GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A spectacular season continues for one of the NFL’s most lethal offensive aerial combinations.
It was fitting that Aaron Rodgers passed the 400 career touchdown pass milestone with a nine-yarder to Davante Adams, who bulled his way past Darius Slay (with a missed push to the face mask) into the end zone during the third quarter of a 30-16 victory over the reeling Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
Adams then knelt in the end zone and presented the football to his quarterback, who was faux crowned by Allen Lazard. Rodgers again enjoyed stellar protection and completed 25 of 34 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 128.9 quarterback rating.
“Pretty cool Davante (Adams) got it,” Rodgers said in his post-game Zoom conference call with the media. “I didn’t do a whole lot on that play. It was a really good schemed play, he did the whole thing and stiff-armed his way in the end zone, but yeah it’s fun to have those milestones back-to-back weeks. Like I said last week, a lot of its longevity, but there also is some consistent play tied to it.”
Rodgers reached No. 400 in his 193rd career game, faster than any other player in NFL history. The other six players on that short list are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, and Philip Rivers.
With the victory, the 9-3 Packers hold a three-game lead in the NFC North over the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings, who defeated Jacksonville in overtime Sunday afternoon. Detroit stormed back to edge Chicago, 34-30, and both division rivals are now 5-7.
Green Bay is one game behind 10-2 New Orleans for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
“I think we’re in a good position as a team,” Rodgers said. “The first goal is always the North (division). We’re up three (games) with four to play, so we have the opportunity, the magic number as they say, is 2 for us in the division. I think if you look at the opponents we’ve had the last few weeks, the defenses especially, we’ve played some really good defenses.
“(This was a really stout (Eagles) defense, a lot of veteran guys on that side, a lot of big, tough dudes on that side. It was a chippy game, but I liked how we stuck to it. . . (Davante) is such a gifted player, such a smart, talented guy. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Rodgers spread the ball to nine receivers, with Adams snaring 10 of 12 targets for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The hard-charging Jones broke loose on an electrifying 77-yard touchdown run with 2:36 remaining to cement the victory, showcasing his burst, ability to break tackles on the second level, speed down the sideline, and vision/patience to follow blockers. He finished with 130 yards rushing on 15 attempts (8.7 yard ave.) and caught three passes for 18 yards.
Yes, the Eagles offense is a red-hot mess, but coordinator Mike Pettine’s unit was relentless, pressuring Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts and registering seven sacks and 11 quarterback hits.
Six different players contributed at least a half-sack, led by Keke Kingsley with two and 1.5 each from Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary. The defense yielded just 10 points and 278 net yards of offense and an ineffective Wentz (6 completions for 79 yards) was yanked in the third quarter.
Safety Darnell Savage displayed exceptional hands that would make Adams proud on his diving interception late in the fourth quarter to record the game’s only turnover.
Jalen Reagor, punt returner/WR, helped the Eagles get back in the game after Hurt ignited the team with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ward to cut the Packers lead to 23-10 midway through the fourth quarter.
It started off with a bobble, but once Reagor secured the football, he cut right and raced down the sideline past Green Bay defenders for a spectacular 73-yard punt return to make the contest interesting at 23-16 with 6:30 remaining.
The rookie speedster juked punter JK Scott, who had the angle to push him out of bounds or make the tackle, out of his cleats in the final sprint to the end zone. Reagor’s only other touch was a 34-yard reception against Kevin King on a perfectly thrown pass from Hurts in the third quarter.
“It’s always fun to win in this league,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “It’s never easy.”