set up Mason Crosby's winning kick.
No worries. No pressure. No big deal.
It seems like another lifetime ago when Packers fans were arguing about how McCarthy and Rodgers couldn't win close games.
This same coach and quarterback faced each other on the sideline prior to that final drive and, Rodgers admitted afterward, the quarterback expected the head coach and playcaller to "call a draw play," play it safe and see if they could get a first down or two.
Instead, McCarthy called the play and said, 'Let's go.'
No hesitation. No second-guessing. McCarthy instructed his rookie returner not to take the ball out of the endzone because he wanted to save as much time as he could for his offense to go get the victory. No pussyfooting around with draws and screens hoping to pick up a cheap first down. McCarthy was in it to win it.
As are the Packers.
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