Offense rolls, Packers D shines in win over Eagles
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The offense keeps rolling for the Green Bay Packers early in home games. Against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the defense and return game got in on the fun, too.
Aaron Rodgers passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns, running back Eddie Lacy accounted for two scores, and the Packers' defense stuffed the up-tempo Eagles in a 53-20 win.
Wideout Jordy Nelson had four receptions for 109 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown catch that helped build a 24-point halftime lead. But Nelson was more impressed with what the rest his team was doing.
Micah Hyde returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter. The defense accounted for two scores in the second half - a 52-yard interception return by Julius Peppers and a 49-yard fumble return off a botched snap by Casey Hayward.
''It is fun watching everyone get involved. That's probably the best part of it, is seeing the defense scoring touchdowns, special teams with Micah and all sorts of guys,'' Nelson said. ''It's the little things.''
It added up to another big day at Lambeau Field for the Packers (7-3).
For Philadelphia (7-3), Mark Sanchez was 26 of 44 for 346 yards with two touchdowns in his second start for the injured Nick Foles.
But Sanchez's night will be remembered more for his two interceptions, and the sight of the quarterback lying on his belly and looking up as Hayward scored to make it 53-13 early in the fourth quarter. Sanchez was charged with a fumble after failing to corral a high snap out of the shotgun with an empty backfield.
''None of us played where we needed to play against this team,'' Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.
Some other takeaways from the Packers' fourth straight win at Lambeau of at least 21 points:
THAT WAS EASY: Actually, it just looked easy, according to Rodgers. Whatever the reason, the Packers are cruising at home in outscoring opponents 128-9 before halftime in four straight home games, all wins.
''This is not easy. There's a lot of preparation that goes into it,'' Rodgers said. ''It takes 11 guys to win, to do the job to make something like that happen.''
Rodgers finished 22 of 36. He also broke Tom Brady's NFL record of 288 straight passes at home without an interception.
MARKED MAN: Sanchez's second start for Philadelphia didn't go quite as well as his first outing in a 45-21 win last week over Carolina, when he threw for 332 yards.
The biggest difference: Turnovers. Sanchez didn't throw an interception against Carolina. Besides Hayward's touchdown return, the Eagles lost another fumble on an aborted handoff by Sanchez.
PICKED APART: Rodgers dissected an aggressive defense that only had one sack after registering nine the previous week against Carolina. Much of the Packers' success can be credited to an offensive line that guard Josh Sitton has called one of the best pass-blocking units he's been a part of in his seven years in the league.
It also helps to have a quarterback in his prime like Rodgers, who can deftly extend plays and make pinpoint throws in tough situations.
''With that quarterback you need to get pressure,'' Kelly said. ''You pick your poison - he picked us apart in the first half.''
BROTHERLY LOVE: The Packers' defense looks rejuvenated since Clay Matthews started getting more time at inside linebacker. He opened the game there with the Packers using five defensive backs and two linemen. Matthews also had a sack after rushing unabated at Sanchez from his traditional position outside.
Matthews' brother, Casey, also plays inside linebacker for Philadelphia. Casey Matthews had reportedly said earlier in the week that his brother wasn't thrilled with the move, though Clay later said there wasn't much truth to the comments.
''It kind of got misinterpreted this week when I said he doesn't like inside 'backer,'' Casey Matthews said. ''It was no big deal. I don't think it was really jabs back and forth. It was fun.''
REMATCH?: It was a tough day especially for Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who covered Nelson on the touchdown catch, along with 64-yard completion in the first quarter. Fletcher hopes to get another shot at Green Bay in the postseason, which is entirely possible for the divisional leaders.
''Yeah, we look forward to that,'' Fletcher said. ''If we're able to play them again, we're definitely going to come back and be better.''
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