CLEVELAND -- Bring back Aaron Rodgers. This season can still be saved.
Miraculously. Unexpectedly. Extraordinarily.
And with a little -- OK, a lot of -- thanks to the winless Cleveland Browns.
Ten wins, which was Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s formula for getting into the playoffs, is still on the board. At 7-6 with three games to go -- at Carolina, home against Minnesota and at Detroit -- it’s not over yet.
All that’s left to find out is whether Rodgers’ surgically repaired right clavicle has mended. If so, this 27-21 comeback victory in overtime -- the second straight week the Packers have won in sudden-death fashion -- combined with the return of their two-time MVP quarterback could turn out to be a defining moment in a season that for most of Sunday looked like it would end up lost.
"The way we fought, these last two weeks ... to get that overtime win last week and do that same thing is huge," said Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. "There's your season right there."
Of course, if the scan of Rodgers’ collarbone shows that the break suffered nearly two months ago hasn’t completely healed, then Sunday’s win could prove to be just an afterthought because it would seem unlikely that a Brett Hundley-led team could run the table.
Although after the way Hundley engineered a pair of second-half touchdown drives to rally the Packers from a 21-7 deficit to get to overtime, maybe it’s not as unfathomable as it sounds.
For much of the afternoon, this looked like it had the makings of one of the most humiliating losses since the 1997 Packers lost to the 0-10 Colts. That team, however, went to the Super Bowl. This one, however, still has so much more work to do to even make the playoffs.
But remember, Rodgers was playing at an MVP level before Anthony Barr changed the course of the Packers’ season with the hit that broke Rodgers’ right collarbone.
Rodgers had thrown 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and the Packers' only loss in their first five games with him at the helm came at Atlanta.
"We love Aaron Rodgers, but I will not answer any questions about him today," McCarthy said after the game. "This is about winning the game, and he’s still in the medical situation and as soon as we have the information we’ll try to get it to you."
They still have all of their receivers, including Davante Adams, whose 1-yard touchdown on a back-shoulder throw sent the game into overtime and whose 25-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the extra session won it.
It was Hundley’s third win since Rodgers’ injury.
Now, they have a revamped running attack that, although it struggled for most of Sunday’s game, is just a week removed from a season-best 199-yard performance against the Buccaneers.
"It gives us a lot of confidence going forward," said Hundley, who threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. "This team has a lot of fight, I’ll tell you that. We’re not out of this thing. We have a lot of fight in us. These two last games, we fought back. When we needed to execute, we executed. When our backs were against the wall, we came out swinging. We’ve done it for the last two weeks -- came up short [against] the Steelers. This team has a lot of fight and it’s not over yet."
The Browns gift-wrapped this one when their rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer, threw one up for grabs in overtime with Matthews in his face. Rookie Josh Jones intercepted it, giving the Packers a short field to set up the game-winning score.
Of course, all the optimism over Rodgers’ return to practice last week and the face-saving overtime win over the Browns could be dashed if tests show Rodgers’ collarbone hasn’t completely mended.