Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones had so many trips to the end zone on Monday Night Football that he accidentally left behind a priceless family keepsake: a medallion containing his father’s ashes.
Following the Packers’ 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions, ESPN’s Lisa Salters spoke with Jones about playing his first home game since his father passed away in April and asked him how much dad was “on his heart” during his four-touchdown performance. As Jones explained, his father was more present than most people realized.
“He was really on my heart,” Jones answered. “I actually … I have a chain with a football and his ashes are in it. I scored and it fell off in the end zone, so I’ll go look for it, but I know he’s happy. He’d be happy. He’d be like, ‘If you lose it anywhere, lose it in the end zone.’
“The grounds crew was looking for it, though, so we’ll find it. We’ll find it.”
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Jones Goes Wild in Return to Lambeau
For an NFL running back who just signed a big-money second contract this past offseason, Jones couldn’t have had a much better return to Lambeau Field. He caught three touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers and rushed for another on the night, gaining a total of 115 yards as the Packers (1-1) rebounded in a big way from their blowout loss in Week 1. It was only the second time in his career that he scored four touchdowns in a single game.
Jones’ massive game marked only the second four-touchdown performance of his career, the first of which also came in prime time back during Week 4 of the 2019 season when he and the Packers routed the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. It was, however, his first career game with three receiving touchdowns.
Packers’ Run Game Fueled Bounce-Back Win
A crucial flaw in the Packers’ offensive game plan during Week 1’s loss to the New Orleans Saints was their inability — and generally unwillingness — to run the ball. They rushed just 15 times for a total of 43 yards with Jones getting a measly five carries. But clearly, Matt LaFleur and his staff learned from their mistakes over a long prep week.
The Packers turned to the run game early and often on Monday night with Jones carrying the ball six times on their opening drive, which ESPN Stats & Info clocked as a career-high for him on a first drive. Jones also capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers that pulled them even at 7 with the Lions.
By the time it was all said and done, the Packers had run the ball twice as much (31 carries) as the week before. Despite only getting a slight improvement in yards per carry, their dedication to the ground game proved effective in drawing the Lions’ defense into more favorable looks for their passing game. It also helped that Rodgers returned to his usual, efficient self and went 22-of-27 passing for 255 yards and four touchdowns, all of which went to Jones aside from his 22-yard dart to Robert Tonyan.
Rodgers also leaned on his leading receiver, Davante Adams, quite a bit during the win, completing eight of nine passes to the 2020 All-Pro for 121 yards, including a 50-yard bomb that set up Tonyan’s touchdown reception three plays later.
“I really felt like we needed to get our playmakers the ball,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said of the team’s adjustments between weeks. “And that is Davante Adams, that is Robert Tonyan and that is Aaron Jones.”