Tagovailoa throws 3 picks, Packers defeat Dolphins 26-20

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol) (Jim Rassol)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla – Green Bay’s defense intercepted Tua Tagovailoa three times in the fourth quarter to help the Packers come from behind to defeat the Miami Dolphins 26-20 and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 238 yards and a touchdown and had one interception for the Packers (7-8), who have won their last three games after starting the season 4-8.

Miami (8-7) lost its fourth straight game and must win its final two to make the postseason.

The Dolphins trailed by six points with a chance to take the lead in the final 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 to make it a six-point game.

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

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

Miami’s defense held the Packers to six points off turnovers in the second half to keep the Dolphins in it after blowing a 20-10 first-half lead.

The Dolphins held Green Bay to two scores in five trips to the red zone.

A.J. Dillon led the Packers with 36 yards rushing on 11 carries, and Allen Lazard had 61 yards receiving on five catches.

Tyreek Hill had four catches for Miami to give him 113 for the season, setting a Dolphins’ single-season receiving record. Jaylen Waddle added five receptions for 143 yards.

But Miami spoiled those big receiving days with turnovers.

Raheem Mostert fumbled in the first half, leading to a Green Bay field goal. Tagovailoa’s three interceptions were the most he has thrown all season.

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

The Dolphins ran four times for 38 yards on their opening drive and took a 3-0 lead, and 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 TD by Waddle and 1-yard TD run by Jeff Wilson.

Dillon’s 1-yard TD run on Green Bay’s first possession of the third quarter tied the game.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis also had a 1-yard TD catch in the first quarter.

MORE TURNOVERS

Rodgers’ interception in the fourth quarter was his 11th pick of the season, his highest total since he had 11 during Green Bay’s Super Bowl-winning season in 2010. Rodgers threw a career-high 13 interceptions in 2008.

CHRISTMAS CHILL

The temperature at Hard Rock Stadium was 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) at kickoff, which marked the second-coldest home game in Dolphins history. The coldest was played on Christmas Eve in 1989 against Kansas City in 40-degree weather. The Chiefs won that game 27-24.

HOLIDAY HISTORY

Tagovailoa’s 84-yard TD pass to Waddle was the longest offensive TD score on Christmas day in NFL history, according to NFL Research. It was athe fourth-longest TD in Dolphins history and the longest since Dan Marion’s 85-yard TD pass to Mark Duper in 1986 vs. the Houston Oilers. It was also the longest TD catch of Waddle’s career.

INJURIES

Packers: DE Dean Lowry injured his calf in the second quarter. … Keisean Nixon left with a groin injury. … WR Christian Watson left with a hip injury.

Dolphins: LB Bradley Chubb (hand) left in the first quarter and later returned. ... FB Alec Ingold injured his thumb.

UP NEXT

Packers: Host Minnesota on Jan. 1.

Dolphins: Visit New England on Jan. 1.

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