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Perfection eludes even Packers’ Rodgers

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The Sports Xchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers says he likes to play “as close to perfect as possible.”

Rodgers was doing just that in games played at Lambeau Field for what seemed like an eternity until Sunday game.

“I figured I might as well break the streak with a couple interceptions today,” Rodgers quipped after the Green Bay Packers overcame his rare giveaways to improve to 5-0 with a 24-10 win over the visiting St. Louis Rams.

Two interceptions by Rodgers in the first half not only were his first two of the season but also were his first passes picked in a game at Lambeau since Dec. 2, 2012.

Since that game against the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers threw 586 straight passes without an interception at home, including the playoffs, until the NFL-record streak ended late in the first quarter Sunday. A short pass intended for tight end Richard Rodgers was deflected by Mark Barron and into the hands of fellow linebacker James Laurinaitis.

“I had Richard wide open on the right (side),” Aaron Rodgers said. “The outside guy just decided not to rush and tipped it, (and a) nice play by James there on the interception.”

Rodgers credited cornerback Trumaine Johnson for getting a jump on intended target James Jones on a short pass to the outside and making a diving interception with the football just off the ground in the second quarter.

“The second (interception) was just a nice break (on the ball),” Rodgers said. “We actually kind of quick-counted them (on the snap), and if we hadn’t, (Johnson) might have been in his backpedal.”

Rodgers made up for the miscues, which also included a fumble on a strip-sack by defensive end Robert Quinn, by throwing touchdowns of 31 and 65 yards to rookie Ty Montgomery and James Jones, respectively, that held up as the 14-point margin of victory.

“Streaks are meant to be broken, so it’s fun to put together something like that,” Rodgers said. “But, I’m sure someone will come along at some point and put up 600 in a row, maybe.”

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t so sure another quarterback will come close to touching Rodgers’ interception-less streak in home appearances.

“I think as you look back, history will be very kind and respectful and will acknowledge that streak,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anything like that.”

–Quinten Rollins was no higher than fourth on the Packers’ depth chart at cornerback Sunday.

Yet, the athletic rookie had teammates raving about him by game’s end after he stood out with two of the four interceptions recorded by the Green Bay defense at the expense of Rams quarterback Nick Foles.

“That’s what we drafted him for,” said safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Packers’ first-round draft pick last year. “You’re drafted to come in and play, and he did a great job.”

Rollins, a second-round draft pick in the spring, was named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 after ranking third in the country with seven interceptions.

He turned his first interception as a pro into a 45-yard touchdown return that put the Packers up 14-0 late in the first quarter Sunday. Rollins became the first Packer rookie to have a pick-six since safety Marques Anderson in 2002.

“Just a blessing from God that I was put in a position to make a play,” Rollins said. “I got my opportunities, and I took advantage of that.”

Rollins contributed in defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ frequently employed nickel and dime packages Sunday.

His involvement on defense also paid off late in the game. Shortly after Clinton-Dix picked off a deflected Foles pass in the end zone, Rollins thwarted another potential scoring drive for the Rams with an interception inside the Packers’ 5-yard line to cement the victory.

“It just brings our defense to another level that we’ve got so many ballhawks on that field,” cornerback Casey Hayward said. “We had four interceptions from multiple people,” with the first one coming from safety Micah Hyde.

Notes: Nose tackle B.J. Raji (groin) underwent an MRI on Monday and is optimistic that the injury that kept him out of the second half of the 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday isn’t serious. Raji indicated his status is day to day, and he doesn’t know whether he will need to miss any practice time later this week ahead of the Packers’ game next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. … Right guard T.J. Lang (knee) missed most of the 24-10 victory over the Rams on Sunday. The veteran starter suffered the knee injury with about six minutes left in the first half and didn’t return. Head coach Mike McCarthy suggested Monday that the injury isn’t serious, but more about Lang’s status and his availability for the game Sunday against San Diego won’t be known until later in the week. Josh Walker initially replaced Lang, then Don Barclay filled in for the rest of the game. … Linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) is recovering this week from the injury he sustained in the first half of the 24-10 win over the Rams on Sunday. Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t provide an update on Perry’s status at his day-after-game news conference Monday. Perry underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga returned to action and made the start in Sunday’s home win over the Rams. Bulaga missed the previous three games because of a torn meniscus that required surgery. … Wide receiver Davante Adams (ankle) missed a second straight game Sunday. The second-year player has been battling an aggravated sprained ankle and could be out again next Sunday, when Green Bay hosts the Chargers, before the Packers have their bye week. … Strong safety Morgan Burnett (calf) was out for the third consecutive game Sunday because of his lingering leg injury. Micah Hyde continued to start in Burnett’s absence and promptly contributed with the first of the Packers’ four interceptions of Rams quarterback Nick Foles. The Packers could play it safe with Burnett and hold him out of Sunday’s game against San Diego with their bye week on the horizon.


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