Big Pass Plays Spark Point Production

ST. LOUIS - Other than Greg Jennings’ 50-yard touchdown catch to win the season opener two weeks ago, the Packers’ big-play offense had been non-existent in the earlygoing this season. That changed on Sunday in St. Louis. The Packers’ first three touchdowns in their 36-17 victory were all set up by explosive gains in the passing game. - More Packers-Rams Game Center

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ST. LOUIS - Other than Greg Jennings' 50-yard touchdown catch to win the season opener two weeks ago, the Packers' big-play offense had been non-existent in the earlygoing this season.

That changed on Sunday in St. Louis.

The Packers' first three touchdowns in their 36-17 victory were all set up by explosive gains in the passing game, one a spectacular catch by Donald Driver and the other two by Jennings. Those three plays accounted for 149 of Aaron Rodgers' 269 passing yards on the day.

"All week long we talked about how we had to put the offense on our back as a receiver group," Driver said. "The first two weeks, we had a lot of drops in those games, one that we won and one that we lost. We felt like this was an opportunity to come out and show the way we played in preseason is the way we're supposed to play, and we played great today."

Driver made the first big play in the second quarter, and it's one for his career highlight reel. Running down the left sideline with rookie cornerback Bradley Fletcher on his heels, Driver fought off Fletcher with his right hand and amazingly pulled in Rodgers' rainbow throw solely with his left. While falling to the turf, he even pinned the ball against his shoulder pads and helmet, a la David Tyree of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, and drew a flag for pass interference against Fletcher, who was grabbing his other arm.

Driver declared after the game it might have been the best catch of his career, and the 46-yard gain set up a touchdown to give the Packers a 16-0 lead. Driver also admitted to being a bit motivated by something Rodgers told him to read on page 59 of Sunday's game program, an unattributed Packers team preview presumably produced by someone in St. Louis that referred to Driver as the receiving corps' "savvy old man" who had "lost a little juice."

"My mind was a little bit more focused today to go out there and prove that I'm not (what they said)," Driver said. "Just because I'm 34 doesn't mean that I'm old. That's old in dog years maybe but not in human years."

Driver finished the day with four catches for 95 yards, all in the first half. He moved past Sterling Sharpe and into second place on the franchise's all-time receiving yards list with 8,222, trailing only James Lofton (9,656) in team annals. With 591 career receptions, he now needs just five more catches to pass Sharpe (595) for first all-time in that category.

On the Packers' next possession, Rodgers went deep again, this time to Jennings. Singled up on the outside on third-and-10 against Ron Bartell, Jennings pulled in a bullet throw from Rodgers down the right sideline for 50 yards, setting up a TD pass to Driver that made it 23-7.

"We were just trying to take advantage of the single man and single high safety at times, and when we had an opportunity down the field, let us make plays," Jennings said. "Again, we're a receiving corps that we feel like we can make plays if we get the opportunity."

Jennings got another opportunity on the first snap of the fourth quarter, with the Packers trying to add to a 23-17 lead. He beat Bartell again, this time deep down the middle for 53 yards to put the Packers in the red zone. Rodgers' quarterback draw four plays later made it 29-17 and re-established the Packers' cushion.

{sportsad300}The second big play to Jennings, which put him over 100 yards in the game for the second time this season (two catches, 103 yards), came off of play-action. Ryan Grant had posted back-to-back 7-yard runs on the final two plays of the third quarter, and after the timeout, the Packers dialed up another deep ball off the play fake.

"If they're going to play press coverage on our guys like 'Drive' and Jennings, we're going to take shots down the field," Rodgers said.

They were the kind of plays that hadn't been working much aside from Jennings' game-winner in Week 1 vs. Chicago. Other than that play, the Packers hadn't completed a pass for more than 26 yards in the season's first two weeks.

But getting some big chunks was a key to Rodgers posting a season-high passer rating (126.9) despite completing just 13-of-23 passes overall. It's the second-highest passer rating of Rodgers' young career, behind only the 132.2 against Detroit in last year's season finale.

"Big plays equal points in this league," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "You see it every week and it was very evident today. We feel we have the ability to play that way.

"We were able to get some one-on-ones with Greg and Donald on the back end and were able to benefit from it. That's the way you'd like to play week in and week out."

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