Packers offense explodes at U.S. Bank Stadium to open 2020 season

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Green Bay Packers had three points in the first quarter and just eight points midway through the second quarter, but once the offense clicked during Sunday’s season opener, the whole operation clicked in a major way.” data-reactid=”13″>The Green Bay Packers had three points in the first quarter and just eight points midway through the second quarter, but once the offense clicked during Sunday’s season opener, the whole operation clicked in a major way.

The Packers scored 43 points and gained 522 total yards, both the most under second-year coach Matt LaFleur, and punted just once during the dominant overall performance at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Packers could have scored 50 or more. LaFleur’s team kicked two field goals and turned the ball over on downs during their first three trips into the red zone.

Mike Zimmer and the Vikings just couldn’t find an answer. The Packers picked up 31 first downs, ran 76 plays and controlled the ball for over 41 minutes.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surgical, completing 32 passes for 364 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer rating was 127.5. Sunday marked just the sixth time that Rodgers has finished a game with at least 350 passing yards, four or more touchdown passes and a passer rating of 125.0 or better.” data-reactid=”21″>Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surgical, completing 32 passes for 364 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer rating was 127.5. Sunday marked just the sixth time that Rodgers has finished a game with at least 350 passing yards, four or more touchdown passes and a passer rating of 125.0 or better.

The numbers were great, but the performance might have been better than the statistics. Rodgers looked fully in command, throwing accurately and decisively to all parts of the field while still throwing in some of his creative flair on extended plays. He also drew the Vikings offsides at least three different times, using the empty U.S. Bank Stadium to his advantage.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rodgers completed passes to seven different receivers, but his main target was Davante Adams.” data-reactid=”23″>Rodgers completed passes to seven different receivers, but his main target was Davante Adams.

The three-time Pro Bowl receiver caught a career-high 14 passes, tying a team record. He was on the receiving end of two of Rodgers’ four touchdown passes, including a 28-yard strike late in the first half.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Tyler Ervin combined for 35 touches, 166 total yards and a touchdown. The Packers run game had 32 attempts and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.” data-reactid=”25″>Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Tyler Ervin combined for 35 touches, 166 total yards and a touchdown. The Packers run game had 32 attempts and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Marquez Valdes-Scantling had two big drops but also four catches for 96 yards and a 45-yard score. Allen Lazard had four catches for 63 yards, including two conversion on third down and a decisive score in the fourth quarter, and he also had a 19-yard run.” data-reactid=”26″>Marquez Valdes-Scantling had two big drops but also four catches for 96 yards and a 45-yard score. Allen Lazard had four catches for 63 yards, including two conversion on third down and a decisive score in the fourth quarter, and he also had a 19-yard run.

Adams, Valdes-Scantling and Lazard all had catches over 35 yards. Jones, Ervin and Lazard all had runs over 15 yards.

The offense line didn’t give up a sack despite constant shuffling due to injuries.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Even the first-year guys got into the mix. Rookie H-back Josiah Deguara lined up all over the offense and had several impressive snaps as a blocker. Rookie running back A.J. Dillon carried twice for 14 yards.” data-reactid=”29″>Even the first-year guys got into the mix. Rookie H-back Josiah Deguara lined up all over the offense and had several impressive snaps as a blocker. Rookie running back A.J. Dillon carried twice for 14 yards.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Packers didn’t have a turnover, although Adams’ drop on fourth down near the goal line was essentially a giveaway. Cornerback Jaire Alexander covered for the offense, creating a safety on a sack of Kirk Cousins.” data-reactid=”30″>The Packers didn’t have a turnover, although Adams’ drop on fourth down near the goal line was essentially a giveaway. Cornerback Jaire Alexander covered for the offense, creating a safety on a sack of Kirk Cousins.

The Packers only needed to punt once, and that only came after Valdes-Scantling dropped a pass that would have easily converted on third down. The offense scored on three straight possessions to end the first half and then had touchdown drives on three straight possessions spanning the third and fourth quarters.

The Packers were efficient on third down, especially late, converting 6-of-11 chances. And Rodgers used a sneak to convert one of the two fourth down opportunities.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The most points the Packers scored in a game last season was 42, accomplished in a blowout win of the Raiders. The Packers’ 522 total yards were also the most gained under LaFleur, besting the 491 yards gained against the Philadelphia Eagles.” data-reactid=”33″>The most points the Packers scored in a game last season was 42, accomplished in a blowout win of the Raiders. The Packers’ 522 total yards were also the most gained under LaFleur, besting the 491 yards gained against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Credit to LaFleur, who devised a brilliant plan that used all sorts of different personnel and groupings and put Zimmer’s defense under constant pressure. Pre-snap motion and a mix of run and pass kept the Packers in control of the proceedings. Also, credit Rodgers, who was razor sharp throughout training camp and looked as good Sunday as he’s looked in the last five years. He threw on time, had impeccable ball placement and attacked all parts of the field.

The Packers offense was a question mark entering Sunday. Sunday’s 43-34 win is only one game, but LaFleur, Rodgers and the rest of the offense answered a few questions against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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