Don't need to see anymore. The Green Bay Packers look ready for the 2014 season even with one more dress rehearsal on the schedule after rolling over the Oakland Raiders 31-21 before 73.907 fans celebrating the 65th Upper Midwest Shrine Game at Lambeau Field.
Aaron Rodgers put on another first series no huddle clinic, played well into the second quarter and left the game with the home team on top 22-7 by intermission. After winning the toss, the Pack marched 73 yards in 7 plays with Eddie Lacy doing some heavy lifting, six carries for 36 yards and the 1 yard touchdown dive. Rodgers to Rodgers, the rookie tight end from Cal, picked up 32 yards on the drive. Aaron would also find Jordy Nelson on a patented 12 yard back shoulder play, on 4th and 3 no less, for a second touchdown and he capped his night hitting Andrew Quarless from six yards away. In 8 series of work this pre-season, Rodgers has led drives resulting in points five times, four touchdowns and a field goal. He probably won't play in the final preseason game against Kansas City but deemed the first string offense ready.
The defense gave up a score on their first series when former Jacksonville Jaguar Maurice Jones-Drew broke tackle attempts from Micah Hyde and A.J. Hawk on a 40 yard touchdown run. The unit clamped down after that, giving up just 46 yards the rest of the half. Julius Peppers picked up his first sack as a Packer, Nick Perry's sack forced a fumble by Matt Schaub that Mike Neal recovered.
Matt Flynn came on after that turnover and promptly gave it back to the Raiders as Khalil Mack intercepted a screen pass on his first snap. Flynn would lead a field goal drive in the second half and Scott Tolzien capped the scoring with a 15 yard scoring strike to Alex Gillett who made an acrobatic catch along the end zone sideline.
The defensive backups gave up two TD's late as Matt McGloin hit Brice Butler twice in the final three minutes but many of the gold package ticket holders were already heading back to southern Wisconsin.
Following the game, Head Coach Mike McCarthy summed up the victory:
Audio: Mike McCarthy.
While the offense has hummed along pretty well so far this month, the defense seems to be gathering steam with each week. Tramon Williams wasn't happy about the explosive run for a score early but said the unit buckled down from there.
The Packers got a strong effort from backup running back DuJuan Harris who rushed 12 times for 56 yards and caught 2 passes for 42 more. All of the backup tight ends made at least a catch. On defense, Jayrone Elliott came up with another sack, giving him four in the past two games. Sean Richardson also made a big play with a jarring hit that forced a fumble.
It was interesting to see the Packers repeatedly go for two point conversions after scores, and going for it on 4th down a couple of times. McCarthy said after the game the preseason is a perfect time to work on those plays.
Nose tackle B.J. Raji did not finish the game after injuring his arm. The team will know more on Sunday. Raiders linebacker Sio Moore had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after a first half collision. Oakland Head Coach Dennis Allen said an initial diagnosis was positive and Moore rejoined the team after a trip to the hospital.
The game also was a bit of a reunion. Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie, the Pack' former director of Pro Personnel, has several former Green Bay players on his roster. Defensive back Brandian Ross, defensive lineman C.J. .Wilson, wide receiver James Jones and safety Charles Woodson. All four played. Wilson was credited with four tackles, Jones was targeted a game high 10 times and finished with 4 receptions for 36 yards. He was shown on the bench on the video scoreboards and got a nice ovation. As for Woodson, who won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award while in Green Bay, said afterwards, it was great to come back:
Audio: Charles Woodson.
The Packers return to the practice field on Sunday and have just two public training camp practices left next week before they close out the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs next Thursday night back at Lambeau Field.