Rodgers’ Comeback Beats Cowboys

The Green Bay Packers found themselves in a familiar position in Dallas Sunday afternoon. They were locked in a tight battle with the Cowboys, just as they were last January in an NFC divisional round playoff matchup.

Both times, the Packers are glad they have Aaron Rodgers directing the offense. In January, Rodgers set the team on a drive to set up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal. On Sunday, he directed a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off with a 12-touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining. This drive by Rodgers and the Packers came immediately after Dallas quarterback Das Prescott rushed for a touchdown from 11 yards out to give Dallas a 31-28 lead with 1:13 left to play.

That proved to be too much time for Rodgers and the Packers.

“I just don’t know what else to say about him.” Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy said following the game. “I need to expand my vocabulary. Just a great job by Aaron.”

Green Bay improves to 4-1 with the win, they’re in first place in the NFC North. Dallas drops to 2-3 on the year.

News & Notes

Running back Ty Montgomery did not play after suffering a rib injury against Chicago in week four. Rookie Aaron Jones started in his place Sunday, he carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Adams, who finished with seven grabs for 66 yards and two touchdowns was cleared from concussion protocol Saturday and was able to play. He suffered his concussion in week four against the Bears. Adams had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in what proved to be a scary sight.

Up Next

Green Bay returns to NFC North play next week traveling to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Kick off is set for next Sunday at 12p.

Packers 35, Chicago 14: 2-minute drill

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Chicago quarterback Mike Glennon turned the ball over four times, while Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns in what turned into a 35-14 blowout win for the Packers on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Play of the Game

Green Bay led 7-0 after its first drive and the Bears were looking for an answer. They didn’t get it. Instead, outside linebacker Clay Matthews came off the edge on Chicago’s first snap and knocked the ball loose from Glennon. Linebacker Jake Ryan recovered at the Bears 3-yard line, and three plays later the Packers were in the end zone to claim a 14-0 lead.

Game Balls

Offense: Offensive line

A patchwork group that had Lane Taylor playing left tackle for the first time ever, an undrafted free agent in Lucas Patrick making his first career start at left guard and another undrafted free agent in Justin McCray getting the nod at right tackle, the Packers were able to get movement in the running game and kept Rodgers upright for most of the night, allowing just two sacks. It was a dire situation the line faced and they held up.

Defense: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Clinton-Dix had one of the two interceptions that Glennon threw, and finished with eight solo tackles. On a wet field that could have proven disastrous for the defense, Clinton-Dix and company got the job done in forcing a total of four turnovers.

Special Teams: Justin Vogel

The rookie punter had a fantastic night in tough conditions. He punted five times, and finished with a net of 46.2 yards. He dropped one inside the 20 and never allowed the dangerous Tarik Cohen to burn them in the return game.

In their own words

Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams took what many are calling a clear cheap shot to the head by linebacker Danny Trevathan in the third quarter. It sent Adams’ mouth guard flying, and he ended up being taken off the field on a gurney and to a local hospital.

While Adams was said to be doing fine and all early signs were positive, the fallout from the hit poured into the locker room, where Trevathan was engulfed by reporters. He reportedly told them that while he was sorry that Adams got hurt, it wasn’t intentional and he doesn’t believe he should be fined or suspended.

In the Green Bay locker room, most of the players wouldn’t comment on whether the hit was dirty or not, but the one guy that always speaks his mind — tight end Martellus Bennett — let everyone know his feelings on the matter.

“I thought it was f**ked up,” Bennett said. “No matter what team they’re on, you don’t want anyone to go through that situation. They have families and things like that.

“What we thought was f**ked up was he was celebrating that play. You’re getting your ass kicked, you take a cheap shot and then celebrate when a guy goes down. That’s what really pissed us off.”

In Case You Missed It

— During the national anthem, both teams lined up on the sideline with arms interlocked in a show of unity. However, the call by Rodgers during the week for fans to join them went largely unanswered. Bennett, who sat during the anthem on last Sunday, told reporters he could hear someone in the crowd yelling at him.

