Next Man Up: Driver Reaches Milestones

Donald Driver (Jeff Hanisch/USP)

The numbers weren't big but Donald Driver marked a memorable day with a critical touchdown as the beat-up Packers earned a victory over Jacksonville.

Two targets. Two catches for 10 yards and one touchdown. The stats don't exactly jump off the page, yet they represent an important contribution and a career milestone for veteran receiver Donald Driver.

With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson nursing injuries, Driver was able to see action in his 200th game for the Packers, joining quarterback Brett Favre as the only players in franchise history to play in 200 regular-season games. Driver became the 22nd wide receiver in league annals to play in 200 games.

"It was great," said a smiling Driver to the media horde in front of his locker. "Anytime you can step on the field and help your team win, it makes you feel good. I was excited about going out there with the opportunity to make the plays I made and make them as a Green Bay Packer. Hopefully, there will be more to come."

Driver's touchdown, a 4-yard toss by Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter, extended the Packers' lead to 21-12 and was key in slowing Jacksonville's bid for an upset. The touchdown catch was the 62nd of Driver's 14-year Packers career and it was a milestone for Rodgers, his 153rd career TD pass, moving him past Bart Starr (152) for No. 2 in franchise history.

Flashing his million-dollar smile, Driver relished yet another Lambeau Leap.

"It felt good," said Driver. "I've had a lot of them in my career so it kind of felt the same. It didn't change too much, but Aaron called a play we've been running in practice whenever we get down to the 3 yard line. He called a nice play and I kind of knew I had man-to-man coverage and all I had to do was beat my guy. I knew Aaron was going to make a great throw."

With Jennings and Nelson out of action, Rodgers had to spread the ball around to other receivers and the results were not exactly earth-shattering. Rodgers completed 22 passes in 35 attempts for 186 yards. He targeted James Jones nine times with Jones snagging seven for 78 yards. Next up was Randall Cobb, who caught five passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.

It wasn't the prettiest of wins. But it was a win, helping Green Bay keep pace at two games behind the division-leading Chicago Bears. Sometimes, you have to win the battle without all of your big guns firing.

"The inactive list, everybody has one," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It happens in every game. I don't really think it's something we need to talk about. No disrespect to the people on the inactive list."

"Obviously, what they (Jennings and Nelson) bring to the field is big," said Cobb. "Whenever you take them out of the equation, it makes it a little bit tougher. When we have all of our guys out there, it makes a big difference with matchups. We didn't get the matchups we've been getting in the past couple of weeks.

"We didn't move the ball as well as we had planned. We didn't execute as well and had a few three-and-outs. But we found a way to win today and that's the most important thing. We held onto the lead were able to get the win."

Driver also pointed to the all-important "W."

"We just have to go out there and the next guy has to step up," said Driver. "Today, everybody stepped up and we won the game. It wasn't great but we won. A win is a win, no matter how you look at it. We know we didn't play our best ball on offense, but when you win games, it puts a smile on your face. Right now, we're 5-3 and that's where we wanted to be."

Cobb, whose locker is next to Driver's, was all smiles when asked about Driver's touchdown catch and reunion with the end-zone fans.

"That's big," said Cobb. "Donald's done so much for this organization. Just to be able to play with him is great. I remember watching him as a kid with him playing on ‘Monday Night Football' when Brett broke some records, so it was just great to see the things he's done and to be around him more than anything."

A win is a win. The next guy has to step up. There were plenty of clichés flying around the locker room. But Driver and Cobb were equally confident that whichever receivers are called upon will be ready for the challenge.

"Our big thing is that every week we go into the game knowing that we're going to have opportunities," said Driver. "Right now, we have two great guys down in Jordy and Greg. Once those guys are able to come back and play, you just hope that you can continue to contribute as much as possible."


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