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Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver shows he still can play

Dec. 5, 2010
 
Postgame analysis: Packers 34, 49ers 16
Postgame analysis: Packers 34, 49ers 16: In their analysis of the Packers' 34-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Kareem Copeland and Mike Vandermause discuss James Starks' debut and big games for a pair of wide receivers before looking ahead to the final stretch of the regular season.
Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver turns upfield on a 61-yard catch and run for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter of Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

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Donald Driver had chicken wings for dinner on Saturday night.

Bad idea. Kind of.

“Most people that have a stomach ache think it’s just gas,” Driver said. “I realized about 5:30 in the morning it wasn’t gas. I came over to the stadium early, got some treatment and I was able to play.

“Greg (Jennings) looked at me all day and was like, ‘You OK, you OK?’ I kept saying 'I’m there.'”

Driver most certainly was there. Jennings, too.

The two receivers put on a show during the Green Bay Packers' 34-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Driver broke open what was a 14-13 game at halftime with a 61-yard highlight-reel touchdown in the third quarter. He caught the ball deep down the right side, broke three tackles, had teammate Andrew Quarless roll over his back and then carried two other defenders into the end zone. It was his longest reception of the season.

The score came on the first possession of a second half in which the Packers outscored the 49ers 20-3.

“That is the guy I’m used to seeing,” Jennings said. “Spectacular play. Nobody else makes that play but Drive “I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. That’s what he does better than anybody I know.”

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin added, “He’s Hercules.”

Driver finished with four catches for 73 yards and the score. He had a combined six receptions for 57 yards and no touchdowns in the previous two games. He was inactive for the New York Jets game in Week 8 with a quadriceps injury and was held without a receptions in the two previous games – breaking his streak of 132 consecutive games with a catch.

Some had started to question whether Driver was still hampered by the injury or if he was starting to show his age.

“The last month, everyone was riding me out, saying I was done,” Driver said. “My thing is, I felt I had to prove something. Every year it seems like I have to prove something regardless of how many years I play. I’m OK with that. That makes me who I am.

“I don’t have a grudge against no one. It motivates me to go out there and play harder and prove that a guy at 35 can still play. Regardless of my age, I still feel I’ve got it.”

There’s no question whether Jennings has it. The Packers No. 1 receiver had his third consecutive 100-yard game. This is just the second time in his career to post three straight 100-yard games.

Jennings caught six passes for 122 yards, but it was the two touchdowns that were most impressive.

He put the Packers on the board for the first time with 7:02 remaining in the second quarter when the 49ers jumped in the neutral zone. Scott Wells immediately snapped the ball and Jennings ran a go-route. Rodgers saw man-to-man coverage and put the ball up deep down the left sideline. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer fell as Jennings caught the ball and jogged to the end zone.

The Packers were in the no-huddle offense at the time and Rodgers hadn’t even called a play yet.

“We practice that all the time,” Jennings said. “They jump offside and we go deep because we have a free play. There’s not a better time to get them with a big play than on a play they wish they had of done the right thing, as far as fundamentals.

“Typically it turns out good.”

Jennings caught his second touchdown of the day with 3:37 left in the third quarter. Cornerback Phillip Adams tried to jam Jennings off the line, but he swiped away his hands and was wide open.

“He tried to quick jam me and that’s really a no-no, honestly,” Jennings said.

Rodgers, who threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns, and the offense turned to the big play in the second half. Driver had a 61-yarder. Jennings went for 57. Brandon Jackson caught a 37-yard screen.

It was the first time in Rodgers career that he has thrown two touchdowns of at least 55 yards in the same game.

The Packers have four wide receivers (Driver, Jennings James Jones and Jordy Nelson) with at least 35 receptions this season – the first time in team history.

“We will have to look at the film and see exactly what happened,” 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. “They shouldn’t be able to throw the ball downfield like that and score. I’ll have to look at what the heck happened.

“For them, it was a little too close for comfort (at halftime) so they came out slinging the ball. Obviously, that was a good call on their behalf.”

Philbin said the 49ers didn’t really present anything they felt they could take advantage of.

“It wasn’t anything special. Just kind of our vertical game,” Philbin said. “We’re always going to take some opportunities to throw the ball downfield.”

Jennings added, “We knew if we could come out and execute the way the we know we can, it really didn’t matter what they did.”

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