Debrief: Seven NFL forces returning to form – NFL.com

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Aaron Rodgers did not hand the ball off once during the two halftime-sandwiching touchdown drives that shrugged off the Raiders for good on Sunday. The Packers’ next touchdown drive — it’s hard to keep them all straight on a day when Rodgers scored six times in a span of eight possessions — featured six throws, two runs and one seemingly impossible turkey-hole shot over Oakland’s zone defense and in front of their safety to leaping wideout Allen Lazard. That was one of eight throws over 20 yards, going to six different receivers, many of them — like Lazard, Danny Vitale and Jake Kumerow — known only to deep Packers web diehards back in May. If it wasn’t obvious enough before Sunday’s win, Peak Aaron Rodgers is back.
The inevitability of this performance built for weeks, starting with Rodgers’ showing in a loss to the Eagles on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 4. His effort last Monday against the Lions was possibly his best game of the last few seasons, until he topped it Sunday. (Pro Football Focus, which now has Rodgers ranked second this season behind Russell Wilson, graded the Lions game slightly higher than Sunday’s six-score fireshow.) Rodgers made more plays within the structure of coach Matt LaFleur’s offense, while LaFleur allowed Rodgers to be more aggressive in Sunday’s perfectly imbalanced attack. Some of Rodgers’ throws — like the back-shoulder corner route to running back Aaron Jones for Green Bay’s first touchdown — were too audacious for most quarterbacks to even attempt.

This shouldn’t be that shocking. Rodgers is learning a new NFL offense for the first time in his career, and it makes sense he looks more comfortable in October than he did in September. While Davante Adams’ toe injury, which has kept the No. 1 receiver out since Week 4, has highlighted the lack of wideout depth in Green Bay, the Packers boast three difference makers on the offensive line with tackles David Bakhtiari, center Corey Linsley and resurgent right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Rodgers is finally healthy, and Jones is a boss. Then again, it was fair to wonder if and when we would see Peak Rodgers again.
The numbers say Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been the same player since 2015. The excellent Ben Baldwin laid out a compelling case at The Athletic last week that Rodgers’ decline started a while ago, and he has counters to all your counters. The article is well-written, convincing and instructive about the last few seasons, but I wonder if the timing of said article could look tragic by January.
I wrote the first version of this section on Rodgers for my picks column last week, but it got too long. Now it looks too obvious. It’s possible that both of the following statements are true: Rodgers wasn’t anywhere near his best the last few

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