No Rust On Jennings' Game

No one would have blamed Greg Jennings if he had a less-than-stellar performance Sunday. After all, he sat out each of the Packers’ first two wins and coming back to face a stiff Chargers defense isn’t exactly a walk in the park for a season debut. - More | Audio | Video | Packers-Chargers Game Center Jennings Named Packers HoF’s Featured Player


*For his performance on Sunday, Greg Jennings was chosen as the Packers 'Hall of Fame Featured Player of the Week.' The new weekly exhibit will contain memorabilia from the victory over the Chargers, including a game ball autographed by Jennings.

For more information on the Hall of Fame's new program, click here.*

No one would have blamed Greg Jennings if he had a less-than-stellar performance Sunday.

After all, he sat out each of the Packers' first two wins and coming back to face a stiff Chargers defense isn't exactly a walk in the park for a season debut.

Yet, Jennings hardly looked like a player fighting off rust and a lingering hamstring injury when the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter.

With just over two minutes remaining, quarterback Brett Favre hit Jennings on a quick slant that the second-year man out of Western Michigan took for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Besides putting the Packers up 24-21, a lead they would never relinquish, the catch was significant for several other reasons as well. It moved Favre into a tie with Dan Marino for all-time touchdown passes in a career with 420, and it also served as a great opening day for Jennings.

It was also the type of play that Head Coach Mike McCarthy knew his wideout would be capable of. But it was just a matter of getting healthy.

"We didn't want to get into a situation where he was going to be up and down every couple weeks," McCarthy said. "So, we had a series of tests that he had to pass.

"Frankly, it was just getting to the point of 100 percent. He probably would have liked to play sooner. But he was 100 percent Friday morning after Thursday's rehab so he was ready to go. He did a nice job."

Jennings got off to a fast start as a rookie last season, with three touchdowns in the first five games, before an ankle injury in the sixth game slowed him the rest of 2006.

The hamstring injury in practice leading up to the season opener only added to Jennings' frustration, but in the locker room after the game, several players, even those on the defensive side of the ball, mentioned that they didn't expect anything less from Jennings, first game back or not.

"I knew Greg could do that from Day 1," linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "He's an unbelievable player and coming from the same draft class together, it was great to see him back and healthy.

"I talked to him before the game and he said he felt great coming in from warm-ups so I knew it was going to be a big day for him."

Calling it "a big day" for Jennings might be somewhat of an understatement, but nonetheless, it's somewhat ironic that the biggest play of the game started out as a simple one according to McCarthy.

"It was a drag slant, a very basic play, probably one of the first plays we put in," he said.

It turned out to be a play in which Jennings, Favre, and the coaching staff were on the same page for.

"It was one of those plays where the corner was pressed and kind of playing up to the outside," Jennings said. "I knew he (Favre) was coming to me so I had to work the corner and everything worked to my advantage.

"It was just patiently waiting for the opportunity. They were giving me a slant all day backside. It was there and it was just a matter of connecting on it and we finally did."

{sportsad300}All told, Jennings finished with four catches for 82 yards, including one that might be etched in his memory for the rest of his life.

"It means a lot," Jennings said of catching the record-tying pass. "But at the same time, he (Favre) is going to be setting records from here on out now so it just one of those things we're kind of used to around here now. I am just happy to be a little part of that legacy."

Fellow wide receiver Donald Driver said after the game he knew all along that when the chips were down someone on the offensive side was going to make a big play.

"Greg proved it better than anyone," Driver said. "That's amazing. I didn't even block for him, I knew he was going to score."

Once Jennings reached the end zone, he became a huge reason why the Packers moved to 3-0 on the season, but at the same time, he didn't want much of the credit. Instead he passed that along to Favre.

"He did the hard work, I just caught it and ran," Jennings said. "I just told him I appreciate the opportunity. He actually told me he loved me.

"It made me feel kind of good because he loves 'Drive' so much," he added with a laugh.

Like his wide receiver, Favre also shrugged off the notion that he was the one that made the play happen.

"I would love to take a lot of credit for it," Favre said. "Yeah, it was a decent enough throw (but) he caught it and went the distance."

Regardless of who gets the notoriety, the bottom line is the end result, and one thing is clear: It looks like Greg Jennings is back.

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