“Some motherf**ker yelling, ‘Put your hand on your heart.’ That’s all I heard,” Bennett said. “Someone just kept saying, ‘Put your hand on your heart! Put your hand on your heart!’ I’m like, my arms are locked, back the f**k up.”

— Play was suspended at the end of the first quarter due to serve weather in the area. The delay lasted 46 minutes.

— Green Bay was hammered by injuries, including losing starting running back Ty Montgomery early in the game. It was reported by the NFL Network that Montgomery sustained broken ribs and will be out an undetermined amount of time.

Other injuries:

Blake Martinez (concussion | returned)
Josh Jones (back — returned)
Jamaal Williams (knee)
Joe Thomas (ankle)

— Cornerback Damarious Randall was benched after allowing a touchdown late in the first half and was replaced by Josh Hawkins. Randall spent the first part of the second half with arms stretched out sitting on the bench. He later walked back to the locker room by himself and the team said he was not injured. Asked afterwards about Randall, coach Mike McCarthy said, “That’s an internal matter that we’ll keep internal.”

Inside the Numbers

75 — That’s the number of sacks Matthews has in his career — now the most in team history.

24 — That’s the total number of yards that Aaron Rodgers’ last seven touchdowns have traveled.

4 — That’s the number of offensive line combinations Green Bay has used through the first four games of the season.

3 — That’s how many pass deflections that Hawkins had in what was essentially two quarters of work.

What’s Next

Green Bay (3-1) will travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) Oct. 8. at AT&T Stadium.

Shorthanded Packers lose 34-23 at Atlanta

If the Green Bay Packers have closed the gap between themselves and the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, it certainly didn’t show on Sunday night in a 34-23 loss.

A retooled defense looked exactly as it did last January, as reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones picked up right where they left off in the conference title game. The duo hooked up on gains of 19 and 34 yards on the opening drive, one that was finished off by Devonta Freeman, the first of two touchdowns for the running back who ended up with 84 yards on the ground. Jones had 105 yards on just five grabs, while Mohamed Sanu added five catches and 85 yards.

Green Bay had an answer, going 75 yards in 11 plays before Ty Montgomery plunged in from 1-yard out to tie the game. After that, though, it was all Falcons, as they scored 24 unanswered points, including taking an Aaron Rodgers fumble back for a 15-yard touchdown. Rodgers also threw an interception, his second of the season, and Atlanta made him pay for it by scoring a touchdown just before half to make it 24-7.

“I gave them seven [points] on the fumble, gave another seven on the [interception] and we lose by 11,” Rodgers said. “We were in the game. I can’t turn the ball over like that.”

Unfortunately for the Packers, the real story of the game was a mounting injury list. They played without starting tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari, and then lost defensive tackle Mike Daniels, wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, along with defensive backs Davon House and Kentrell Brice during the game.

It’s unclear how severe any of the injuries were, but they were just another discouraging aspect on a discouraging night.

“Well, I hope we can,” Rodgers said when asked whether he took comfort in the fact it’s still early in the season and they can play better. “This is a potential matchup down the line. Hopefully, we put ourselves in that position. It was a tough game.”

Rodgers called Atlanta a fantastic team, but also intimated that the Packers don’t believe there is a big gap between the franchises despite Green Bay having lost each of its last two trips south by double digits.

“I think we can beat anyone at home,” Rodgers said, a nod toward the advantage the Falcons have at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. “We don’t look at it as [needing to close] the gap.”

Green Bay scored the final 13 points of the game, with Rodgers finding Davante Adams for a 33-yard score and then Montgomery on a shovel pass for a 1-yard touchdown. That one gave him 300 for his career as he became the fastest player in league history to reach that mark.

It’s back home in Week 3 for the Packers, as they welcome the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) to Lambeau Field next Sunday.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ‘fixes’ Sam Dekker’s sink

We now have the story behind the picture former Wisconsin basketball star Sam Dekker put out on social media that showed Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers fixing his sink.

Four days after Dekker posted the image with a caption that read, “Quarterback by day, mechanic by night. Thanks for fixing our sink @AaronRodgers12,” Rodgers spoke to Wisconsin reporters in advance of Sunday’s season opener against Seattle and said it wasn’t much of a fix.

