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Packers' season full of clutch moments in fourth quarter

A review of the key plays late in games that got Green Bay 13 wins

Packers DL Dean Lowry returns an interception against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 15, 2019, at Lambeau Field.
Packers DL Dean Lowry returns an interception against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 15, 2019, at Lambeau Field.

GREEN BAY – Wild-card playoff weekend was a reminder of the value of crunch time – big plays in big moments, and how they impact final results.

The Packers' 13-3 regular season was chock full of them as well, with more than enough games coming down to the wire and Green Bay making a key play at a key time to secure a win.

"This team has found a way to get it done in a different way, and that's kind of been playing smart football in the fourth quarter and (getting) character wins at those times," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said last week. "So I feel good about what kind of team we have, and the kind of guys we have, and the ability to win in the fourth quarter."

So with the NFC Divisional playoff showdown with Seattle fast approaching, here's a review of the most clutch, fourth-quarter moments in each of the Packers' 13 victories.

Week 1 at Chicago: Trailing 10-3 with just over two minutes left, Bears QB Mitch Trubisky tried to hit WR Allen Robinson in the back corner of the end zone on third-and-10 from the Green Bay 16-yard line.

Packers S Adrian Amos, playing his first game for his new team against his old team, was right there to snag the interception, and when the Green Bay offense wasn't able to close the game out with a first down, the special teams came up with a clutch play of their own – JK Scott's 63-yard punt, which became a net of 69 yards with a Bears penalty on the return.

Week 2 vs. Minnesota: Make it back-to-back end-zone interceptions, as this time CB Kevin King made a leaping grab of QB Kirk Cousins' ill-advised pass on first-and-goal from the 8 with just over five minutes left in a 21-16 game.

A scrambling Cousins took a huge risk trying to loft a ball toward the corner for WR Stefon Diggs and paid for it, as King came down with it.

Week 3 vs. Denver: Leading 24-16 with just over 10 minutes left, the Packers faced third-and-5 from their own 49, having converted just 1-of-6 on third down in the game to that point.

But QB Aaron Rodgers found RB Jamaal Williams for a short pass over the middle that picked up 10 yards, preventing the Packers from having to punt the ball back to the Broncos in a one-score game and setting up an eventual field goal to make it a two-score contest.

Week 5 at Dallas: This was one of the two victories it could be argued the Packers were not the better overall team in the fourth quarter, as the Cowboys were roaring back from a 31-3 deficit.

The one key moment, though, came with just over 10 minutes left. The Cowboys had just gotten the ball back on their own 34, trailing 31-17, when King stepped in front of WR Michael Gallup for an interception of QB Dak Prescott. Green Bay's offense did nothing with the turnover, but the field position alone was enough for a field goal that restored a three-score advantage with 8:07 to go.

Week 6 vs. Detroit: There were a number of big moments in this fourth quarter, which didn't start promising at all with Rodgers' goal-line pass bouncing off WR Darrius Shepherd and into the hands of Lions CB Justin Coleman, whose 55-yard return set up a Detroit field goal for a 22-13 Lions lead.

But no single play in the Packers' comeback was bigger than the 35-yard touchdown grab by WR Allen Lazard, who caught his first pass of the season (and second of his career) on third-and-5. Rodgers trusted the 6-foot-5 target in a one-on-one matchup downfield, and the undrafted Iowa State alum delivered, getting the Packers back in the game with 9:03 left.

Week 7 vs. Oakland: The Raiders trailed 35-17 but were knocking on the door with just over eight minutes left, in position to make it a two-score game. On first down from the Green Bay 15, QB Derek Carr tried to hit TE Darren Waller over the middle in the back of the end zone, but King was there for the interception (off a deflection by Amos) to thwart any potential Raiders rally.

Three plays later, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling was sprinting down the Green Bay sideline for a 74-yard touchdown that put this one to bed.

Week 8 at Kansas City: The Chiefs had just tied the game at 24 with 9:01 left when the Packers took over their strongest finish to a road game to date.

Two plays into the next offensive series, Rodgers connected with RB Aaron Jones in the left flat, and the shifty speedster used a couple of key blocks to scamper 67 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

Kansas City was unable to counter, as CB Chandon Sullivan broke up a key third-down pass for TE Travis Kelce around midfield, forcing the Chiefs to punt. Pinned on their own 2-yard line, the Packers drained the final 5:04 off the clock by picking up three first downs, the last – fittingly – on an 8-yard pass to Jones on third-and-5 just after the two-minute warning.

Week 10 vs. Carolina: It was a do-or-die play. The Packers led, 24-16, and the Panthers over the final 2½ minutes had driven from their own 11-yard line to the Green Bay 2 with four seconds remaining. The Packers had two chances to win the game – keep them out of the end zone, or stop the ensuing two-point conversion.

It never got to the latter. On a handoff to RB Christian McCaffrey, LB Kyler Fackrell got quick penetration to disrupt the play, and fellow LB Preston Smith came crashing down from the back side to wrap up as a Carolina lineman was trying to pull McCaffrey across the goal line. Replay review confirmed that the ball never broke the plane.

Week 13 at N.Y. Giants: Early in the fourth quarter, with a 17-13 lead, the Packers were going the wrong direction. A first-and-goal from the 1-yard line suddenly became third-and-goal from the 17 due to a tackle for loss and offensive holding penalty.

A stop by the Giants to force a field goal would have kept it a one-score game. But Rodgers caught the defense trying to substitute and hustled everyone to get the snap off for a free play. He fired deep over the middle to WR Davante Adams for the touchdown, and the Packers weren't threatened again.

Week 14 vs. Washington: With about 8½ minutes left in a 17-9 game, the Packers were backed up, facing third-and-14 from their own 7-yard line. Washington had a prime opportunity to get a stop and the field position needed for a potential tying score.

Only Rodgers and Jones had other ideas, as the two connected on a sideline go route for 25 yards, with Jones making a difficult catch while falling onto his backside in front of the Green Bay bench. The Packers were out of the hole, and several snaps later K Mason Crosby was drilling a short field goal to make it a two-score game again.

Week 15 vs. Chicago: This was the only other victory in which the opponent got the better of the Packers in the fourth quarter, but one play definitely stunted Chicago's comeback momentum.

The Bears had just gotten the ball back on their own 40-yard line, trailing 21-13 with 7:10 left. On second down, DL Dean Lowry dropped off the line and reached up to deflect Trubisky's pass – and he managed to deflect it to himself for his first career interception.

Unfortunately, Green Bay didn't take advantage of the turnover to add points, but Lowry's big play was the first of three stops by the Packers' defense down the stretch to win another close one.

Week 16 at Minnesota: Another complementary fourth-quarter combination is the highlight here, as midway through the final period in a 17-10 game, DL Kenny Clark sacked Cousins on third down, forcing a punt.

Three snaps later, Jones was off to the races around left end for a 56-yard TD run to clinched the NFC North title for the Packers.

Week 17 at Detroit: It's almost impossible to pick one clutch moment from the comeback that earned the Packers a first-round playoff bye. So take your pick.

There's LB Blake Martinez's interception with about eight minutes left, giving the Packers the ball in Detroit territory. That was followed by Rodgers' 28-yard TD pass to Lazard on third-and-10 to tie the game at 20. And then Rodgers and Jones executed a nifty screen pass on the game's final drive, gaining 31 yards to get Crosby in range for the walk-off field goal.

NFC Divisional playoff vs. Seattle: What's it gonna take?

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