Monday, October 29, 2018

Davante Adams Shines for Green Bay

By Eric Goska
Win, lose or draw, Davante Adams continues to shine for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers came up short for a third time this season, falling 29-27 to the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum Sunday. Had Green Bay not fumbled away the football in the closing minutes, it might have become the first team to defeat the Rams (8-0) this season.

Take away that turnover and Adams would likely have returned to the field for one last push. It’s hard to imagine the fifth-year receiver out of Fresno State not contributing in some important manner on what could have been a sweet finish for the underdogs from Wisconsin.

While the Packers (3-3-1) continue to frustrate, Adams excels. Ten months removed from having signed a lucrative $58-million dollar, four-year contract extension, Adams is more than holding up his end of the deal.

Adams grabbed five passes for 133 yards in Los Angeles. Though he did not reach the end zone, three of his catches stretched for 20 or more yards and four moved the chains.

His first grab, a 48-yarder down the sideline, set up Green Bay’s first touchdown, a 1-yard plunge by running back Jamaal Williams. His second catch, a 9-yarder, was the first play of a drive capped by Mason Crosby’s 53-yard field goal early in the second half.

Adams’ third effort, a 41-yard, middle of the field jumper, set up running back Aaron Jones’ 33-yard scoring run. His final two receptions of 15 and 20 yards combined to carry past midfield from where Aaron Rodgers found Marques Valdes-Scantling on a 40-yard scoring toss to forge a 27-26 Packers’ lead with eight minutes, 50 seconds left.

Green Bay, of course, couldn’t maintain that edge. Greg Zuerlein knocked through a 34-yard field goal to send the Rams in front 29-27 with 2:05 to go.

Still, with that much time and needing only a field goal, the Packer were very much alive. They were, that is, until Ty Montgomery chose to return rather than down the subsequent kickoff in the end zone, a decision that resulted in the game’s only turnover.

From there, the Rams ran out the clock while the Packers’ most productive receiver remained on the sidelines.
How productive is Adams? He’s on pace for a career year. He leads the Green and Gold with 52 receptions for 690 yards and six touchdowns.

Those 52 catches are the most by a Packer in the first seven games of a season. Sterling Sharpe, with 50 in 1993, had held the record.

Adams has snagged 5, 8, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 5 passes. He’s led the team in every game except the opener in which Randall Cobb had nine.

Pick a receiving category and Adams is likely at the top. He’s No. 1 in targets (78), 20-yard receptions (9) and receiving first downs (29).

Projected over 16 games, Adams' numbers swell to 119 catches for 1,577 yards. Both totals would be team records.

Adams has been particularly busy in October. He amassed more than 125 yards receiving in each of the last three games.

James Lofton is the only other Packer to have hit or exceeded 125 in three straight games in the same season. He did so in 1984.

Adams’ output this season is not only impressive, it also highlights how his career has progressed. His seven-game totals in his first four seasons were: 2014 (17-188-2), 2015 (30-308-0), 2016 (40-424-5) and 2017 (30-351-5).
No. 17 has now played in 66 regular-season games for Green Bay. In that time, he has caught 289 passes.

Only two other Packers accumulated more in their first 66 games: Cobb (297) and Sharpe (294).

For Adams, who won’t turn 26 until Christmas Eve, the future is as bright as the California sun. Expect the Packers to continue to lean on him as they battle for an opportunity to play in January.

Seven Inning Stretches
Packers players with the most receptions in their first seven games of a season.

No.      Player                      Year      Yards          Avg.    TD
52        Davante Adams         2018          690         13.27       6
50        Sterling Sharpe          1993          564         11.28       7
47        Don Hutson               1942          915         19.47     13
47        Jordy Nelson             2014          712         15.15       6
44        Don Hutson               1944          632         14.36       5
44        Sterling Sharpe          1992          662         15.05       5
42        Sterling Sharpe          1994          462         11.00       5
42        Edgar Bennett            1994          266           6.33       1
42        Greg Jennings            2011          677         16.12       5

Route 66
Packers with 250 or more receptions after their first 66 regular-season games.

No.      Player                      Years
297      Randall Cobb            2011-2015
294      Sterling Sharpe          1988-1992
289      Davante Adams         2014-2018
288      Antonio Freeman       1995-1999
272      Greg Jennings            2006-2010
262      Bill Howton               1952-1957
253      Ahman Green            2000-2004
250      James Lofton             1978-1982

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