By Eric Goska
|(screenshot from NFL Game Pass)|
If two of the greatest talents in the game make history and no one documents it at the time it occurs, does that diminish the accomplishment?
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams added yet another impressive entry to their considerable resumes as the Packers toppled the Tennessee Titans 40-14 in prime time. That the two are not finished means they will continue to put distance between themselves and those who came before.
Lambeau Field resembled a snow globe Sunday night as Green Bay improved to 12-3. Fluffy white flakes tend to bring out the best in the team that calls the Frozen Tundra home.
Certainly Adams and Rodgers operated at a high level. The two combined 11 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
The duo clicked for the game’s first points with just over five minutes elapsed in the first quarter. Adams gathered in a throw from Rodgers behind the line of scrimmage and, when tripped up by cornerback Adoree’ Jackson at the Tennessee 4, launched himself across the goal line.
The two struck paydirt again early in the second and third quarters. The third tally loomed large as it shifted momentum back to Green Bay which went up 26-14.
The trio of scoring plays was replayed and celebrated. The history-making connection between these two passed with no mention of its significance.
The overlooked moment came on the final play of the first half. Aside from it factoring into the career pitch count between Rodgers and Adams, the play could scarcely have been more nondescript.
On first-and-10 from the Green Bay 35, Rodgers dropped back and fired a quick out to Adams. Cornerback Malcolm Butler tackled the receiver in the playing field after a 6-yard gain, and the clock ran out.
The catch was the 487th in the regular season between Rodgers and Adams. With it, the two became the No. 1 quarterback-receiving duo in team annals surpassing the combo of Brett Favre and Donald Driver.
For the record, Adams and Rodgers have now collaborated 492 times for 5,960 yards and 56 touchdowns. Favre and Driver teamed up 486 times for 6,774 yards and 36 scores.
Rodgers and Adams have played in 92 games together. Driver and Favre played in 129.
“We all know that Aaron Rodgers is playing chess, not checkers, right?” game analyst Cris Collinsworth asked rhetorically after Adams snagged his final catch of the night, a 32-yarder on third down that set up Green Bay’s last touchdown. “And you need a mate to do that with. You need somebody that has your level of understanding of the game of football, and we know how smart a football player that Davante Adams is. And the combination of those two together has really turned into something special.”
That’s special with a Superman-like S.
Formed six years ago, the Adams-Rodgers partnership has been nearly unstoppable these past three seasons. After producing 190 catches and 21 TDs from 2014 through 2017, the alliance has accounted for 302 receptions and 35 scores since 2018.
That three-season run ranks among the best in team history. Favre and Sterling Sharpe churned out 300 receptions and 41 TDs from 1992-94.
Rodgers and Adams have removed the novelty that used to accompany double-digit collaborations. They have teamed up 10 or more times in a game on 13 occasions, and that includes five times this season alone.
Packers duos of the past never attained such heights. Favre and Driver hit double digits six times. Favre and Sharpe clocked in with five.
This season, Adams and Rodgers have hooked up 109 times for 1,328 yards and 17 TDs. Impressive numbers, yes, and close to the best in team history.
For now, Favre and Sharpe hold the top spot for receptions (112 in 1993) and touchdowns (18 in 1994), but both marks could fall when Green Bay visits Soldier Field. Less likely to tumble is the 1,519 yards Rodgers and Jordy Nelson combined for in 2014.
Rodgers and Adams can go after another Rodgers-Nelson record, however. They need three more first downs to eclipse the 71 manufactured by Aaron and Jordy six years ago.
That Rodgers and Adams have excelled to this extent this season becomes more remarkable when considering Adams missed two games with an ankle injury. No. 17 did not play in wins over the Saints and Falcons.
And it is injuries, maybe more so than any defense, that have held back this dynamic duo. Rodgers missed nine games in 2017 with a broken collarbone. Adams has only twice (2014, 2016) played all 16 games in a season.
How much longer these two can continue to create magic remains to be seen. Adams turned 28 on Christmas Eve. Rodgers celebrated birthday No. 37 on Dec. 2.
Whatever sand remains in the hourglass, enjoy. Enjoy these two gifted athletes – Rodgers and Adams – so in synch as to be operating almost as one.
Pitchers and CatchersGreen Bay QB-receiver duos that clicked 300 or more times in the regular season.
Tandem No. Yards Avg. LG TD G
Rodgers to Davante Adams 492 5,960 12.11 t66 56 92
Favre to Donald Driver 486 6,774 13.94 t85 36 129
Rodgers to Jordy Nelson 469 6,919 14.75 t93 65 119
Rodgers to Randall Cobb 429 5,092 11.87 t75 39 96
Favre to Antonio Freeman 426 6,589 15.47 t84 57 116
Favre to Ahman Green 340 2,654 7.81 48 14 96
Starr to Boyd Dowler 336 5,151 15.33 t91 28 145
Dickey to James Lofton 325 6,337 19.50 t80 32 86
Rodgers to Greg Jennings 324 4,980 15.37 t86 38 72
Favre to William Henderson 305 2,309 7.57 t38 13 188
Favre to Sterling Sharpe 300 3,696 12.32 t76 41 47