GREEN BAY – The Packers' offense had no clue how many plays it had run as players retook the field with 6 minutes and 47 seconds left in overtime against New England Sunday.
At that point, it didn't matter. Both teams were tired, but Aaron Rodgers and Co. received a little shot of adrenaline after their defense forced a pivotal three-and-out.
As afternoon turned to evening at Lambeau Field, the Packers' offense meticulously worked its way down the field during a 12-play, 77-yard drive that set up Mason Crosby's game-winning 31-yard field goal as time expired in a 27-24 Packers victory.
The beauty of the series was in its simplicity – a big pass to Allen Lazard, a third-down conversion from Randall Cobb, a couple quick flares to rookie Romeo Doubs and six hard AJ Dillon runs for 25 yards to turn good field-goal position for Crosby into inside extra-point range.
"I can't say enough about the guys in front of me and the guys that got us in that position," said Crosby afterwards. "The fact that we got a first down – I think it was going to be like a 48-yarder – and we just ran the ball and just kind of moved it down and made it a chip shot there at the end was awesome."
Sunday's matchup with the Patriots was a 70-minute slugfest that came down to the first overtime game at Lambeau Field in more than four years.
Green Bay won the OT coin toss but went three-and-out on its first possession. New England started with extremely favorable position after Marcus Jones returned Pat O'Donnell's punt 20 yards to the Patriots' 49-yard line.
With very little room for error, a defense playing without veteran safety Adrian Amos (concussion) and cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin) held its ground. Damien Harris was stopped for no gain on second-and-5 by Dean Lowry and Bailey Zappe's third-down pass fell incomplete.
"That was one of the situations, it's back against the wall," said safety Darnell Savage. "We already knew they were at midfield. So 10, 15 yards, they're in field-goal range. Our whole mindset there was bend a little bit, but don't break. We got the stops that we needed. We got the offense the ball back."
An offense that already registered three consecutive scoring drives to start the second half rallied one more time after starting from its own 10-yard line.
On second-and-7, Green Bay got the explosive start it was looking for when Rodgers hit Lazard for a 22-yard completion, one of four catches Lazard made of at least 19 yards on Sunday.
The Packers pounded the ball with Dillon twice to set up third-and-1 at the Green Bay 44. With the game hanging in the balance, Rodgers found reliable veteran Randall Cobb for an 11-yard completion in the middle of the field.
One quarter earlier, Cobb caught a 24-yard pass off a deep corner route on third-and-6 to key the nine-play, 75-yard drive that originally tied the game at 24 with 6 minutes remaining.
"When we need a big play, he's time and time (again) making them," said Dillon of the 32-year-old Cobb. "Nobody really cares about his age. He keeps getting it done. He can still move. I think he's 23? Twenty-three, 24?"
See scenes from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots at Lambeau Field on Oct. 2, 2022.
Rodgers called two quick passes to Doubs on the left perimeter for 17 total yards to move Green Bay inside Crosby's field-goal range. From there, the Packers called Dillon's number on four straight carries right up the middle.
The 6-foot, 247-pound running back delivered the seemingly fatal blow when he followed his blocks on a powerful 7-yard run on third-and-1 inside the final minute of overtime.
Together, Aaron Jones and Dillon combined for 183 yards on 33 carries (5.5 yards per attempt).
"He's not a guy you want to see for 60 minutes, especially the latter half of the 60 minutes when you're going to add in 70 minutes with that last 10 (in overtime)," left tackle David Bakhtiari said. "That's a big man you're going to have to stop every, single, time. Getting those extra yards, he's turning two and three yards into four and six. Those are character-building runs."
It was a gut-check win for the Packers, who got off to a slow start on offense and played from behind for most of the second half after New England's one-two backfield punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Harris helped push the Patriots in front.
But when Green Bay needed a response late, all three phases came together to send the Packers overseas next Sunday against the New York Giants on a three-game winning streak.
"I think we did a great job in the second half, obviously, especially that last drive of just running basic plays and just doing our job," said Lazard, who finished with a game-high six receptions for 116 yards. "If we can do that consistently throughout the rest of the year, then the sky's the limit."