PHILADELPHIA — Davante Adams knew the ball was coming, but all the Packers receiver saw when he looked up was the lights of Lincoln Financial Field staring back at him.
Blinded, but not baffled, Adams stayed on his route – a step ahead of his defender – with complete confidence that his quarterback put the ball where it needed to be.
Then, it appeared out of the flash and into Adams’ hands for a 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter of Green Bay’s eventual 27-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night.
It was a critical moment in a critical time of a critical game for the Packers, who snapped a four-game losing streak with their most offensively efficient game of season.
With a lethally accurate Aaron Rodgers steering the ship, the Packers’ offense dominated the time-of-possession battle (35:23-24:37) and converted a whopping 10-of-14 third downs.
It started with Adams catching two touchdown passes in the first 15 minutes, 7 seconds of the game, giving Green Bay a lead it wouldn’t look back from.
“That’s what he does,” said Adams of Rodgers. “He saw me. I kind of didn’t see the ball at first because the lights are (intense) in there. It fell out of the lights at the last second, I knew I had to get the feet down and I was able to do that.”
Adams, who also caught the first touchdown of the game off a 12-yard slant, finished with five catches for 113 yards to register his fourth 100-yard performance of the season.
If that wasn’t enough, the third-year receiver pulled down another jaw-dropping reception from Rodgers in the third quarter with a 50-yard catch that was the longest of the day.
Nelson called it “probably one of the most difficult catches a receiver could ever make,” and yet another reminder of how well Adams has played this season.
“I think we can get rid of the how important it is for him – he’s out here making plays every week,” said Nelson of Adams. “He’s a playmaker. He’s growing each and every week. The confidence between him and Aaron is growing big-time. The more guys we can have out there each week making plays, the better.”
While Adams helped the offense get on the board early, Nelson made two critical catches in the fourth quarter to eliminate any hope of an Eagles comeback.
He first caught a 22-yard pass in the middle of the field from Rodgers with 5:45 remaining to convert a third-and-12 situation, extending a 17-play, 78-yard series that ate 8:21 off the clock and ended in a Mason Crosby 32-yard field goal.
Then, Nelson made a toe-touching grab near the sideline for 21 yards to convert a fourth-and-5 with 3:03 remaining. He finished with a team-high eight catches for 91 yards.
“Jordy had a couple huge catches on that last drive,” Adams said. “That’s the type of thing we can do and should do. We need those and Jordy stepped up big at the end of the game. Obviously Aaron was a little banged up. That’s big and that’s the type of things I expect from Jordy and Randall (Cobb) because that’s the type of thing they’ve done around here for a long time.”
The Packers’ final two meaningful drives took nearly a full quarter off the clock (14:49), providing a reminder for the offense of what it’s capable of when hitting on all cylinders.
The offense had only six meaningful series, but made each one count. In scoring back-to-back touchdowns to start Monday’s game, the Packers established the fast start they were looking for after going three-and-out on the first three series against Washington a week ago.
Afterward, Rodgers praised an offensive line playing without veteran cog T.J. Lang for giving him the necessary time (zero sacks) to get the offense into rhythm.
That was never more evident than in the final quarter. After making enough plays to build a two-score cushion, the Packers’ offense wanted to finish the job.
“Knowing we had to have it and knowing that this opportunity, if we could take ahold of it, we remember it and it would kind of put a stamp on the game,” center Corey Linsley said. “We wanted to put our stamp on it as an offense and I think we did that.”
Adams and Nelson are realistic. It’s just one win and the Packers (5-6) will need several more to make a playoff run in December. Still, it’s the start Green Bay needs to get on a run.
“It feels great. It’s what we’re used to doing around here,” Adams said. “We just need to take this, snowball it over into the next week and then the next week after that. The rest of this season is really crucial and we know that. We have all the tools and everything right in front of us.”
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