Aaron Rodgers throws 4 TDs in first half in victory over Lions

ByRob Demovsky via ESPN logo
Sunday, September 25, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At least the Green Bay Packers started fast for a change.

Whether Aaron Rodgers & Co. have solved all their offensive problems may not be known for weeks, but you couldn't call them slow to start Sunday's home opener against the Detroit Lions.

Rodgers became the first quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in the first half of an NFL game this season.

Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter -- a 14-yarder to Davante Adams and an 8-yarder to Jordy Nelson -- the first time he's done that since Week 3 of last season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

He added a third touchdown pass -- a 2-yarder to Richard Rodgers -- on the Packers' third possession. That was the first time the Packers have done that since Week 10 of the 2014 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Packers went on to win that game in a rout of the Chicago Bears, 55-14.

It got better. Nelson caught a second touchdown pass in the first half, a 17-yarder with 1:10 left in the second quarter. Think it didn't mean something to Nelson? In his first game at Lambeau Field since 2014 after missing all of last season because of a knee injury, he was as demonstrative as ever in celebrating his two first-half touchdowns.

Rodgers did not throw a touchdown pass in the second half, but the Packers hung on to win 34-27.

While the Packers' offense got off to a fast start, it did take a hit with the loss of tight end Jared Cook in the second half because of a right ankle injury. Cook was Green Bay's big free-agent signing this offseason. He had one catch for 15 yards before departing the game.

The Packers came into the game ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game and 29th in total yards and started slow on offense in each of their first two games at Jacksonville and Minnesota.

Through two games, Rodgers had completed just 57.1 percent of his passes, averaged 5.9 yards per pass attempt and had a passer rating of 82.6. In the first half against the Lions, Rodgers completed 12 of 18 passes for 174 yards and the four touchdowns with a passer rating of 137.5.

Guard T.J. Lang said Rodgers head-butted him after his fourth TD pass and told Lang, "I'm back."

Said Lang: "He looked at me after one of the touchdowns and just kind of smiled, head-butted me and said, 'I'm back.' So it's definitely good to see him go out there and get back to his dominant fashion."

Rodgers downplayed that when asked about it after the game.

"I don't think if anybody gives a you know what if the offense is back or not -- it's just about winning," Rodgers said. "And we got a win, we're 2-1. We were efficient at times -- that's important. We did a good job on third downs. But there are going to be games like this where we have to outscore the opponent, and we did today."

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