“He was having some sink issues and asked for my help. He’s 23 years old. I know he’s engaged and taking that next step to being an adult, but he’s not quite there yet.

“I went under the sink. What the [Youtube] tutorial taught me was to test the switch first and what kind of rumble you hear – or lack of rumble – tells you what’s going on with the garbage disposal. So, I flipped the switch, nothing happened. So it means two things. One, it’s completely broken and needs to be changed out. Or, two, it’s not plugged in – it wasn’t plugged in.

“So, that’s the picture. Me holding the plug as I called him from the other room and said, ‘Hey, idiot, it wasn’t plugged in.’

“He’s learning.”

LISTEN: Aaron Rodgers tells the story of how he ‘fixed’ Sam Dekker’s sink

Packers beat Los Angeles 24-10 in preseason finale

Brett Hundley threw one touchdown and ran for another as the Green Bay Packers finished up the preseason with a 24-10 win against the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night.

Starting for Aaron Rodgers, Hundley played the entire first half, finishing 11 of 21 for 99 yards and the one score. For the preseason, the third-year quarterback threw for 482 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for two more scores.

“I thought he did some good things, made plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said afterwards. “It’s exactly what Brett needed. He needed to play, he needed reps, and we got that done.”

Hundley was replaced by rookie Taysom Hill, who continued to impress. He was 4 of 4 on the night, including a 25-yard touchdown to Aaron Peck, while also rushing for 19 yards. Second-year pro Joe Callahan came in to finish things off.

After not working much on the running game in the first 3 ½ games of the preseason, McCarthy went ground-and-pound in the second half on Thursday. And it resulted in some solid work for the three rookie running backs – Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. The trio combined for 97 yards, including 48 for Jones.

Twenty-eight players sat out of Thursday’s game, but several members of the starting secondary did suit up and play. Among them was cornerback Davon House. He had missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but started and played one drive against Los Angeles. The free agent signee said he expects to be good to go for the opener against Seattle on Sept. 10.

“I’m ready,” House said. “I’ll be out there.”

The Packers attention now turns to making roster cuts. They must go from 90 players to 53 by 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Former Packers WR Greg Jennings says Brett Favre quit on the team in a 2007 game

Greg Jennings is at it again.

The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who has taken shots at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy in the past, turned his attention to Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre when he was on FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ on Wednesday.

While discussing Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s decision to say it didn’t matter who played running back with Ezekiel Elliott’s looming six-game suspension, Jennings referred back to a 2007 game against the Cowboys when Favre got knocked out early, allowing Rodgers a chance to show he could play at a high level. Jennings said, like Prescott, he gave words of encouragement to Rodgers while likely thinking he’d rather have Favre behind center. That’s when he veered off course.

“I’m going to be honest right now. I thought Brett quit on us,” Jennings said of Favre, who injured his elbow in the second quarter. “He [had] told me to shoot up [with painkillers] before. I’m (in my second year) now, so I didn’t say it, I’m thinking, ‘Man, just shoot up. Do something.’”

The 2007 season, which ended up being Favre’s last in Green Bay, came 11 years after he entered a drug rehab facility due to an addiction to pain killers.

As for Jennings, it could be argued that the three men he’s trained his focus on – Rodgers, McCarthy and Favre – were largely responsible for helping him the reach the heights he did.

In seven seasons playing with the Packers, he averaged 61 catches, 933 yards and eight touchdowns per year. In the other three seasons he played – two with Minnesota and one in Miami – Jennings averaged 48 catches, 585 yards and four touchdowns.

Stafford’s record contract could mean bigger pay day for Rodgers

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest-paid player in the National Football League Monday night, but it could mean bigger things for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Stafford had been patiently waiting for a contract extension as he entered the final year of his most recent deal. He was rewarded with a five-year, $135 million extension with an average annual salary of $27 million.

For Rodgers, he could be paid even higher.

