The ended it right at the top of the list of NFC championship contenders.
The Packers continued their home-field dominance by authoring an emphatic 53-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday evening. Green Bay, which was in seventh place in the NFC to start the day, moved into a tie for second place at 7-3 with Philadelphia, Dallas (bye) and Detroit (lost at Arizona); Seattle (lost at Kansas City) fell to 6-4 and is tied with San Francisco (win vs. Giants) for seventh in the NFC.
The Packers had dismantled their past three opponents at Lambeau Field by a combined 94 points, including 98-3 at halftime. Those opponents, however, were the Vikings, Panthers and Bears – all with losing records. The Eagles entered the day atop the NFC East. The increased level of competition didn’t matter. Green Bay dominated all three phases en route to a 30-6 lead at halftime.
The Packers wasted no time taking control, with Rodgers going deep to receiver Jordy Nelson for 64 yards over cornerback Bradley Fletcher to set up an opening field goal. Rodgers targeting Fletcher would be a familiar theme.
On the second drive, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for 22 yards on third-and-9, Andrew Quarless for 24 on third-and-18 and Richard Rodgers for 16 on third-and-10 to set up Rodgers’ 6-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams.
After the Eagles went three-and-out, Micah Hyde returned the punt 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0. He froze Josh Huff upon catching the ball, then took advantage of a huge lane and won a race against punter Donnie Jones for the score. Philadelphia got on the scoreboard with a 33-yard field goal by Cody Parkey but Green Bay answered with another touchdown, with Rodgers hitting Nelson with a 27-yard scoring strike against Fletcher.
The Packers went after Fletcher again on the next drive, with Rodgers’ end-zone pass to Nelson resulting in pass interference. Running back Eddie Lacy blasted in from the 1 for the touchdown; a botched hold on the extra point meant the lead was 30-3.
Mark Sanchez’s 40-yard completion to Jordan Matthews late in the first half set up Parkey’s second 33-yard field goal as the first half expired.
The disparity at quarterback was one of the obvious differences for the lopsided verdict. Rodgers topped 300 passing yards by early in the third quarter and had his seventh game this season with at least three touchdowns and no interceptions. Sanchez, making his second start for Nick Foles (broken collarbone), couldn’t sustain any consistent success. He was sacked three times in the first half, botched a handoff with running back LeSean McCoy for a turnover on the first drive of the second half and threw a pick-six to Julius Peppers midway through the third quarter. On that play, Peppers dropped into coverage and stepped in front of a pass to tight end Brent Celek. The final 17 yards of his 52-yard return came as he kept Matthews at bay.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rodgers checked the ball down to Lacy, who broke two tackles and then bullied his way through two defenders – with the help of a late shove by Andrew Quarless – for a 32-yard touchdown to make it 46-13.
The Packers tacked on another touchdown when Sanchez couldn’t field a shotgun snap or field the loose ball, with Casey Hayward scooping up the fumble and trotting 49 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Packers back-to-back games of 50-plus points for the first time in franchise history.
About the only thing that went wrong for the Packers was their special teams beyond Hyde’s return. They botched a snap on one extra point, had another extra point blocked and had a punt blocked late in the game.
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