Winning Math: Two Pick-6s Plus 12 Equals 8

Tramon Williams and Charlie Peprah returned interceptions for touchdowns and Aaron Rodgers turned in a typically strong performance with four touchdown passes as Green Bay held off the Chargers 45-38. The Packers are now 8-0 and winners of 14 in a row.

With Aaron Rodgers playing at a historic level, the Green Bay Packers are the surest thing in the NFL.

But that doesn't mean they don't make things too difficult on themselves, as they needed Charlie Peprah's second interception of the game to seal a 45-38 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

"We're an entertaining bunch," coach Mike McCarthy said.

Rodgers threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 21 yards to James Jones and, set up by a 64-yard bomb to Jordy Nelson, 4 yards to Greg Jennings to put what looked like a 45-24 choke hold on the Chargers.

Instead, the Packers couldn't slam the door and the Chargers stormed back. Philip Rivers hit rookie Vincent Brown for two big completions to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson. The Packers then botched the onside kick, and Rivers and Jackson connected for their third touchdown of the game, a 29-yarder as Tramon Williams got lost in coverage.

Suddenly, it was 45-38, and when the Packers had to punt for the first time of the game, the Chargers were 52 yards away from tying the game with 4:48 remaining.

It appeared the Packers had clinched the game with a fourth-down stop but Rivers, under immense pressure, threw to the ball to Antonio Gates. Gates stopped running, Charles Woodson ran him over and pass interference was called, giving San Diego a first down at the Packers' 35.

But Green Bay's defense got off the field. Williams' blitz forced Rivers into intentional grounding, and on third-and-17, Clay Matthews' big rush forced an incompletion and Chargers punt.

The Packers took over at the 4 with 2:59 to go. On third-and-2, McCarthy called for an empty backfield and a Rodgers rollout to his right. Rodgers got smashed from behind and the ball fluttered out of bounds, but Quentin Jammer held Nelson to give the Packers a first down. While Green Bay couldn't run out the clock, like it did before the bye at Minnesota, the penalty allowed the Packers to punt with 1:14 to go.

San Diego took possession at its 31 with 1:05 remaining. Rivers threw across the field for a 19-yard gain to Gates to midfield. On third-and-10, Woodson was flagged again for interference against Gates to give the Chargers a first down at the Packers' 41. Finally, on second-and-10 with 33 seconds left, Peprah put the game away with his second interception as Rivers forced the ball to Jackson into double coverage.

The victory moved the Packers to 8-0, their 14th win in a row overall, and 5-0 on the road this season. The Chargers are 4-4 after dropping their third straight.

The game couldn't have started much better.

After Rivers hit Jackson for a 23-yard touchdown on the game-opening drive, Rodgers answered with a 5-yard touchdown to Jermichael Finley.

Green Bay's maligned defense then swung the game inexorably in the Packers' favor. On third-and-7, Desmond Bishop's perfect coverage smothered Gates, and the deflected pass landed in Peprah's lap. The safety ran through the Chargers for a 40-yard touchdown, getting big blocks from A.J. Hawk and Matthews near the goal line. On third-and-4 on the next series, Rivers fired to Patrick Crayton, who appeared to be wide open for a first down, but Williams left Jackson, picked off the ball in stride and ran untouched for a 43-yard touchdown.

Just like that, it was 21-7, and as long as Rodgers didn't botch the game with an interception or two, the game seemed like it was over given the efficiency of the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense.

Rodgers, who finished 21-of-26 for 247 yards with touchdowns to Finley, Nelson, Jennings and Jones, did anything but botch the game. The Packers' offense stepped on the field only eight times (not including when Rodgers took a knee to end the game), with four touchdowns and a field goal on their first six drives.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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