Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams find Packers’ rhythm back home in Bay Area
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After a tumultuous offseason and a lackluster opener, Green Bay Packers Nation can relax — for now.
Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the Packers appear to have righted the ship following a lousy Week 1 performance. If this season is the last dance for the two in Green Bay, the dynamic partners have found their rhythm.
Rodgers completed 23 passes for 261 yards and had two touchdowns in the 30-28 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Adams caught 12 of Rodgers’ passes and registered 132 receiving yards, NFL weekly highs for the position. The four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver had over half of Green Bay’s overall catches and receiving yards in the victory.
The Packers have won their last two matchups against the 49ers. Before Sunday night’s victory, they had lost six of their previous nine games against the Niners, including three postseason contests.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of success against this team coming out here or just playing in California in general,” Adams said postgame. “Being able to come out here and kind of fix what we done in the past felt really good.”
Adams was on the receiving end of a vicious hit by 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward in the fourth quarter. The strike looked to be a helmet-to-helmet hit, but officials didn’t penalize Ward. Adams was on the field motionless for a moment and had to be helped to the sideline. He passed the NFL’s concussion protocol test and remarkably return to the field one play later.
On Green Bay’s final possession, Adams had a 25-yard catch and a 17-yard catch to put the team in position for a game-winning field goal. His ability to bounce back so quickly after the scary collision had nearly everyone in disbelief.
“What a competitor, man,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “He is the ultimate competitor. I think he’s the best receiver in the NFL. I think he shows it on a weekly basis.”
Adams and Rodgers weren’t shy about the affect the win will have on the Packers going forward. The 2-1 team could very well look back on Week 3's victory over the previously undefeated 49ers and label it a turning point in their season. But there was an extra layer of significance and motivation Sunday night because Adams and Rodgers are Northern California natives. Adams was born in Redwood City and was a standout at Fresno State. Rodgers was born in Chico and starred at Cal.
Adams said he received “a million” text messages leading up to the game this week. His wife, along with some family and friends were in attendance to witness the first game with fans at Levi’s Stadium since 2019. The Packers wide receiver said that extra support gave him a little more inspiration.
“They were showing all types of crazy support. That goes a long way. Anytime I’m out there, obviously I’m going to be playing as hard as I possibly can, but your mom’s watching you, your grandma’s watching you live. You know, my wife is here and a lot of my family and my high school buddies that I haven’t talked to in a while,” Adams said. “Just knowing that they are there in person kind of gives you a little extra boost.”
Rodgers’ motivation was more subtle. He’s played the 49ers 12 times, including the playoffs, compared to Adams’ five. Coming back to The Bay doesn’t carry the same weight for Rodgers as it once did earlier in his career. However, he definitely remembers the day the Niners passed on him in the 2005 NFL Draft in favor of Alex Smith, who went No. 1 overall.
“Earlier in my career, I would say there was kind of a different motivation that involved April 23, 2005,” Rodgers said. “That kind of adjusted over the years. Just a love for this area and a lot of respect and appreciation for my time here. Going to Cal, and still very close to the program. I love the area. I still have a lot of friends in the area. It’s always fun coming back. It hasn’t been fun two of the previous three, but this one is pretty sweet.”
Green Bay will go as far as Rodgers and Adams will take them. And a sweet victory in their home state to find a rhythm for this season’s (last?) dance is a good start.
Follow USA TODAY Sports+ NFL Insider Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.