Rodgers tosses pair of TDs to help Packers beat Raiders
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tries to excape pressure from the Raiders' Nick Roach in the first quarter.
Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images North America
APGREEN BAY, Wis.
Skip the rest of the preseason. The Green Bay Packers offense seems ready for some real games.
With a stable of running backs now complementing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers could be as potent as ever this year.
Rodgers threw for two touchdowns, Eddie Lacy rumbled for a 1-yard score on the Packers' opening drive and prized free agent acquisition Julius Peppers recorded his first sack of the preseason in the Packers' 31-21 victory Friday night over the Oakland Raiders.
"I think we're ready. I think it's been a good preseason. Scored some points, moved the ball," Rodgers said. "We have 13 days until the game."
That would refer to the season opener Sept. 4 in Seattle against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
The Raiders host Seattle next week to wrap up the preseason with a few defensive injuries.
The game was stopped for several minutes in the second quarter after Raiders linebacker Sio Moore was taken off the field, and coach Dennis Allen said "the initial word is really mostly a neck strain."
Moore lifted a thumb to acknowledge a crowd that gave him a standing ovation while he was taken off on a stretcher. He had tests at a hospital before returning to Lambeau Field.
"I don't know what kind of timeline that means, but obviously the most encouraging thing is that Sio's fine," Allen said.
Oakland also lost two other defensive starters to head injuries in cornerback Tarell Brown and linebacker Nick Roach.
A first-team defense that allowed three touchdown drives in four possessions in the first two preseason games had its ups and down against Rodgers, who finished 9 of 20 for 139 yards playing into the second quarter.
The 2011 NFL MVP's completion rate would have been higher if not for a handful of drops. He connected on touchdowns to tight end Andrew Quarless and receiver Jordy Nelson.
Lacy just played in the first series, but the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year had the Raiders on their heels. He finished with six rushes for 36 yards and the touchdown.
DuJuan Harris, third on the running back depth chart, added 56 yards on 12 carries, and added 42 yards on two catches. Last year's backup running back, James Starks, had nine yards on seven carries.
A Raiders defense that allowed an average of 89.5 yards over the first weeks allowed 78 in the first half.
"It's a long season, so with three backs we should be able to stay fresh and be able to go fast the whole season," Lacy said.
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub played into the third, finishing 13 of 27 for 110 yards for Oakland. Backup Matt McGloin threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to Brice Butler, from 19 and 28 yards. McGloin finished 10 of 17 for 162 yards.
The game inched along by the middle of the third quarter with the Packers up by three scores and backups littering both lineups.
The Raiders' only touchdown came on their second series of the first half after a handful of missed tackles helped Maurice Jones-Drew dart 40 yards for a score to tie it at 7.
The Packers first-team defense held Oakland scoreless from there.
"Yeah, really our No. 1 defense, we had that big play we gave up. Other than that, I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Besides the sack, Peppers also stood up Raiders running back Darren McFadden in traffic for a short gain around left end. It was just the kind of big-play production McCarthy was hoping to get from Peppers when the Packers signed the former Chicago Bear as a free agent.
Green Bay did lose defensive lineman B.J. Raji to an arm injury. He remained on the sideline for much of the game with a black sleeve on his arm, and McCarthy said Raji "felt confident" about the injury.
The Raiders again struggled to produce under Schaub, who was signed as a free agent from the Houston Texans. Oakland had four straight three-and-outs at one point in the first half, then turned the ball over at the Packers 26 late in the second quarter after Schaub fumbled on a sack by Nick Perry.
"We better be close to being ready for the regular season here shortly," Schaub said. "Got off to a good start ... and then you know, we sort of stubbed our toe a few times there, especially in the second quarter."