GREEN BAY – Richard Rodgers insists it could be any of the Packers’ receivers called upon to make a key play, and he’s right.
It just seems the second-year tight end is slowly but surely getting his number called more often when it really matters.
Rodgers caught the go-ahead touchdown from his namesake on Sunday night, a 5-yard strike to the left edge of the end zone in the fourth quarter. He then added an important two-point conversion in the Packers’ 27-17 victory over the Seahawks at Lambeau Field.
The key TD was classic Aaron Rodgers. Finishing off a 10-play drive that was both rhythmic and improvisational at times, the Packers QB scooted a little to his left before letting one rip right between the 8 and 2 on his tight end’s relatively new jersey.
“Basically just get open,” the tight end said of his job once he sees his QB start to move out of the pocket. “The defensive back had his back to Aaron. He can’t see him and I know where Aaron is going, so it’s pretty easy to make that move and get open.”
The score put Green Bay ahead 22-17 and, in going for two on the next snap, the Packers went back to a Rodgers-to-Rodgers quick flip over the middle against All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner that didn’t work at the end of the first half.
The misfire forced the Packers to kick a field goal as the second quarter wrapped up, but the re-do worked perfectly, with Rodgers beating Wagner for the diving catch, even as Wagner interfered with him.
“We got the plays in fast and we were going fast,” the tight end said of the impressive go-ahead drive, which came after the Packers only had two field goals to show for their previous six possessions. The Packers went without a running back and spread the Seahawks out, moving a receiver into the backfield here and there. “Aaron was calling plays in we got on a little bit of a roll there.”
The younger Rodgers was also right in the middle of a mini-melee on Green Bay’s next possession. One play after Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw an interception, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright got into it with Rodgers and was ejected for ripping off his opponent’s helmet by the facemask.
“Tempers just flared and he happened to get kicked out,” Rodgers said, declining to discuss the incident any further.
Both teams were called for personal fouls, with Packers guard T.J. Lang getting a flag for inserting himself into the ruckus. The Packers then drove for a field goal for the game’s final points.
“We knew that’s how they play. They play on the edge,” Lang said.
“I saw Richard go down and I saw his head getting pinned back and pushed into the ground. I’m not just going to stand there and watch it happen. I didn’t think I did anything to deserve a penalty, but that’s just what I do, man. I probably watch too much hockey. I’m a loyal guy. I try to help my teammates out.”
The Packers needed a lot of help across the board in this one, as Don Barclay filled in for an injured Bryan Bulaga at right tackle to start the game, and then more injuries struck.
James Starks (20 carries, 95 yards) handled the rushing load for Eddie Lacy after Lacy left the game in the first half with an ankle injury, and rookie receiver Ty Montgomery recorded his first pro receptions (four for 37 yards), getting some snaps while Davante Adams left the game for a stretch with an ankle injury. Montgomery also drew a valuable 52-yard pass interference penalty that led to the field goal as the first half concluded. Adams later returned to the game.
“Everyone stepped up and did their job, and that’s what it takes to win these big games,” Barclay said.
How big was it? It didn’t make up for the NFC title game loss eight months ago, but there was some measure of satisfaction in beating the two-time defending NFC champs after three straight losses to them dating back to 2012.
“It feels good,” Lang said. “It doesn’t count for anything more than a win, but it is probably one of the more satisfying regular-season wins that we’ve had, just to get that monkey off our back of not being able to beat these guys.
“We’re going to enjoy it for a couple days and get ready to move on to Kansas City.”
Click here for more Packers-Seahawks coverage