EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Davante Adams’ pursuit of history will have to wait another week, and all things considered, the Packers’ two-time Pro Bowl receiver is perfectly fine with that.
Lost in Green Bay’s emotional 44-38 come-from-behind victory over the New York Jets was Adams coming within one catch of Sterling Sharpe’s 25-year-old franchise record of 112 receptions in a single season.
Adams looked well on his way to possibly challenging that record at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. After racking up 10 catches by the end of the third quarter, it even looked like the fifth-year receiver might even have an outside shot at Don Hutson’s 76-year-old franchise record of 14 catches in a single game.
Although Adams fell off that pace in the fourth quarter, he made the biggest catch on the evening with his 11th reception, which came in overtime in the form of a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to seal the Packers’ first road win of the 2018 season.
In the heat of battle, Adams didn’t even ponder possibly breaking the record Sunday until fellow receiver Randall Cobb mentioned it “a couple times.” Now one catch away from history, Adams enters Sunday’s finale at Lambeau Field against the Detroit Lions with 111 receptions for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking about it too much, especially when the game started getting the way it did,” said Adams, who could also break Jordy Nelson’s franchise record of 1,519 receiving yards in a season with 134 against the Lions. “I was worried about other things. It’s in the back of your mind, but we’ll see if we can take care of that next week.”
Adams was only one part of the Packers’ production in the passing game Sunday. With Cobb out with a concussion, Green Bay rotated rookie receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Jake Kumerow with Adams in a bevy of three-receiver sets.
All three had their moments, though St. Brown was forced to leave the game after catching five passes for 94 yards due to a big shot from Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts early in the fourth quarter.
Valdes-Scantling helped pick up where St. Brown left off. Along with his five catches for 75 yards, the rookie fifth-round pick drew two defensive pass interference penalties in the second half that resulted in 69 total yards. The Packers scored touchdowns on both series, including the game-winning drive in overtime.
What’s more, center Corey Linsley praised Valdes-Scantling afterward for his downfield block on Rodgers’ 23-yard scramble to the Jets’ 1-yard line near the end of regulation.
Kumerow, making his first NFL start, caught his first regular-season touchdown in the second quarter off a 49-yard pass from Rodgers against busted coverage on a corner route. All told, the three receivers combined for 237 of Rodgers’ 442 total passing yards.
“I thought we played solid,” Kumerow said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement always. We’ll correct it in the film, but I thought we did a decent job trying to get open and help get this win in any way possible.”
MetLife Stadium hosted a Week 16 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets.
Toughing it out: While the result might not have had any bearing on the 2018 playoff race, don’t tell left tackle David Bakhtiari and defensive back Tramon Williams Sunday’s game with the Jets didn’t matter.
Both veterans gutted through injuries to stay on the field. Williams left the game briefly in the first half after taking a big hit on a punt return from Jets gunner Trenton Cannon, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.
Williams was cleared from the concussion protocol but was wearing a few battle scars. After getting a few stitches above his right eye, Williams continued to field punts for the remainder of the game.
“Put me back out there right now,” joked Williams afterwards. “Those things happen, you don’t want them to happen. I’ve always kind of lived on the edge on the punt-return position. It comes back to bite you every once in a while. Today was one of those days.”
Bakhtiari appeared to sustain a lower-body injury at the tail end of the Packers’ two-point attempt near the end of regulation. He limped back to the huddle, but finished the game without complaint.
“I let adrenaline take over,” Bakhtiari said. “I talked to the guys … ‘Am I safe? Can I still do stuff – it’s like not a high probability something terrible will happen?’ Obviously, there always is that chance, but they said if you can tough it out, we’re OK with it. I was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ I’ll worry about it after the game.”
The Packers lost starting cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin) and left guard Lane Taylor (knee) to injuries. Rookies Tony Brown and Josh Jackson rotated in place of Alexander, while Justin McCray filled in for Taylor.
Like the look of it: Bakhtiari, who was one of the Packers’ three captains Sunday, had the all-important responsibility of not only calling the opening coin toss, but also the one in overtime.
While he initially was thinking about calling tails twice – right tackle Bryan Bulaga asked him to reconsider that stance, as well – the two-time All-Pro left tackle looked at the coin and liked what he saw on the side facing heads.
The decision snapped a streak of four consecutive overtimes the Packers had lost the coin toss.
“I liked the way it looked,” Bakhtiari said. “It was either the NFL logo or something else. I said, ‘Is that one heads?’ (Referee Ron Tolbert) said, ‘Yeah.’ I’m like, ‘All right, heads.’”
Return issues: Andre Roberts looked every part the Pro Bowl returner he’s made out to be in taking both a 99-yard kickoff for a touchdown in the first half and a 51-yard kickoff in the fourth quarter that allowed the Jets to tie the game at 38 and force overtime.
“Obviously, we just didn’t cover well on kickoffs,” kicker Mason Crosby said. “There were those two returns, and that starts with me needing to kick off a little bit better at times. And then we have to cover better. They had a great plan and we weren’t able to get to them.”
Those were just two miscues for the Packers’ special-teams units Sunday. They also lost a fumble on a kickoff return and conceded a first down to a fake punt in the third quarter. One bright spot was Crosby, who made all three of his field goals from 42, 29 and 38 yards.