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Lewis Had ‘Nightmares’ About Killer Playoff Fumble

The Green Bay Packers were rolling in their playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers until veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis’ rare blunder turned the tide.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers looked unstoppable in last year’s playoff game against the 49ers.

They raced down the field for an opening touchdown and were on their way to more points when disaster struck at the hands of one of their most reliable and respected players.

On a first down from the Niners’ 42 with about 4 minutes left in the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers completed a short pass to Marcedes Lewis. Lewis was hit by linebacker Fred Warner, who jarred the ball loose for a game-changing turnover.

Even with a dominant defensive performance, the Packers never fully regained the momentum. The fumble, along with a poor performance by the MVP quarterback and a couple killer mistakes by the special teams, led to a shocking 13-10 playoff loss at Lambeau Field.

Lewis said the play, and its impact on the game, caused him to have nightmares.

“I’m a competitor, bro. So, it’s something that I watched it once and I’ll never watch it again,” Lewis said after Tuesday’s minicamp practice. “I watched it once. It was one of those where I’m turning out and I’m looking to turn upfield, didn’t see him coming from the inside. Great play by him. Definitely bothered me just because it was a pivotal time. I felt like we had momentum.”

How badly did momentum turn? The Packers had seven first downs on their first two possessions. They had seven first downs the rest of the game.

The fateful play was a bootleg to the left, and Lewis caught the ball while moving that direction. When he started to turn upfield, he was hit from his right side by Warner. Lewis called it a “bang-bang” play. He correctly guessed he had fumbled only five times out of 426 career regular-season receptions.

It was the worst imaginable time for his first lost fumble since 2013.

“In this game, you have to have a short-term memory because, if you don’t, you end up falling into a depression, whether it’s on the field or off the field,” he said. “I’ve always had a short-term memory. I can probably count on 1 1/2, two hands the number of times I’ve had plays I wanted back my entire career.”

He added, “If you care, you’re going to have nightmares. That’s exactly what happened. Watching as the playoffs went on, it’s like, ‘Damn, that’s a play I wish I had back’ amongst, as a team, other plays we wish we had back. But that’s one that I could’ve potentially controlled and I wish I had that back.”

The 38-year-old Lewis is back for a 17th season – a feat that would tie Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten for most seasons in NFL history by a tight end.

His track record, and the comfort he takes from all he’s put into the game over the years, helped ease the considerable pain.

“I lean on the work I’ve always put in,” he said. “I’ve made so many more plays and I’ve never taken a play off. It’s something that for at least a month-and-a-half, I had nightmares about. But I’m able to confront the truth and look in the mirror every day because I know I never leave anything out on the field. I always give what I got. Even after that, I’m still whopping ass in the run game. It’s something that’s unfortunate, something I didn’t see coming in this part of the game.”

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