Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings may well have been joking this summer, when he made remarks about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his leadership that became a persistent storyline through the preseason.
But the one thing he did for certain was get Rodgers’ attention, which didn’t help his new team.
Rodgers was surgical in last night’s 44-31 win over the Vikings, and said he had put that pressure on himself.
“I wasn’t going to let this team beat us,” Rodgers said. “I wanted to make sure I put myself and our team in a position to be successful. A lot was on my shoulders. I wanted to make sure I got us in good runs and our team responded really well. This was a great team win.
“We all have our roles but I wanted to make sure that my role was one I executed really well.”
Yeah, you could say that worked. Even without three of his top receiving targets (Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley), he was nearly perfect, completing 24-of-29 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Coupled with a strong running game, the Packers never punted, as they won their fourth straight game.
He doesn’t get all the credit for the brilliance, but they were also a combined 15-of-20 on third- and fourth-down conversions for the night, the reason they kept the ball for more than two-thirds of the clock time (40:54).
“I think this is really shaping up to be one of Aaron’s best years,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Aaron’s had a lot of challenges Monday through Saturday that don’t show up on a stat sheet. Just the change, just trying to get on the same page with younger players, trusting the game plan. Because when you are as productive as we’ve been, there was such a comfort with our no-huddle and just we really felt like we were really rolling on all cylinders.
“Now, we’ve kind of had to go in a different direction. He has to command it, and this thing obviously wouldn’t work without him.”
And with him, it worked almost perfectly.