The Packers meet the Dolphins on Sunday for the first time since 2018, when the Packers allegedly beat their southern opponents 31-12.
I say allegedly because although I know I watched that game, wrote about it, and even recorded a podcast about it, I honestly can’t remember a single moment of it. And truly, that feels about right for how that game — and really that season — went down.
2018, as you may remember, was not one of the finer campaigns in Packers history. Green Bay had slouched to a 3-4-1 record through the first nine weeks of the season and had just begun their final death spiral when the Dolphins arrived at Lambeau Field. The Packers had fallen to the Rams and Patriots in consecutive weeks, and things weren’t looking better in the near future, with trips to Seattle and Minnesota coming up after their date with the Dolphins.
But the Dolphins looked to be a temporary cure for what ailed the Packers. They were 5-4 under third-year head coach Adam Gase, but their record was fool’s gold. Two of their five wins had come over the New York Jets, who would go on to finish the 2018 season with an illustrious 4-12 record. The same was true of the Oakland Raiders, who the Dolphins felled in Week 3. They’d also eked out a win over the Tennessee Titans (and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur) in Week 1, but that was mostly because of a wild fourth quarter.
The Dolphins’ only noteworthy win was a 31-28 overtime thriller over the Bears in Week 6. In a quarterback thriller for the ages, Brock Osweiler had outdueled Mitchell Trubisky, rallying the Dolphins with 15 points in the fourth quarter and guiding them to the game-winning field goal in overtime.
It was Osweiler who would start for the Dolphins at Lambeau Field that day. The 6-foot-7 journeyman was on his third team in three years, and for all their troubles in 2018, the Packers’ defense had no problem making life miserable for Osweiler that day. They sacked the Dolphins’ passer six times that day, picked him off once, and recovered his only fumble.
Pretty much everybody got in on the action, too. Six different players recorded a sack and four different players recorded a pass defensed, including Bashaud Breeland, who caught his first interception as a member of the Packers that day.
On offense, Aaron Jones had an incredible day. He ripped off 145 yards on just 15 carries, scoring two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers had one of his better games in a down year, finding Davante Adams for two touchdowns. The Packers even moved the ball on special teams, as safety Raven Greene reeled off a 26-yard run on a fake punt.
The fact that the Packers came out on top did make the game noteworthy in one way. In taking out the Dolphins, the Packers scored their fourth win of the season — and the last of Mike McCarthy’s tenure in Green Bay. The Packers would lose their next three games, and McCarthy would be fired after their embarrassing loss to the Cardinals at Lambeau Field. But for one forgettable afternoon, the Packers forestalled the inevitable. Perhaps they can do the same on Sunday in Miami.