GREEN BAY — Everyone knew the game plan was going to have to be unorthodox for the Packers’ offense against Chicago on Thursday night.
You don’t lose your top two running backs and just do what you’ve always done. To succeed, the Packers’ offense needed its receivers to step up and playmakers to emerge.
The spark Green Bay needed came in the form of Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery, who combined for 374 total yards in a dominating 26-10 win over the Bears in front of 78,217 at Lambeau Field.
In fact, the Packers became just the second team in NFL history to feature three players with 10-plus catches in a game. New England previously accomplished it back in 1994 with Leroy Thompson, Ben Coates and Michael Timpson.
Minutes after the game ended, Adams was asked in the locker room what it meant to the offense to get that much production from three different receivers.
It wasn’t until that moment the third-year receiver even realized what the Packers had accomplished on Thursday night.
“That happened? Wow,” Adams asked. “It shows that there might be times where we might be in the dumps a little bit from a completion percentage standpoint and things like that, and there’s going to be times where Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers, and we’re running routes and getting open. It says a lot about him to be able to get the ball to us consistently like that.”
Adams and the rest of the Packers’ offense were coming off a frustrating performance in Sunday’s 30-16 loss against Dallas, but they pulled together after losing Lacy and Starks.
Adams responded with an historic performance of 13 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Packers’ offense, which nearly doubled Chicago in total plays (81-45) and time of possessions (39:36-20:24).
Still, it wasn’t until a late conversation with receivers coach Luke Getsy in the final minute of the game that Adams grasped how special his day was.
It turned out to be the most receptions a Packers receiver had recorded in a single game since Don Hutson nabbed 14 passes against the New York Giants on Nov. 22, 1942.
Adams was questionable to play against the Bears due to a concussion he sustained on Sunday against Dallas, but he passed through the protocol earlier in the day.
“It was, in a sense, a statement game,” said Adams, who entered the game with 15 catches on the season. “I’m ready to play. I felt good, especially coming off of getting hit last week, to show my teammates more than anything, my teammates and the coaches.
“I just try to make sure I continue to prove to all of them I’m worthy of being out there catching balls from Aaron Rodgers.”
At the same time, Montgomery and Cobb picked up the weight of the backfield with Montgomery carrying the ball nine times for 60 yards and Cobb another five attempts for 21.
The Packers had two running backs available in Knile Davis and Don Jackson, but Davis was first acquired in a trade from Kansas City on Tuesday and Jackson wasn’t promoted from the practice squad until Thursday.
So it was on Montgomery and Cobb to make an impact and they certainly did in combining for 21 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown in addition to their backfield contributions.
It was exactly what Head Coach Mike McCarthy wanted to see after saying the offense needed to get the ball in the hands of Montgomery and Cobb more going forward.
“We have lots of guys that can make big plays at any point in time,” said Montgomery, who had 10 receptions for the second consecutive game.
“We’re battling some adversity right now, but good things bloom out of adversity. Adversity is just a chance to see what you got.”
The Packers’ offense was unstoppable for most of the second half behind the trio of receivers, who produced 227 total yards in the second half alone.
It began after Chicago took a 10-6 lead after recovering a fumble for a touchdown. Green Bay responded with touchdowns on each of its next three possessions, including back-to-back touchdowns from Adams to end lengthy series.
Green Bay essentially sealed the victory when Rodgers hit Cobb for a 2-yard touchdown pass to end a 13-play, 74-yard drive with 5 minutes, 35 seconds remaining.
“Every game’s different. Every game is going to go a different way,” said Cobb, who caught his second touchdown of the season. “You use the strengths that you have. Unfortunately we didn’t have Eddie out there and Starks out there and Knile just got here. Don just came up off practice squad.
“It makes it difficult but you have to use what you have and we were blessed enough to have receivers make plays tonight at some different positions.”
If the Packers have learned anything over the past week, it’s that it can count on Montgomery and Cobb to shoulder the load in the backfield while Davis gets up to speed on the offense.
In the process, the Packers appear to have found a valuable weapon in Montgomery, who has developed into a Swiss-army knife for the offense over the last two games.
Montgomery’s production was critical for the offensive rhythm. After registering only nine yards on three carries in the first half, Montgomery rushed for 52 yards on five in the final two quarters.
“It’s hard to explain because he can do so many things for you where you can’t really label him at a position,” Adams said. “He can be right there. He’s patient running the ball. He looks natural back there. … Ty is just another piece to this puzzle.”
With a long weekend to rest, the Packers’ receivers hope to use Thursday night’s performance to propel them forward.
“When we’re able to hit on all cylinders like that and have a bunch of guys producing and a bunch of guys making plays, it definitely makes it hard to stop,” Cobb said.
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