2019 will be the final year of Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract, which had previously made Rodgers the richest based on annual salary ($22 million). When asked about his status in June, Rodgers didn’t show much concern for his future contract.

“Well, that stuff usually takes care of itself,”  Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job. He worries about that stuff.”

“When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.”

As pointed out by Acme Packing Company’s Aaron B. Hirschhorn, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy addressed Rodgers’ situation during this summer’s annual shareholder’s meeting, saying Green Bay would like to come to an agreement with Rodgers prior to the final year of his current deal in 2019.

By locking Rodgers into a new deal before 2019, the Packers can avoid an even higher price tag by the time the New Orleans Saints have to address Drew Brees’ contract in 2018. That could mean a new deal for Rodgers is finalized within the next calendar year, while the Packers have $19.7 million in salary cap space.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.

Brett Favre thought Aaron Rodgers would have more than one title by now

Count Brett Favre among those surprised Green Bay hasn’t won more than one Super Bowl with quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center.

Speaking at the Lee Remmel Sports Award Banquet in Green Bay Wednesday night, the former Packers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame member told the crowd that he expected the title in 2010 to be followed by more.

“So many factors go into winning and losing other than the individual performance itself. Obviously, Aaron has carried the team for a long time. That’s not going to change. But that in itself is not enough. At least it hasn’t been,” Favre said. “As good as he is, I would have thought they would have won more than one by now, but I don’t know if he can do anything else other than what he’s done up to this point.”

Many said the same thing about Favre’s career. Despite seven division titles and 11 trips to the playoffs during his 16 years in Green Bay, Favre had to settle for the one ring he won in Super Bowl XXXI.

“I don’t think about it as much now,” Favre said. “It’s more directing my focus to something else, because when I was playing there was something I could do about it. ‘Next year there’s a chance. There’s always next year.’ But once you’re done, it’s done.”

Luckily for Rodgers and the Packers, it’s not done yet. And in Favre’s mind, winning a second title this year is definitely within the team’s reach.

“From what I can tell, outside looking in, all the pieces seem to be in place,” Favre said. “A bold prediction would be the Rams win the Super Bowl. A not so bold [pick] would be the Packers. That’s not a [biased] choice, that’s just being realistic. I think they have a good chance.”

The Neighborhood: McCarthy won’t sacrifice longevity for Rodgers’ window

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Among the many things discussed by Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy during Wednesday morning’s training camp introductory press conference were some seemingly innocuous statements about longevity.

“Programs win championships,” McCarthy began, referring back to his thought process as a first-year coach in 2006. “I never thought to sell the farm and be a one-year wonder.”

But after elaborating on his response, it’s clear McCarthy and the Packers have discussed comments from last winter’s playoff run where quarterback Aaron Rodgers put the pressure on management to get him players that can win.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re going all-in every year to win,” Rodgers said after an NFC Championship Game loss to the Atlanta Falcons. “And I think we can take a big step this offseason.”

A lot has been made in recent years about 33-year-old Rodgers and his perceived “window” closing — a reference to the number of years he might remain in elite playing shape. If Rodgers’ pleas were answered, it wouldn’t be the first time a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback got his team to help him win another Super Bowl.

In Peyton Manning’s final season in 2015, the Denver Broncos made a number of free agency moves, highlighted by cornerback Aqib talib and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. That was enough to send him out on top in his 17th NFL season.

Adding to the intrigue was a recent admission by Rodgers that he was entering the “back nine” of his career.

Fast forward to July 26, 2017 in front of reporters in the media auditorium at Lambeau Field, McCarthy seemed unwilling to give in to hints that Rodgers wants more weapons at the expense of prospects.

“Those eight [consecutive years of] playoff victories are a clear reflection of our championship-level program…But my focus is on continuing to grow that.”

“We’ve always focused on the program. We’ve never sold out to win one game.”

Despite McCarthy’s unwillingness to adapt a more nearsighted approach to team-building, general manager Ted Thompson helped acquire players with plenty of star power. Among the notable additions were tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, and offensive guard Jahri Evans.

Green Bay will get its first look at the newest Packers when pads come on during Thursday morning’s first training camp practice.