Worries about the Green Bay Packers offense vanished after just three passes from Aaron Rodgers on Sunday afternoon.
The Packers star quarterback followed up an incompletion on his first attempt with a pair of 20-plus-yard passes, including Aaron Jones’ 21-yard touchdown catch, and then never looked back. Rodgers finished 25-for-31 passing with 429 yards, six total touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3, becoming the fourth quarterback to achieve the feat this season and the 74th overall in NFL history.
The two-time MVP also became the fastest quarterback ever to score 350 career passing touchdowns, reaching in the milestone in 172 games and getting there eight games faster than previous record-holder Dree Brees. Rodgers hit the mark on his fourth touchdown pass of the day — a 3-yard completion to Jimmy Graham — and tallied one more with a 74-yard bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fourth quarter to push his total to 351.
He also rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to cap the Packers’ first drive of the second half.
“He is one of the greatest ever to do it, if not the greatest ever to do it,” Valdes-Scantling said in Sunday’s postgame, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. “When you’ve got a quarterback like that under center, anything can happen. You can go out and be successful at any point in time. You can’t ask for a better quarterback than him.”
Rodgers put on his best performance by far under new head coach Matt LaFleur in helping the Packers win their third straight game, but the most impressive part of the afternoon was how much was achieved without star wideout Davante Adams.
While he remains sidelined with a turf toe injury, Rodgers completed passes to eight different targets and threw each of his five touchdowns to a different pass-catcher. That included Jake Kumerow’s first of the season — and second of his career — and Jones’ ninth, which ties him with Christian McCaffrey for the most in the league.
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LaFleur Recognizes Rodgers’ Elite Game
Training camp saw people outside of the organization speculating about Rodgers’ relationship with his new head coach, some perpetuating a rumor of early friction between them. Both men denied any such trouble, and they seem to be getting along great after seven games.
LaFleur presented the game ball Sunday to Rodgers for, well, the obvious. The first-year coach celebrated him becoming the first-ever Packers quarterback to have a perfect passer rating and called out a number of his stats from the game. But it was how he punctuated his postgame speech that got the Packers’ locker room roaring.
“Twenty-five of 31, 429 yards, five touchdowns, and the old man ran for one!” LaFleur shouted as a raucous mob of Packers swarmed a smiling Rodgers.
Rodgers came into Sunday’s game with the highest passer rating in NFL history through his first 171 career games and only elevated his lead in that department with a perfect score against the Raiders. Even Oakland coach Jon Gruden couldn’t hate on Rodgers’ afternoon.
“He’s one of the best of all time,” Gruden said Sunday via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. “He made a couple of great audibles. He made a couple of great throws. Tough as hell. I mean, we hit him a few times and it didn’t bother him one bit.”
Packers Offense Hits Groove
Rodgers said what many Packers fans have been hoping to hear all season long after thumping the Raiders defense Sunday.
“I feel like this has been coming,” Rodgers said in the postgame. “I feel like we’ve been building and I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable, and Matt has been feeling more comfortable.”
The Packers offense started out looking uneasy in the season opener against the Chicago Bears, pulling off a win but generating just 10 points. Each week since had seen the Packers score at least as many points as the game before until Monday night’s 23-22 comeback win against the Detroit Lions in prime time. Though, that game was their second straight without Adams and saw both Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest) exit with injuries.
The latter two were both game-time decisions that worked out in favor of the Packers, as Valdes-Scantling went on to have a career-high 124 on two catches, including a 54-yarder near the start of the second half that helped set up Rodgers’ rushing touchdown.
Allison was less productive but more involved, catching four of his five targets for 33 yards.