Beyond Davante Adams, Packers showcase pass-catching talent

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling does the Lambeau Leap after his 74-yard TD in the 4th quarter
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling does the Lambeau Leap after his 74-yard TD in the 4th quarter

GREEN BAY – They heard all the questions and criticism in the week leading up to Sunday’s matchup with the Oakland Raiders.

But for the receivers not named Davante Adams on the Packers’ roster, there was little doubt in the back of their minds about what this particular group was capable of.

Complementing the best statistical performance of Aaron Rodgers’ 15-year NFL career, the Packers’ skill-position players collectively rose to the occasion in a 42-24 victory and offensive showcase in front of 78,160 at Lambeau Field.

There was no single player who dominated in the absence of Adams, who missed his third consecutive game with turf toe. Instead, it was eight different players combining for 25 catches, 429 yards and five touchdowns in the Packers’ most convincing win of the season.

“We have playmakers all over,” said receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who caught two passes for 133 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown, in the second half. “It’s not just one guy or two guys who carry the workload. We have guys at every position who can go out there and be productive.”

The Packers ruled out Adams on Friday, but left the door open for both Valdes-Scantling (questionable, ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (doubtful, concussion/chest) to play.

Allison was upgraded to questionable after passing through the concussion protocol Saturday. The team waited until Sunday morning to make a decision on whether Valdes-Scantling and Allison would play, eventually giving the duo the green light.

Still, Head Coach Matt LaFleur rotated his personnel frequently. Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow spelled Allison and Valdes-Scantling, while fullback Danny Vitale became a bigger component of the game plan with more motions and routes from the backfield.

Although the Packers’ running backs picked up only 60 rushing yards on 23 carries, Vitale (two receptions for 43 yards), Aaron Jones (four for 33) and Jamaal Williams (four for 26) helped steer the offense with critical catches in the first half.

Jimmy Graham’s 29-yard catch on third-and-7 helped set the table for Jones’s big moment in the first quarter. Six days removed from dropping a would-be 33-yard touchdown against Detroit, the third-year running back turned his head at the right moment to haul in Rodgers’ first TD from 21 yards out.

It was the first of five touchdowns Green Bay would score on its first six offensive possessions.

“It was just Aaron giving me a great ball and adjusting to it,” Jones said. “Got to remember never too high, never too low. You remember in the back of your head what happened last week, but you also keep that feeling and you make up for it. So I was just glad to make up for it.”

Vitale caught a 21-yard pass to spark the offense on the next series. A 15-yard pass to Allison to convert on third-and-8 was crucial to the 11-play, 82-yard drive that ended with Rodgers finding Williams on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

The possession ate 8 minutes, 6 seconds off the clock, the longest of the season for Green Bay, and included two of the six third downs the Packers would convert Sunday.

“I think we answered a lot of questions out there,” Vitale said. “We have a lot of guys who we can count on. Everybody is super-accountable to themselves and to one another. We’re in a good spot as a team right now.”

Oakland’s offense stood score for score with Green Bay prior to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbling as he lunged for the Packers’ end zone, giving Green Bay the ball at its 20-yard line with 1:49 left in the half.

After Allison converted on third-and-5 with a 9-yard completion, Kumerow caught a pass down the sideline and extended for the end zone on a 37-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 21-10 halftime lead.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

Receiving the ball to start the third quarter and looking for a spark to pull away, LaFleur called a deep shot play to open the second half. Rodgers, with time to throw, put a 59-yard completion right on Valdes-Scantling to put Green Bay back into the Raiders’ red zone.

Four plays later, Rodgers scampered in for the 3-yard touchdown.

“It was just something that we hadn't gotten to yet,” Valdes-Scantling said. “We didn't have a lot of opportunities in the first half because they were killing the clock early on, so we didn't have a lot of opportunities to get it drawn up. It was just something we wanted to get to eventually and we got to it.”

Graham, who finished with four catches for 65 yards, opened the Packers’ next series with a 25-yard catch and finished it with a 3-yard touchdown, set by a 16-yard completion to Kumerow on third-and-8 and Lazard’s leaping 26-yard catch.

With Valdes-Scantling adding a 74-yard score in the fourth quarter, the Packers improved to 3-0 without Adams. While the offense hopes to have its two-time Pro Bowl receiver back sooner than later, it’s proving it has the necessary weapons to succeed when he’s not available.

“Guys made plays all the way down the field,” Allison said. “We passed the ball well and luckily we did the job and we got the team win today. It says a lot. Somebody asked me, would I use the word ‘comfortable’ in the offense. I would say, no, today would be a day where we felt in sync as a whole and it showed.”