Randall Cobb must like the bright lights.
The rookie receiver and return man brought back a punt 80 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into Monday night’s 45-7 victory over the Vikings, giving him two return TDs on the season.
The other was a 108-yard kickoff return for a score in the Thursday night season-opener against the Saints.
“He’s a playmaker,” fellow receiver Jordy Nelson said. “Apparently we need to play prime-time games for him more often.”
Cobb became the first Packers player to return both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same season since Roell Preston in 1998, and he became the first rookie to do so in franchise history.
He appeared to go untouched on his big return Monday night, making one cut through an opening in the middle of the field just as a potential tackler slid wildly to the turf in front of him.
“The guys gave me room to work and be able to see the field a little bit,” Cobb said. “Once I saw the opening, I just hit it as hard as I could, and once I got through I just put my head down and wouldn’t let anybody catch me.”
The ups and downs of Cobb’s rookie year continued, though, when he muffed a punt in the third quarter. The Vikings recovered on the Green Bay 14-yard line to set up their only score of the game.
That was the third turnover for Cobb this season, but much like after his last one – also against the Vikings – he bounced back right away with another big return. Three weeks ago at the Metrodome he posted a 42-yard punt return following a fumble, and this time right after Minnesota scored he took the ensuing kickoff back 55 yards to midfield.
“I was (ticked) off,” Cobb said. “I went out there and I ran (ticked) off. I was anxious to get back out there and just try to make something happen.”
Cobb also caught three passes for 36 yards on offense, his first game with three catches.
Twice is nice: Nelson enjoyed his first career two-score game, catching TD passes of 17 and four yards in the second half. On the 17-yarder, he stiff-armed cornerback Cedric Griffin along the sideline and impressively fought his way into the end zone.
“Got lucky and fortunate,” Nelson said of scoring twice, a rarity on an offense with so many weapons. “You don’t ever know when it’s going to be your game, your week. This week it was mine. Next week, who knows?”
With 63 receiving yards in the game, Nelson now has 633 on the season, already surpassing his previous career high of 582 set last year.
Closing in: With 36 receiving yards on Monday, Donald Driver now needs just seven yards to reach 10,000 yards from scrimmage in his career.
His total of 9,993 yards (9,776 receiving, 217 rushing) ranks second in team history to Ahman Green’s 11,048 yards from scrimmage (8,322 rushing, 2,726 receiving).
Mind-boggling numbers: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on a history-making pace in so many categories it’s hard to keep track.
With four TD passes Monday night, Rodgers has thrown for at least two TDs in all nine games this season, a franchise-record streak. He beat the eight-game streak of Brett Favre’s from 1994.
Rodgers’ 140.3 passer rating was his third straight game above 140, making him just the second quarterback in league history to have three straight games with a 140-plus rating in the same season. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was the other, in 1999. Rodgers’ rating has been above 110 in every game this season, an unprecedented nine-game streak.
Also, Rodgers’ 2,869 passing yards and 28 TDs are the most in team history through nine games of any season. The yardage dwarfs Lynn Dickey’s 1983 nine-game total by 193 yards (2,676), or more than 20 yards per game.
Injury update: There were no injuries of significance reported after the game. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said defensive lineman Ryan Pickett banged his knee at one point but returned to the game. Additional coverage - Packers vs. Vikings