Upon Further Review: Rodgers explodes for 4 touchdowns as Packers start strongby Mark Harris
How was that for some Packers football!
Just when so many wanted to bury grizzled veteran Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ signal-caller dazzled by going 32-44 (73%) for 364 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to lead Green Bay (1-0) to a 43-34 road victory over the Minnesota Vikings (0-1).
The two-time MVP’s top weapon was Davante Adams, who was targeted 17 times and caught 14 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. His 14 catches are tied with Don Hutson for the most in a single Packers game.
And Adams was not alone in his success. Green Bay receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard each caught touchdowns as all three of the Packers’ top three receivers feasted on Minnesota’s inexperienced cornerbacks Cam Dantzler, Holton Hill and Mike Hughes.
Rodgers had time to operate as well. The Packers’ offensive line did not give up a single sack and only allowed two quarterback hits.
It was just a good, old-fashioned blowout over the Vikings, something Packer fans know and love. Green Bay officially only won by nine points but that is hardly representative of how competitive the game was, especially since Minnesota scored three of its touchdowns in garbage time in the fourth quarter. After all, the Packers outgained the Vikings in yardage 522-382.
Here’s a recap of Sunday’s game (Story | Photos):
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The Packers a handful of great performances Sunday but the answer here is Rodgers.
His statistics against Minnesota are impressive enough and he made some “Wow” throws in this game that proved he still has a lot of gas in the tank.
From manipulating the Vikings at the line of scrimmage to surgically shredding Minnesota’s secondary, Rodgers was back in peak form. He operated well within the offense and while he had a laser focus on Adams, he still distributed the ball to his other receivers Valdes-Scantling (4 rec, 95 yards, 1 TD) and Lazard (4 rec, 63 yards, 1 TD).
When Rodgers plays like that, the Packers can beat anyone and his performance on Sunday was exactly what you want to see if you’re a Packers fan.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
Have a day, Jaire Alexander!
No. 23 got things started with a safety on Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins early in the second quarter. That play made the score 7-5 Vikings with 11:39 to go in the second quarter, so at the time it did not feel incredibly significant, but it shifted momentum and started the landslide that was Green Bay’s blowout win.
Alexander finished with five tackles (four solo), one sack, one pass defensed, and an interception. His interception off Cousins with just 34 seconds to go in the first half opened the door for the Packers to score on the Valdes-Scantling play and lead by 15 points at the half.
After starting his career with two solid seasons, it looks like Alexander improved even more during the offseason.
Green Bay made three big plays in the final minute of the first half, but of those three the Valdes-Scantling touchdown had to be the most demoralizing for the Vikings, so it takes the cake as the most important moment.
After Alexander intercepted Cousins, Minnesota could keep the score within reach if it didn’t allow Green Bay to go 45 yards down the field with 34 seconds left in the second quarter.
Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, Valdes-Scantling burned Dantzler for a 45-yard bomb, and all of a sudden the game was over.
18:44 – Green Bay limited Minnesota to just 18:44 time of possession. The Packers, on the other hand, held on to the ball for over two-thirds of the game (41:16) and maintained long drives throughout the game that never let the Vikings get in a rhythm. Matt LaFleur’s team picked up 31 first downs in a relatively balanced fashion, 17 coming through the air, 11 coming on the ground and three via penalty.
THEY SAID IT
“I shot my shot. I slid in the DMs, basically.” – cornerback Jaire Alexander on his safety on Kirk Cousins.
“I’ve been a fan of him since last training camp and he hasn’t disappointed at all. He has a different mindset about him.” – quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Allen Lazard.
“I try to treat everybody like Deion Sanders and that’s where the success comes from.” – wide receiver Davante Adams on facing Vikings’ young cornerbacks.
“I think they’re one of the best duos in the National Football League.” – head coach Matt LaFleur on Rodgers and Adams.
The Packers will return home next week for another NFC North matchup, this time against the Detroit Lions (0-1). The Lions let Mitch Trubisky toss three scores in the fourth quarter and lost a heartbreaker to the Chicago Bears 27-23 in Week 1 at Ford Field. Detroit has some effective offensive players, so it should make for an interesting game on Sunday at noon in Lambeau Field.