Week 14 Recap: Brett Hundley's Finest Hour
What a difference a few weeks makes.
The maturation of Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley continued Sunday, as the signal caller led his team to a clutch touchdown with just seconds left in the fourth quarter and another game-winner in overtime.
It helped Hundley that just about every break went the Packers way in this one. Consider the following:
- The Browns committed three penalties that resulted in a first down for the Packers. Over the past four games, Green Bay has had just three first downs by penalty total.
- Near the end of the first half, Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer threw a poor pass deep in Packers territory that safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted. It ended Cleveland’s chances of extending their 14-7 lead before half.
- Cleveland tight end David Nkoju made what could have been a game-ending catch with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter on a crucial third down. As the Browns raced to the line of scrimmage to run their next play, the Packers defenders pleaded with head coach Mike McCarthy to challenge the catch. McCarthy did, and the ruling was overturned to force fourth down. The Browns would punt, setting up the Packers’ final touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
- Green Bay had just over two minutes to work with in the fourth quarter and down seven, and the Browns punt coverage disappeared as the Packers' Trevor Davis ripped off a 65 yard return to put Green Bay in great field position.
- On 3rd and 2 from their own 32 in overtime, Kizer threw an ill-advised ball reminiscent of a game of 500 on the playground. Safety Josh Jones came down with it, and the Packers had wonderful field position to start their overtime drive.
Hundley still played a wonderful game. He completed 35-of-46 passes for 265 yards and a trio of touchdowns. When needed, he elusively dodged tacklers and used his legs to pick up ground.
This was the Hundley that Mike McCarthy knew existed. This was the Hundley that elicited the tepid, “I have three years invested in Brett Hundley” comment from the coach in the press conference.
It was this Hundley that won the game for the Packers.
Four and out
1 - With just a dim chance at winning the NFC North, the Packers are dependent on results across the league breaking just right. Sunday, the scores went against Green Bay. Three teams ahead of Green Bay in the postseason standings – Detroit, Dallas, and Carolina – won. As a result, a loss would have certainly destroyed the team’s chances for a ninth consecutive postseason birth.
2 - Since Aaron Rodgers injury in Week 6, backup quarterback Brett Hundley had thrown just five touchdowns, the second fewest passing touchdowns of any team. The only team with fewer? The Browns, who had thrown just four in that stretch. The two combined to throw for six touchdowns in Sunday’s contest.
3 - On their first drive of the game, the Packers executed a fake punt successfully. Safety Jermaine Whitehead took the ball and scampered and stiff armed his way to a first down. Four years ago with Rodgers on the sidelines with a broken collarbone, Green Bay tried a similar fake punt with safety M.D. Jennings against the Giants that was unsuccessful.
4 - Every game-winning touchdown is best experienced behind a bed of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. Don’t believe me?