Whether or not Thursday night’s victory over the Bears ultimately means anything for the Packers is up for debate, but one thing is for certain: we saw some rare stuff from both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.
Both players grabbed headlines for piling up completions and receptions, respectively, but without a look at the historical context, it’s tough to appreciate exactly how unusual their performances were.
Let’s start with Rodgers. Dating back to 1960, a Packers passer has only completed 35 or more passes four times. Rodgers has done it twice: last night and in last year’s 18-16 loss to the Lions, in which he tossed a mind-boggling 61 passes.
As was mentioned during the broadcast, Brett Favre previously held the Packers’ record for completions in a single game. You may not have known, though, that his 36-completion game in 1993 was also his only 400-yard passing effort as a member of the Packers. He also has two interceptions returned for touchdowns in that particular game.
Lynn Dickey is the only other Packers player to complete 35 or more passes in a game. He did so during a scintillating 14-14 tie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1980. What a barn burner that game must have been: the Packers ran a whopping 98 offensive plays (47 runs, 51 passes), accumulated 569 yards, and somehow scored only 14 points. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, got stellar efforts from Doug Williams (6 of 24 passing for 103 yards) and Ricky Bell (21 carries for 85 yards with a long of 13).
Davante Adams somehow finds himself in even more exclusive company. He equaled Don Hutson’s second-most productive game with 13 catches, and as has been pointed out elsewhere, Huston also hauled in a whopping 14 passes in a single contest. Both of Hutson’s herculean efforts happened during the 1942 season.
Aside from that, though, Adams doesn’t have much company. Just two other players have caught a dozen or more passes in a game: Ken Payne in 1975 and Vince Workman in 1992. Both games were losses.
Payne’s performance came during a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos. He caught 12 of John Hadl’s 23 completions that day, totaling 167 yards but nary a touchdown. That he didn’t find the end zone despite catching a dozen passes was emblematic of Payne’s entire 1975 season: though he led the Packers with 58 catches, he never once scored.
Workman’s dozen catches might have been even weirder. In Don Majkowski’s third to last start, Workman was king of the checkdown. He picked just 50 yards as he served as the primary outlet for Majkowski in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Vikings. 11 of those yards came on a single play.
Here’s to hoping Adams’ fantasy owners were in a PPR league.