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Backup QB Brett Hundley keeps Green Bay Packers afloat

By
The Sports Xchange
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) and Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley (63) signals in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on November 26, 2017. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) and Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley (63) signals in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on November 26, 2017. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

CLEVELAND -- Aaron Rodgers can return as the Packers' quarterback next week with a chance to keep Green Bay in the playoff hunt, thanks to his backup, Brett Hundley.

Hundley threw three touchdown passes and completed 35-of-46 passes Sunday when the Packers (7-6) beat the Cleveland Browns 27-21 in overtime. He threw the game-winner to Davante Adams with 5:05 left in the extra session.

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Hundley posted a 3-4 record while minding the store as Rodgers mended from a broken collarbone.

"My No. 1 thought going into it was to keep our hopes alive and make the playoffs," Hundley said. "We're still in it. At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. I'm just here and if my number is called upon, I'll be ready. It was my No. 1 one goal, and we're still in it."

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The Browns (0-13) went into the game with the plan of stopping the Packers on the ground and forcing Hundley to win the game. They held Green Bay to 22 rushing yards in the first half and had a 21-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

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Instead of Hundley cracking under pressure or throwing interceptions, he was poised and looked like a veteran, not a stand-in for Rodgers. The 2015 fifth-round draft pick from UCLA has eight touchdown passes and eight interceptions during his seven-game starting stretch.

"His instincts and awareness, in particular, when he has to extend plays is exceptional," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I mean, he's always played that way. You can see that from all the way back in college. The way he steps out of sacks and made some key plays with his feet.

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"I thought he did a heck of a job. He's got to run and manage a wide-open offense. That was the first time we really cut it loose like that, and he did a heck of a job."

The Browns knew Hundley could run, but he beat them with his arm, too. He ran seven times for 31 yards. A 5-yard gain on a quarterback draw to inside the 1 in the fourth quarter set up the tying touchdown on a pass to Adams with 17 seconds left in regulation.

"It's just crunch-time situations," Hundley said. "Big-time players make big-time plays. My dad used to say that over and over growing up, and that's where it resonates in these kinds of situations with me. It's still football. You just have to perform. I wish we could do this from the start and just carry it forward for 60 minutes, but we did what we had to do."

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