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Collectively, Receivers Fill Void

The Packers’ receiving corps talked all week about how it was capable of compensating for the absence of veteran and leader Donald Driver, but it would have to be a collective effort.


That's exactly what Green Bay got on Sunday night.

Receivers James Jones, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson each had at least four catches, and they combined for 19 grabs worth 245 yards and two touchdowns as Driver missed a game due to injury for the first time since Week 2 of the 2003 season.

The production from the receivers helped quarterback Aaron Rodgers have his best night thus far of 2010 in a 45-7 romp over Dallas at Lambeau Field.

"We just ran our stuff," said Rodgers, whose 131.5 quarterback rating (27-of-34, 289 yards, 3 TDs) was his highest since Week 7 last season, at Cleveland (155.4). "I think that's the key tonight. We didn't call a bunch of plays we didn't have a lot of reps in. We made plays after the catch. We did the things we've been doing here as long as I've been here."

Jones led the receiving group with a career-high eight catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, a 10-yard score that ended any suspense by putting the Packers ahead 35-7 midway through the third quarter.

Jones notched his second 100-yard game in three weeks and the fifth of his career. His back-to-back receptions for 22 and 31 yards in the second quarter set up Green Bay's second touchdown.

He had a couple of plays he'd like to have back – a fumble after a third-down reception in the first quarter that Nelson alertly recovered, and a potential second TD pass on a crossing route that he dropped early in the fourth quarter, costing him his first career two-TD game – but Jones was as much a go-to guy in this game as he's been his entire career.

"We're just on the same page," Rodgers said. "It was nice. We've had some problems the last couple games, just not being on the same page as far as route depth and route conversions, and tonight we talked a lot this week about how we wanted to attack them and we were able to do the things we wanted to do – and James was a big part of that."

Jennings added seven receptions for 80 yards and a TD, an 8-yarder late in the second quarter to put the Packers in control at 21-0. This was Jennings' fourth straight game with at least six catches, the first time in his career he's had such a four-game streak.

Nelson added four receptions for 42 yards, including a season-long 27-yard grab. It was a nice follow-up to his career-best five catches last week against the Jets.

Overall, there was no shortage of openings downfield against a Dallas secondary that has struggled all season. And in the event everyone was covered, Rodgers was able to tuck-and-run, scrambling five times for 41 yards, including a season-long 27-yarder.

"We were just running our routes," Nelson said. "Some were double moves but some were just plain routes. They played a lot of man, and it was win your one-on-one battle. Aaron was on tonight and we were getting open."

The hope is that Driver's troublesome quadriceps will heal a bit over the bye week and he'll be back in action soon enough.

But seeing the passing game clicking like it was with both tight end Jermichael Finley and Driver out is a good sign, to be sure.

"It seems like every week, someone else -- if it's offense, defense or special teams -- had to step up," Nelson said. "Even new guys coming in different weeks. It's part of the game. Injuries are going to happen. You just have to be prepared, step up, and make plays."

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