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The Green Bay Packers entered Week 16 with their playoff hopes not only needing to win out, but getting a lot of help from other teams. The Packers got plenty of gifts on Christmas Eve, getting the losses they needed in the league, but they couldn’t make the most of that help in the first 30 minutes, falling to the host Dolphins 20-13 in Miami.

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shredded Green Bay’s defense in the first half, throwing for 229 yards and a touchdown on 9 of 12 passes for an average of 19.1 yards per completion. His scoring strike came in the middle of the Packers’ defense on a pass route that wide receiver Jalen Waddle caught and hauled in for an 84-yard score. Tagovailoa also hit Tyreek Hill for a 52-yard touchdown that put Miami on the one-yard line. Running back Jeff Wilson scored on the very next play on a run up the middle.

The Packers had plenty of opportunities to make big plays and even take the lead in the first half, but they mostly failed to capitalize. Running back Keizen Nixon started the Packers’ first possession with a 93-yard drive out of the end zone to the Miami nine. That drive ended with a field goal as Aaron Rodgers picked off the 5th down. They overcame a fourth down and scored on the ensuing drive off a play-action pass from Rodgers to 38-year-old Marcedes Lewis.

After a Dolphins punt, the Packers needed just a few yards to take over on fourth-and-one at the Miami 40, but Rodgers threw a deep strike to speedy rookie Christian Watson, who got behind the defense. However, Rodgers overthrew him, resulting in a reversal with takedowns. Tagovailoa’s 52-yarder to Hill came on the next drive, contrasting deep ball executions by both teams.

However, the Packers got some extra life as Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert fumbled and Packers defensive tackle Jarran Reed recovered the fumble. That allowed the Packers to start at the Dolphins’ 49 with 1:55 left in the half. They could only get three points off a 46-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, but that put them within seven and tied the game to start the third quarter.

Stay tuned for our coverage in the second half to see if the Packers can rally for an upset to keep their playoff dreams alive. Or, maybe the Dolphins’ offense continues to be too much for the Packers’ pesky defense. We’ll have all the real-time updates and analysis.


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