Packers drew up key play Thursday, ran it Sunday with game on the line

First Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams connection on final drive was brand new

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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers scans the defense in Green Bay's 30-28 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night.

They devised the play on Thursday, made one adjustment to a route, and then called it when they absolutely had to have it Sunday night.

That's right, the first snap of the Packers' game-winning drive against the 49ers was a play in its infancy, just a few days old. It gained the first 25 of the 42 yards that put Mason Crosby in range to walk it off for a 30-28 triumph over the 49ers.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Head Coach Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy had talked about it on the sideline while San Francisco was driving for the go-ahead score.

The adjustment was to Randall Cobb's route from the slot, so he could clear out the safety on the right side and allow Davante Adams to break into an opening across the middle.

"We all liked it," Rodgers said. "Matty suggested it right before we went out there. 'What do you think about this play?' 'Yeah, I like that. That'll be pretty good.'"

It was exactly the type of play Rodgers wanted, too, knowing that with just 37 seconds left and no timeouts, there was no time to short stuff.

"You need two chunk throws," Rodgers said. "I knew that … dink and dunk, don't have any time for that."

Rodgers fired a perfect throw over the outstretched arm of linebacker Fred Warner to Adams to get the ball to midfield. Just like that, the chance at getting into field-goal range shot up. All Rodgers needed was one more completion, and it was Adams again, for 17 yards.

Spike, kick, ballgame.

"I don't think there's a whole lot he feels he needs to say to me," said Adams, who finished with 12 catches for 132 yards and a TD. "Those are the types of situations we're made for. We went out there and took care of another one."

It was rather remarkable Adams was even out there. Midway through the fourth quarter, he took a big hit from 49ers safety Jimmie Ward on an incomplete deep ball over the middle, getting the wind knocked out of him.

It looked much worse than that as Adams laid on the field, but he didn't have a concussion and missed just one play. LaFleur called him "the ultimate competitor" and it's hard to argue.

The last drive also gave Rodgers a chance to atone for a regrettable miss on Green Bay's previous possession. Leading 24-21 with an opportunity to put the game away, Rodgers underthrew Adams on third-and-4 from the San Francisco 20-yard line, and the Packers had to settle for a field goal, keeping it a one-score game.

Adams was one-on-one down the sideline versus corner Emmanuel Moseley with the 49ers blitzing, but Rodgers tried to fit in a low throw rather than go over the top.

View some of the best photos from the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 26, 2021.

"If I could have it back, you throw that ball up," Rodgers said. "I was thinking about that throw a lot. Had to make sure I had a couple good throws in that last 37 seconds."

It was one of few misfires for Rodgers in a game he went 23-of-33 (including two spikes) for 261 yards, two TDs and a 113.3 passer rating.

Most important, a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire triumph against an NFC contender put the Week 1 struggle further in the rear-view mirror.

Adams referred to it as building both character and identity for the 2021 Packers. He told the team afterward, "Let that be what we're about," and Rodgers concurred.

"It gives some legitimacy to some of the things we've been talking about, that (the New Orleans game) was kind of an aberration and we are a talented football team," Rodgers said. "It felt in the locker room today we finally had the energy I've been waiting to see.

"This was such a growth moment for us. It feels like, OK, now we're on our way. Now we can get into this. Now we can get going in the right direction."

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