Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams comes up big again with an assist from Allen Lazard
GREEN BAY - Allen Lazard stalked the sidelines by himself, and pumped his right fist discreetly by his side so as not to be a distraction during a moment that shined on his quarterback. But he was unable to hold in the exhilaration. He had just been a part of what will become an iconic play.
Aaron Rodgers had thrown his 443rd touchdown pass, setting a new franchise record with the Green Bay Packers. Lazard had caught it, diving for the pylon and giving his teammate, his team and his fan base a touchdown they’ll remember on Christmas Day.
It was a blip on the reel of Lazard’s NFL career thus far, but one that shined for all it followed.
“My journey, the fact that I went undrafted, got cut twice and everything, all the other obstacles that I've had to battle through, just to be here today, to sit here…just a lot of gratitude and a lot of humbling.”
Lazard had one other catch on the night, a one-handed grab down the sideline for 34 yards, kicking off a drive that ended with a Davante Adams touchdown to make it 14-6, Packers. It was indicative of what has made the Packers' receiver corps work this season: As much Davante Adams as the opposing defense will allow, supplemented by a receiver to be named.
This week, it was Lazard, who finished with the two receptions for 45 yards and the touchdown. It was the second most receiving yardage on the team, behind Adams, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
With Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the reserve/COVID-19 list and Randall Cobb working through a core injury, there had to be another receiver there to take advantage of the times Adams was covered. And even the five-time Pro-Bowler has been admittedly shocked at how quickly Lazard has become “that guy.”
“Honestly, it happened kind of quick, relatively,” Adams said. “He came in camp (2019) and then came in there and then I was out, they had Aaron Rodgers ... he was calling for No. 13 off the bench, just based off of the work he put in and the trust that he was starting to develop and that's a huge thing for it to happen that quickly.
“He has so many different aspects to his game that a lot of receivers don't have, you know how he can get dirty and go block an end, a back, he can go catch touchdowns. Typically guys that can handle this type of locks don't see a lot of targets or aren't looked at on third downs and catching 35-yard bombs down the field. So my hat's off to him for the kind of dedication that he's had to continue to get better and keep you know, building the trust level as well.”
Still, Adams has unquestionably been the star of this unit, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. On Saturday against the Cleveland Browns, Adams notched his 100th reception on the season, giving him three straight seasons at the century mark. He’s the first player in Packers history to reach that milestone.
He also passed former Packer Jordy Nelson on the Packers' receiving yards list, to now be fifth all-time. And with his two-touchdown performance, he and Rodgers have now combined for 67 total touchdowns between the duo, passing the previous record held by Rodgers and Nelson with 65 total.
“I'm chasing myself at all times," Adams said. "I want to be a better me than I was the previous week or the previous day. So I got nothing to do with any of that stuff. I'm honored, humbled, all of the above to be able to be in a position where I can join some of these names.
“But for me, it's just keeping my head down and letting that stuff ... I'll let (PR staff) tell me after games or throughout the week where I'll stand in terms of some of the records but, definitely didn’t open up the record book to see what was going on. I just kind of see it as it happens and kind of enjoy it for a night or two and then move on and get ready for the next one.”
Rodgers said after Saturday’s game that Adams was the most talented guy he’s every played with, a list that includes Hall of Famers and All-Pro’s. So on a night when records were meant to be broken, it was only fitting they came at the hands of the receivers Rodgers trusts the most and the one who’s earning it quicker than anyone.