After a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers seem to be back on track. As upsetting as the team’s loss to the Saints was, the win over the Lions was equally calming. After going into halftime down 17-14, the Packers’ second-half offense looked like the unstoppable force they proved to be last season. The team’s dynamic duo of Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones connected for three touchdowns and a big win on a rainy Monday night at Lambeau Field.
Silencing The Doubters
Aaron Rodgers has seen it all. He’s seen every former teammate that says that he doesn’t care about the Packers or playing football anymore. He’s seen the talking heads say that he should be embarrassed by his effort level. He’s seen fans who say he should just retire and host as many game shows as he wants. He’s seen it all but he never lets it get to him.
Rodgers, as some predicted before the game, bounced back in a major way. Rodgers was patient and dominant, showing that his mental and physical game was as strong as ever. The Lions attempted to copy the Saints game plan of using two high safeties to take away passing lanes in the middle of the field. Rodgers relied on Jones and the ground game to wear down the Lions’ strategy and trusted Matt LaFleur’s play design to get the ball to his playmakers in space. Rodgers also showed his incredible accuracy, especially on this laser-like 22-yard touchdown to tight end Robert Tonyan.
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— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 21, 2021
Triple-A Powers The Offense
The Packers boast perhaps the most talented trio in all the NFL with the two Aarons and wideout Davante Adams. The three stars were on top of their game Monday night, as Jones and Adams accounted for 236 of the Packers’ total 323 yards. They also made it look easy.
After combining for a total of zero touchdowns against the Saints, Rodgers and Jones returned to their efficient and exciting scoring normalcy. It is difficult to say which Aaron was more impressive, as the tandem worked in harmonious efficiency.
— NFL (@NFL) September 21, 2021
To quote the song that Lambeau Field used to use for their Kohl’s Rush of the Half, and will live eternally in my mind, “Stop the run…can’t stop the run.” The Lions had no way to contain Jones’ frenzied runs, compounded that they had no way to contain Jones in the passing game. Jones had 13 touches for 76 yards and two touchdowns…at halftime. Jones dedicated the special performance to his late father Alvin Jones Sr. The Packers star running back revealed that he had lost a special necklace that contained his father’s ashes in the end zone, which would have been a fitting place according to Aaron. The necklace was recovered by Packers head trainer Brian “Flea” Engel, and will continue to serve as a beautiful reminder of the love and connection to football between father and son.
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— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 21, 2021
While the Aarons were deservedly applauded for the win, Adams continued to prove his best WR in the league status, with 8 catches for 151 yards. The Rodgers-Adams connection is one of the best in the league, proven by the gorgeous 50-yard completion on a 3rd & 12 play. The pinpoint accurate proved to be a huge momentum shift for the Pack, and another reminder of just how special Rodgers and his arm are.
New Players Step Up
The Packers’ new offensive line looks poised to grow into a dominant force. General manager Brian Gutekunst has shown an ability to draft and develop offensive linemen. New starters at guard Jon Runyan Jr. and Royce Newman showed an ability to clear running lanes for Jones and left tackle Elton Jenkins kept Rodgers’ blind side safe. This protection led to Rodgers being a perfect 16/16 on second and third down and four touchdowns on the obvious passing down throws.
On the defensive side, rookie cornerback Eric Stokes strengthened his case for more playing time, and possibly a starting position in place of Kevin King. Stokes had a huge pass break up on fourth and one that gave the Packers a much-needed stop and put the ball back into Rodgers’ capable hands. As an overall unit, the Packers’ defense had its highs and lows. New linebacker De’Vondre Campbell led the team in tackles with 13 and had a dagger interception in the fourth quarter.
Even the Packers’ special teams, which have had a recent history of struggle, showed positive signs. Rookie kick returner Kylin Hill had a big return that led to a touchdown, and newly acquired Cory “Bojo Blast” Bojorquez had two Pat McAfee/Peyton Manning approved punts.
Going Back To Cali
While the Packers were able to ease some worries with a divisional win, a more dangerous nemesis awaits. The Packers will leave the friendly confines of Lambeau Field for a Sunday Night Football matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers have suffered several injuries to their vast and talented running back committee, but will still likely pound the rock. Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has proven his ability to create running concepts that are difficult to stop, and the Packers have shown that run defense is a weak point.
Prediction: Packers eke out a tough one, and win 38-35 over the 49ers with a last-second field goal by Mason Crosby.