GREEN BAY – It’s tough to keep the Packers offense down for long. Green Bay’s track record with Aaron Rodgers proves it.
Over the previous four seasons (2011-14) with Rodgers under center, the Packers were held under 20 points in a game seven times. Not surprisingly, all seven of those games were on the road.
The week immediately after those games, home or away, the Packers averaged 29.4 points per contest, and they scored 31 or more in five out of seven instances.
That’s a pretty solid history of bouncing back offensively, which the Packers must do this week against St. Louis after being held to 17 points in San Francisco a week ago.
“I just think it’s the way we work in practice and how we push each other,” veteran receiver James Jones said. “When we come off a bad game and we feel like we left a lot of plays out there, the next week in practice we usually come in and everybody is focused and determined to fix those things that we messed up on, and we go out that next week and have a pretty good game.
“Hopefully we do that this week. Tough defense, a lot of talented players over there.”
It all starts with Rodgers, of course, whose passer rating in a bounce-back game was less than 108 just one of the seven aforementioned times. Two of the best games of his career came under these circumstances as well.
Coming off the lone regular-season loss in 2011, a 19-14 setback in Kansas City, Rodgers threw for five touchdowns and a 142.7 rating vs. the Bears. Last year, after the 19-7 stinker in Detroit in Week 3, he passed for four TDs and a 151.2 rating in Chicago. Remember? That was the famous “R-E-L-A-X” game.
No one has needed to calm anyone down this year with the Packers 4-0 and the defense off to a rousing start. Green Bay’s offensive players weren’t thrilled after last week’s game, but they gave the 49ers credit. San Francisco got steady pressure on Rodgers with a four-man rush, rarely needing to blitz, which kept seven defenders in pass coverage, including two deep safeties.
St. Louis will likely employ a similar strategy this week, and the Rams have a better defensive line than the 49ers do.
Green Bay’s biggest counter last week was the running game, which racked up 162 yards and 4.9 yards per carry. The Packers decidedly won time of possession (36:34 to 23:26) despite not scoring a ton of points or gashing San Francisco for big plays.
“I think it was a win that we needed,” Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton said. “It builds that character. We know that we can go get a tough win like that on the road. When you can learn from that and carry that on, I think it’s good. It’s good to see we can win in all sorts of fashions.”
Indeed it is, and there’s no reason to believe the Packers can’t win that way again this year, or even this week.
It’s just hard to picture the Packers’ offense being held in check like that two weeks in a row, particularly with this week’s game at home, even against a defense as stout as the Rams’.
With Rodgers at QB, the Packers haven’t scored less than 20 points in two straight games since his first year as a starter, in 2008. Rodgers’ last sub-20-point game at Lambeau Field was back in the 2010 regular-season finale.
Another bounce back is a good bet.
“I think that’s just a mentality we have as an offense,” receiver Randall Cobb said. “We always want to go out there and put up a lot of points and have a great performance from everyone, but that doesn’t happen week in and week out.
“I think it’s just a driving force for our offense and our identity of who we are.”
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