GREEN BAY, Wis. – The legend of Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams continues to grow.
It grew this season with 109 receptions and 17 touchdowns with one game remaining.
It grew on Sunday with 11 catches in 12 targets for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
It grew late in the game with a remarkable all-hands catch on a deep ball by Aaron Rodgers.
And it grew postgame, as Rodgers shared his poignant Christmas thoughts on his star receiver.
“I wrote him a real long message and just let him know how important he is to me and how much I value his friendship and I appreciate the way that he inspires me and our team,” Rodgers said after the Packers dismantled the Titans 40-14 on Sunday night. “I just can’t say enough great things about the kind of person he is. And when you have the talent and the ability to go out there and dominate the way he has …
Adams is having a staggeringly great season. To be sure, the game has changed over the years so comparing receivers in different eras becomes an apples-to-oranges exercise. Nonetheless, Adams will go into next week’s regular-season finale at Chicago needing four receptions to break Sterling Sharpe’s franchise-record 112 set in 1993.
Not only would one touchdown tie Sharpe’s record set in 1994 but it would tie Sharpe and Mark Clayton for third-most in NFL history. If he were to score two touchdowns, he’d trail only Hall of Famers Randy Moss (23 in 2007) and Jerry Rice (22 in 12 games in 1987).
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Adams’ 102.2 yards per game trails only the immortal Don Hutson (110.1 in 1942) and Billy Howton (102.6 in 1952) in franchise history.
Adams has caught 76.2 percent of targeted passes, blowing away his previous career-best 65.7 percent in 2018. That shows Adams’ production isn’t solely built on the volume of opportunities.
In last week’s narrow victory over Carolina, the Panthers made it a point to take Adams out of the game. It worked. The Titans made no such efforts and paid the price.
For the fifth time this season, Adams recorded 10-plus catches for 120-plus yards and at least one touchdown. That’s the most in NFL history.
“I get a lot less doubles when we start playing against good teams like this because they say, ‘Hey, just go out there and cover this guy, man. Just cover him,’” Adams said. “Other than the third touchdown, they didn’t double a whole lot. We definitely wanted to kind of have a full 180 from last week as far as the involvement. Obviously, there were a lot of conversations had in our building. You can’t come out talking about getting more opportunities and not come through.”
Adams tallied his seventh 100-yard game of the season. He needed two big catches late in the game to get it done. On the first, he caught a pass in the flat, slipped a tackle and raced down the sideline for 27 yards. Two plays later, on third-and-10, Rodgers threw deep to Adams. Malcolm Butler was in good position but a perfect pass from an MVP quarterback to arguably the best receiver in the NFL is unstoppable. The 32-yard gain set up AJ Dillon’s second touchdown and closed the scoring.
“We had a draw called actually with the option to get to a pass, and I just kind of alerted a slightly different adjustment on that one,” Rodgers said. “Just wanted to take a shot with Davante. I figured they were going to either play super-soft or heat us up big time; I didn’t think there was going to be anything in between. Based on the pre-snap I could tell there was something coming. I just tried to get the ball up early to Davante. He had a good corner on him and he made a spectacular catch. It’s a spectacular catch in September, but we’re talking about Dec. 27 in this type of weather, the cold, ball’s slick. He’s a special, special player.”
With 540 receptions, Adams passed Hall of Famer James Lofton (530) for No. 4 on the Packers’ all-time list. Up next is Jordy Nelson with 550. He also extended his Sunday night touchdown streak to a record nine games.
Rodgers and Adams have connected 491 times. That breaks the franchise record of 486 completions from Brett Favre to Donald Driver.
“I came in playing with two Pro Bowlers, two guys who taught me a lot, had a lot to do with the player I am today, the man I am today, if we’re being real,” Adams said of Nelson and Randall Cobb. “I just told Aaron this the other day, but I feel like being around him the past seven years has definitely allowed me to really know what being a true competitor is. Being with that guy, it’s allowed me to know what true greatness is.”