Ranked last in the NFL in pass defense, Green Bay intercepted Joey Harrington three times and benefited from half a dozen dropped passes by the woeful Dolphins to win 34-24 Sunday.
But it was big plays by Green Bay’s beleaguered defense that made the difference. The Packers doubled their season interception total, and the takeaways led to 13 points.
“Today we got our hands on some balls, and we were able to give it back to the offense or take it in for a score,” Woodson said. “Any time you can do that, you’ve got a good chance to win.”
Green Bay (2-4) beat the Dolphins in Miami for the first time in seven tries, battling fatigue and cramps in steamy, 86-degree weather to finish strong.
“We were dropping like flies, but we fought through it,” Green said.
The last time the Packers won in South Florida was in Vince Lombardi’s final game as their coach in the 1968 Super Bowl against Oakland.
The Dolphins (1-6) dropped their fourth game in a row and remained tied for the NFL lead in losses. The mood was so glum at Dolphin Stadium that some of the most exuberant cheers were by Green Bay fans who chanted “Go, Pack, go!”
“If you think getting angry will help, I’ll get plenty angry in a heartbeat,” coach Nick Saban said. “I’m not sure that’s going to help.”
Harrington set a Miami regular-season record with 62 passing attempts. He completed 33 for a career-high 414 yards and two touchdowns, but much of the yardage came with the Dolphins trying to play catch-up in a hurry-up offense.
They scored only two touchdowns despite running 83 plays.
“A lot of things were drive-killers,” Harrington said. “We dropped balls. I threw it to the other guys. We had penalties. There were a lot of things.”
Woodson put the Packers ahead to stay early in the third quarter when Harrington overthrew tight end Randy McMichael in the flat. McMichael lunged to get one hand on the pass before it deflected to Woodson, who ran untouched to the end zone to put Green Bay ahead 13-10.
“That’s what you live for,” Woodson said. “That’s what makes the game fun.”
McMichael dropped at least two other passes, including one that deflected off his chest to Barnett.
“My teammates depend on me to make plays, and I didn’t do that,” McMichael said. “I let my teammates down.”
A replay overrule gave the Packers their second touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Favre to Donald Driver. An official initially ruled that Driver failed to maintain possession as he rolled in the end zone with two defenders.
When the reversal was announced, putting Green Bay ahead 20-10, a gleeful Favre lifted Driver over his shoulder on the sideline in celebration.
“Nothing short of a miracle,” Favre said regarding the overrrule.
Green broke into the clear on a simple off-tackle play and outran the secondary to make it 27-16. The Dolphins responded with their best drive of the day, moving 80 yards for rookie Derek Hagan’s first NFL touchdown on a 13-yard reception with 12 minutes left.
Harrington hit Marty Booker with a 2-point conversion pass to cut the deficit to 27-24.
But Green Bay sealed the victory with an 11-play, 80-yard drive. It included an end-around by Driver on fourth-and-1 for 6 yards before Favre hit Martin with a 13-yard score.
“That last drive was our best in recent memory,” Favre said. “This says a lot about what type of team we can be. We never found our rhythm, yet we won.”
Miami DE Jason Taylor left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury, but said it wasn’t serious. DT Keith Traylor hurt his knee. … Packers T Chad Clifton was inactive because of flu-like symptoms. WR Greg Jennings hurt his ankle in the first half. … Miami QB Daunte Culpepper (knee) was inactive. Rookie Marcus Vick, added to the Dolphins’ roster Tuesday, was inactive as their third quarterback.