GREEN BAY, Wis. – Davante Adams’ connection with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday?
“It was good,” Adams said.
That’s one word for it.
Rodgers threw for 344 yards. Adams accounted for 206 of them on 11 receptions, providing vital production as the Green Bay Packers escaped Cincinnati with a 25-22 overtime victory against the Bengals.
“I think we left a couple of them out there but, obviously, we had a pretty productive day clicking up with each other,” Adams said. “Got some good 1-on-1 opps. I was doubled a decent amount of the day again, but I feel like it’s a credit to Matt (LaFleur) and ‘12’ for coming up with some plays to still get me some opportunities down the field.”
It was the first 200-yard day of Adams’ career and only the eighth in the long history of the franchise. The 206 yards matched James Lofton for fourth on the team’s all-time list. Had Rodgers and Adams connected for what might have been the winning touchdown late in regulation, Adams would have finished with 224 yards. That would have trailed only Billy Howton’s 257 yards against the Rams in 1956.
Adams said he saw it coming.
“I told at least three people outside the building, talking to family, one of my cousins, talking to my wife, I told her, ‘I feel like this could be my career high this game,’” he said. “So, either I’m clairvoyant or I know what I’m talking about.”
It was the first 200-yard day of the NFL season.
“He’s just so talented,” Rodgers said. “Even when you know that I’m probably going to him, he still finds a way to get open and makes a big catch and breaks a tackle. The guy is a special player.”
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Adams had six receptions for 117 yards by halftime but saved his best for last. Early in the fourth quarter, he split a double team by the Bengals’ best defensive backs, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and safety Jessie Bates, for a 59-yard gain. One stutter-step by Adams was all that was required to get behind both players.
Then, with 21 seconds remaining and no timeouts, the Packers needed about 15 or 20 yards to get into range for a potential game-winning field goal. Adams delivered, catching a pass over the middle and breaking a tackle to pick up an additional 7 yards for a gain of 20.
Those plays should have been enough to get the Packers the win in regulation but they managed only a field goal after the deep catch and missed a last-play field goal. Nonetheless, the Packers earned their fourth consecutive victory.
“I could feel him early and I could tell,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “He’s a guy who’s hungry for the football and he shows good reason why. He’s got people draped all over him and it doesn’t matter. He finds a way to do it every time. There’s a reason he’s got that ‘99’ rating in Madden. He is a baller. I don’t think there’s anybody better than him.”
Since the start of the 2020 season, Adams has a league-leading seven games of 10-plus receptions. For those who believe the Packers are too dependent on Adams, it’s worth noting they are 7-0 in those games. He also extended his streak to 17 consecutive games with at least five receptions. Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley is a distant second with 11 and only three other players have a streak of at least six games.
Adams is moving on up the Packers’ all-time receiving lists. With 588 receptions, he’s only seven behind Sterling Sharpe for second. He blew past Boyd Dowler and into sixth place with 7,147 receiving yards. And his second-quarter touchdown was the 64th of his career, one behind Sharpe for third and five behind Jordy Nelson for second. (Donald Driver has the records with 743 receptions for 10,137 yards; Don Hutson has the record with 99 touchdowns.)
“He’s just a problem out there,” running back Aaron Jones said. “It’s going to be hard to stop him with one man or two people just the way he works, the way he gets open; his understanding of the game and how him and A-Rod are on point, on key 24/7. That’s going to be tough.”
Adams is in his final season under contract. With league-leading totals of 42 receptions for 579 yards putting him on pace for 143 receptions for 1,969 yards – numbers that would obliterate the franchise records of 115 receptions (Adams last year) and 1,519 yards (by Nelson in 2014) – he’s not losing any money.
That’s a matter for another day, though.
“I’m just catching balls now and just having fun,” he said. “I’m not really thinking about that. That’s not really my main focus when I’m out there.”