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NFL Week 13 Grades: Packers get a B+ for winning without Rodgers, Broncos get an F

After 25 years of winning games due to stellar quarterback play, the Packers finally flipped the script on themselves and won a game with ugly quarterback play, which almost never happens in Green Bay. 

As a matter of fact, the Packers managed to do something with Brett Hundley on Sunday they’ve never done with Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers: They won a game with less than 80 passing yards. 

The Packers mustered 77 yards through the air, but they were still able to hang on to beat the Buccaneers 26-20 in a wild overtime game at Lambeau Field. Not only did the Packers keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but they also increased the chances that Rodgers could return at some point this season. 

Rodgers has said he’s going to return only if it makes sense, and the only way it’s going to make sense is if the Packers are in the playoff race, so this victory was huge —  if it proved one thing, it’s that Rodgers can’t return soon enough. 

Hundley finished with only 84 passing yards — a number that went down to 77 due to two sacks — and he almost single-handedly killed the Packers’ playoff chances. However, Green Bay’s postseason hopes were kept alive by running back Jamaal Williams and a a desperate Packers defense that made big play after big play against the Bucs. 

On Williams’ end, the rookie running back — who had never rushed for more than 67 yards in a game this season — exploded for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Of course, Packers fans weren’t talking Williams after the game, they were talking about another running back: Aaron Jones. 

Jones got only one carry the entire game, but he made it count. On the opening possession of overtime, Jones gave the Packers a walk-off win with a 20-yard touchdown run, and yes, there was definitely a Lambeau Leap involved. 

Seriously, that was Jones’ only carry in the game. 

As for Hundley, although he struggled for most of the game, he must have been taking notes during his time as a backup because he turned into Aaron Rodgers in overtime. Not only did Hundley throw for 30 of his 84 yards in the extra period, but he also converted a third-and-4 in OT by running for seven yards. Six plays later, Jones would win the game with his touchdown. 

Of course, the Packers probably don’t even make it to overtime if not for one of the best defensive performances that Green Bay has turned in this year. Jameis Winston didn’t have any breathing room as the Packers’ pressure managed to suffocate him for nearly four quarters. Not only did the Packers sack Winston seven times, but their pressure also led to a first-half touchdown. In the second quarter, Dean Lowry picked up a Winston fumble and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. 

The seven sacks were the most the Packers had racked up in one game since 2015. Winston will probably be having nightmares about Clay Matthews after getting sacked 2.5 times by the Packers linebacker on Sunday. 

It’s a good thing that Rodgers might be coming back soon, though, because the Packers definitely aren’t built to win games without their quarterback. The win over the Bucs marked the first…

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