Matthews, Abbrederis on beating the Raiders
OAKLAND, Calif. - It’s probably coincidence that every time Jared Abbrederis caught a pass Sunday at O.co Coliseum, the Green Bay Packers eventually scored on that drive.
But the second-year wide receiver from Wautoma and the University of Wisconsin seems to consistently find a way to separate himself from defenders and get open, something other Packers receivers have struggled to do this season.
On Sunday, in Green Bay’s 30-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Abbrederis caught everything thrown his way.
“He’s a sure-hands guy, he runs really good routes and he’s going to be in the right spot,” teammate Davante Adams said. “So it’s good to have him out there. He brings a different dimension and definitely a guy we can rely on and Aaron (Rodgers) is starting to trust a lot more.”
That last point cannot be understated. Rodgers talks often about building trust with his receivers that they’ll be where they’re supposed to be.
Midway through the third quarter, with the Packers trailing 20-17, that trust became apparent. Rodgers went to Abbrederis on first down, connecting for a 15-yard pass over the middle. Two plays later, the Packers were in the lead after a 30-yard touchdown pass to James Jones.
Then, on their next possession, the Packers faced a third-and-5 from their own 10-yard line. Again, Rodgers found Abbrederis, this time on a short pass to the right side that a sliding Abbrederis hauled in for 13 yards and a first down.
That seemed to spark Green Bay’s offense, which finished the 19-play, 92-yard drive with a field goal that increased its lead to 27-20 in the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got to convert on third downs, keep the drives alive,” said Abbrederis, who finished with three catches on three targets for 33 yards. “Long drives are the ones that put a little dagger in the defense a little bit. It’s tough, I think that was a 20-play drive, so that’s big.”
The more reps Abbrederis is getting in practice, the more likely Rodgers will continue to look his way.
“He can get open,” Rodgers said. “He’s a good route runner. He needs to be on the field more.”
It’s been a long road for Abbrederis, who has battled injuries in his two seasons in the NFL, starting this season on the practice squad after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury.
“It feels good to be part of the team a little bit,” he said. “I mean, going through last year when you’re on (injured reserve) all year, it’s tough because you’re not contributing or anything like that. But to be a part of the team on the field like you make some impact, it feels good.”
Sent to the sidelines
Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was limited in practice this week with a knee injury, left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Don Barclay replaced him and played the final 5 minutes of the game.
JC Tretter, who started his third game of the season in place of injured center Corey Linsley, appeared to sustain an injury on the Packers’ final possession of the game and limped off the field. He didn't miss any plays, however.
Reserve outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott left the game with a quad injury and said he will have an MRI on Monday.
“I really don’t even know what play it happened on,” Elliott said. “I’ve been dealing with quad issues all year. It kind of just flared up today. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it feels right now. I just have to go in there and get treatment tomorrow, and get an MRI tomorrow.”
Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) and receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) were ruled out on Friday with injuries. Montgomery hasn’t played since sustaining an ankle injury against San Diego on Oct. 18.
The Packers’ other five inactives were quarterback Brett Hundley, running back John Crockett, outside linebacker Andy Mulumba, guard Josh Walker and tight end Kennard Backman.
Too much celebration
When defensive back Micah Hyde intercepted a first-quarter Derek Carr pass and returned the ball 34 yards, it appeared the Packers would have the ball on the Raiders’ 2-yard-line.
But several Packers were penalized after the interception for unsportsmanlike conduct after what appeared to be a coordinated celebration in the end zone. The penalty put the ball back on the Oakland 17.
“Man, I have no idea what happened,” Hyde said. “I couldn’t get up. I was getting hit. I was getting picked up. I don’t know man. I want to see it on film. I don’t think Coach is going to be too happy about that. I was trying to get up. I got pushed back down.”
Peppers climbs record book
Julius Peppers jumped into 10th place on the NFL’s all-time sacks list when he was credited for 2.5 on Sunday.
Peppers now has 135 sacks after jumping past Denver’s DeMarcus Ware and John Abraham, both with 133.5. Next up is Carolina’s Jared Allen with 136.
“Obviously, I hear about it,” Peppers said when asked about his place in the all-time rankings. “Things get passed around in media and through various channels. So I know where I stand, but when I’m on the field, I don’t think about that stuff. One day, it will be time for reflection and maybe at the end of the season, I can look back and take some satisfaction in that.”
» The Packers are 29-12 (.707 and No. 1 in the NFC) under coach Mike McCarthy during the month of December. They have won five in a row and seven of their past eight.
» The Packers have outscored their opponents 34-9 on game-opening drives but have scored only 6 points in their past eight opening drives.
» The Packers have won seven consecutive games against the Raiders, including three on the road. In those seven games, Green Bay has outscored the Raiders 240-90, scoring 28-plus points in each game (29, 28, 28, 41, 38, 46, 30).
» This is the seventh time under coach Mike McCarthy that the Packers have won 10 or more regular-season games, passing Curly Lambeau (six) for most 10-win seasons by a Packers coach since they joined the NFL in 1921.