Packers pick off Tua 3 times in 4th quarter in comeback victory

Green Bay, which has won three in a row, is looking to make a playoff push after starting the season 4-8.

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Green Bay Packers v Miami Dolphins

Rasul Douglas (left) and Jaire Alexander celebrate after one of the Packers’ three interceptions of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter.

Eric Espada/Getty Images

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander knew the secondary needed to start playing better against the Dolphins after defensive backs coach Jerry Gray surprisingly yelled at them at halftime.

“That woke us up, for sure,” Alexander said. “He doesn’t really yell, but he was yelling at us then. And you see the results. He probably needed to yell at us at the beginning of the game.”

Gray’s motivational effort worked: The Packers intercepted Tua Tagovailoa three times in the fourth quarter to complete their comeback and beat the Dolphins 26-20 to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Packers had a season-high four takeaways — three interceptions, one fumble recovery. Alexander caught one of Green Bay’s three interceptions early in the fourth.

“That’s how it is: You get one pick, more are going to come,” said cornerback Rasul Douglas, who caught the game-sealing pick. “Keep catching those, and you keep getting them. I’m just glad we caught them.”

Aaron Rodgers threw for 238 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted once, helping the Packers (7-8) to their third straight win. Green Bay is looking to make a playoff push after starting the season 4-8.

After losing four consecutive games, Miami (8-7) needs two wins or a win at the Patriots and the Jets to lose to the Seahawks in Week 17 to make the postseason.

“I did not foresee that happening,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said of the result. “I felt strong going into halftime and where our guys were at. I didn’t foresee standing up here in this situation. I know the team feels the same way. It’s another gut check.”

After leading by 10, the Dolphins trailed by six with a chance to take the lead in the last two minutes, but Tagovailoa threw his third interception in three possessions to end Miami’s comeback bid. He threw a pick with about six minutes left that set up a Packers field goal.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby made the go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter after back-to-back turnovers by both offenses.

Undrafted Dolphins rookie Kader Kohou intercepted a pass by Rodgers intended for Allen Lazard, but the Dolphins gave it right back when Alexander intercepted Tagovailoa on the next play.

Miami’s defense held the Packers to six points off turnovers in the second half and also held Green Bay to two TDs and three field goals in five trips to the red zone.

“It wasn’t pretty, certainly,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think a lot of times when you kick a bunch of field goals, that’s usually just enough to get you beat.”

A.J. Dillon led the Packers with 36 yards on 11 carries, and Lazard had 61 yards on five receptions.

Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill had four catches to give him 113 for the season, setting a Dolphins season record previously held by Jarvis Landry. Jaylen Waddle added five receptions for 143 yards.

But Miami spoiled those big receiving days with turnovers. Raheem Mostert fumbled in the first half, and Tagovailoa’s three interceptions were the most he has thrown all season.

“It’s tough,” Tagovailoa said. “You get an opportunity to play on Christmas Day against a really good team. I go out there and don’t put my best foot forward for our team.”

Miami committed to the run game early, rushing for 82 yards against Green Bay after a season-high 188 rushing yards against the Bills in Week 15.

The Dolphins ran four times for 38 yards on their opening drive and took a 3-0 lead. Green Bay countered with a field goal to tie it after Keisean Nixon’s 93-yard kickoff return set up the Packers at the 9-yard line.

Miami built a 20-13 halftime lead after an 84-yard touchdown by Waddle and a one-yard TD run by Jeff Wilson.

Dillon’s one-yard touchdown run on Green Bay’s first possession of the third quarter tied the score.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis also had a one-yard TD catch in the first quarter.

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