Upon Further Review: Packers vs. Eagles

Aaron Rodgers finally put up a traditional Rodgers stat line, throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, plus a few clutch escapes and 46 rushing yards.

It took 53 passing attempts and a totally anemic run game to make it happen, however.

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Rodgers attempted 50-plus passes for the eighth time in his career, but a few of those passes were absolute head scratchers.

Down a score and star receiver Davante Adams — more on him in a moment — on their second-to-last possession, the Packers took to the air four times on the 1-yard line.

It didn’t work.

They went back to that strategy after marching down the field on their final possession, a drive that started at the Packers’ 11-yard line and ended with an interception in the end zone.

The Eagles walked out of Lambeau Field with a 34-27 win, while the Packers hit the road for a showdown with the high-flying Dallas Cowboys with the NFC North more muddled than ever before.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Rodgers targeted Adams 15 times in Week 4 after looking his way a combined 13 times the past two weeks. Adams responded with a career-high 180 receiving yards on 10 catches, averaging 12 yards per target and nearly doubling his total output to this point. He remains without a touchdown catch through four games for the first time since 2015, but this was an emphatic course correction for Rodgers and Adams. The downside: The offense stalled out once Adams exited in the fourth quarter with a toe injury, and could miss significant time.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME

The Packers’ defense, a major strength through three weeks, was held without a takeaway Thursday and failed to sack Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. The secondary, however, continued to shine. Tight end Zach Ertz led all Philadelphia pass catchers with only 65 receiving yards, while the Eagles managed just 160 yards through the air. Cornerback Kevin King looked particularly sharp. He allowed just two receptions on six targets, per Pro Football Focus.

THAT MOMENT

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell aren’t off the hook, exactly, for their famous gaffe in Super Bowl 49, but they’ve got some company, at least. The Packers — Rodgers, first-year head coach Matt LaFleur or some combination of the two — dialed up a pass from three yards out on second-and-goal immediately after Jones picked up four yards on the ground. Rodgers went after little-used cornerback Craig James (he started the week on the practice squad), who batted the pass into the hands of linebacker Nigel Bradham to end the game.

THIS NUMBER

86.3 — The Packers have struggled to get their run game going since gashing the Minnesota Vikings for 144 rushing yards in Week 2. Rodgers was their leading rusher Thursday with 46 yards on five attempts, as Aaron Jones averaged just 1.6 yards per carry and Jamaal Williams exited following an alarming hit in the first quarter. They’re now averaging just 86.3 rushing yards per game, just under 23 yards below the league average through four games.

THEY SAID IT

“Every time we ran the ball, it felt like we were in long-yardage situations.” — head coach Matt LaFleur.

“I really don’t know what pass interference is anymore. I’ll just leave it at that.” — LaFleur.

“Obviously, having him out there would have been for the better, but we had a lot of chances down the stretch.” — Quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Davante Adams.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Packers missed out on a chance to extend their lead atop the NFC North. Now 3-1, they’ll be joined by either the Vikings or Chicago Bears by the end of the weekend, while the Detroit Lions now lead the division at 2-0-1. And while the Kansas City Chiefs are heavily favored, an improbable win for the Lions would muddle the situation even further. Things don’t get any easier in Week 5, when the Packers visit a Dallas Cowboys squad that has the firepower to overwhelm Green Bay on offense.