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How was that for some Packers football!

Just when so many wanted to bury grizzled veteran Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ signal-caller dazzled by going 32-44 (73%) for 364 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to lead Green Bay (1-0) to a 43-34 road victory over the Minnesota Vikings (0-1).

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The two-time MVP’s top weapon was Davante Adams, who was targeted 17 times and caught 14 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. His 14 catches are tied with Don Hutson for the most in a single Packers game.

And Adams was not alone in his success. Green Bay receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard each caught touchdowns as all three of the Packers’ top three receivers feasted on Minnesota’s inexperienced cornerbacks Cam Dantzler, Holton Hill and Mike Hughes.

Rodgers had time to operate as well. The Packers’ offensive line did not give up a single sack and only allowed two quarterback hits.

It was just a good, old-fashioned blowout over the Vikings, something Packer fans know and love. Green Bay officially only won by nine points but that is hardly representative of how competitive the game was, especially since Minnesota scored three of its touchdowns in garbage time in the fourth quarter. After all, the Packers outgained the Vikings in yardage 522-382.

Here’s a recap of Sunday’s game (Story | Photos):

PLAYER OF THE GAME

The Packers a handful of great performances Sunday but the answer here is Rodgers.

His statistics against Minnesota are impressive enough and he made some “Wow” throws in this game that proved he still has a lot of gas in the tank.

From manipulating the Vikings at the line of scrimmage to surgically shredding Minnesota’s secondary, Rodgers was back in peak form. He operated well within the offense and while he had a laser focus on Adams, he still distributed the ball to his other receivers Valdes-Scantling (4 rec, 95 yards, 1 TD) and Lazard (4 rec, 63 yards, 1 TD).

When Rodgers plays like that, the Packers can beat anyone and his performance on Sunday was exactly what you want to see if you’re a Packers fan.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME

Have a day, Jaire Alexander!

No. 23 got things started with a safety on Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins early in the second quarter. That play made the score 7-5 Vikings with 11:39 to go in the second quarter, so at the time it did not feel incredibly significant, but it shifted momentum and started the landslide that was Green Bay’s blowout win.

Alexander finished with five tackles (four solo), one sack, one pass defensed, and an interception. His interception off Cousins with just 34 seconds to go in the first half opened the door for the Packers to score on the Valdes-Scantling play and lead by 15 points at the half.

After starting his career with two solid seasons, it looks like Alexander improved even more during the offseason.

THAT MOMENT

Green Bay made three big plays in the final minute of the first half, but of those three the Valdes-Scantling touchdown had to be the most demoralizing for the Vikings, so it takes the cake as the most important moment.

After Alexander intercepted Cousins, Minnesota could keep the score within reach if it didn’t allow Green Bay to go 45 yards down the field with 34 seconds left in the second quarter.

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, Valdes-Scantling burned Dantzler for a 45-yard bomb, and all of a sudden the game was over.

THIS NUMBER

18:44 – Green Bay limited Minnesota to just 18:44 time of possession. The Packers, on the other hand, held on to the ball for over two-thirds of the game (41:16) and maintained long drives throughout the game that never let the Vikings get in a rhythm. Matt LaFleur’s team picked up 31 first downs in a relatively balanced fashion, 17 coming through the air, 11 coming on the ground and three via penalty.

THEY SAID IT

“I shot my shot. I slid in the DMs, basically.” – cornerback Jaire Alexander on his safety on Kirk Cousins.

“I’ve been a fan of him since last training camp and he hasn’t disappointed at all. He has a different mindset about him.” – quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Allen Lazard.

“I try to treat everybody like Deion Sanders and that’s where the success comes from.” – wide receiver Davante Adams on facing Vikings’ young cornerbacks.

“I think they’re one of the best duos in the National Football League.” – head coach Matt LaFleur on Rodgers and Adams.

UP NEXT

The Packers will return home next week for another NFC North matchup, this time against the Detroit Lions (0-1). The Lions let Mitch Trubisky toss three scores in the fourth quarter and lost a heartbreaker to the Chicago Bears 27-23 in Week 1 at Ford Field. Detroit has some effective offensive players, so it should make for an interesting game on Sunday at noon in Lambeau Field.



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Mike Tyson nearly knocks out trainer while preparing for exhibition fight against Roy Jones Jr.

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Mike Tyson is set to return to the ring on Nov. 28 when he takes on Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition fight. Iron Mike has been aggressively training for the fight and it looks like he’s in the best shape of his life. Just ask his trainer.

Tyson has been posting videos showcasing his training in the lead-up to the fight. On Wednesday, a clip showed Tyson sparring with trainer Rafael Cordeiro and, unfortunately for Cordeiro, Tyson accidentally caught him with a hook:

As you can see, Cordeiro stumbles back after Tyson connects on the huge right hand. Tyson, 54, certainly still appears to have the speed and power that made him one of the most dangerous boxers in the sport’s history.

While the upcoming bout against Jones Jr. is an exhibition fight, Tyson appears to be taking it very seriously and the boxing world is taking notice.

WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring commented on the video, writing “Somebody send Mike a reminder that this is an exhibition.” In addition, Danny Williams, who knocked out Tyson prior to his retirement in 2005, believes that Tyson could “seriously hurt” Jones Jr. when the two face off in the ring in November.

Jones Jr. even recently admitted that he may have “made a mistake” by accepting the fight with Tyson.

“He’s still Mike Tyson, he’s still one of the strongest, most explosive people who ever touched a boxing ring,” Jones Jr. old Sky Sports. “If anything, I made a mistake going in with him. He’s the bigger guy, he’s the explosive guy.”



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IPL 2020 – Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming says it’s like every game is like an away game

Adaptability, picking the right personnel and reading pitches correctly in the absence of home ground advantage will be key to success at IPL 2020, according to the Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming.

“This season is going to be very different tactically,” Fleming told the Super Kings website. “With no real home ground advantage here, we’ve got to be very good at adapting to the conditions in each ground. We’ve got three different grounds (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) to assess and each ground has its own character and nuances, and we’ve just got to be good enough to pick the right team and get the right game plan to match that. It’s like every game is an away game.”

Apart from not having been able to train in Abu Dhabi – the venue of their tournament opener against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday – a lot of the Super Kings’ first-choice players – including Shane Watson, MS Dhoni , Ambati Rayudu and Deepak Chahar- have been away from the game longer than some others. Add to it the challenges of playing in Abu Dhabi without having seen the wicket or assessed the conditions – something Mumbai have had the chance to do because they’re based there.

“It’s one of the challenges of having to travel to Abu Dhabi – we’ve got to have to be very good on the day to have to assess the wicket and pick the right combination,” Fleming said. “One of the big challenges for IPL teams is to get the combinations right.

“There are a lot of skillful players that make the side, but there are also a lot of skillful players that don’t. Picking the right side for the right conditions is one of the great challenges and we’ve got a good record at that. But I must admit, going to Abu Dhabi without seeing the wicket or assessing the conditions is going to be one of the big challenges to start with.”

That said, Fleming also believes the Super Kings will be able to cover up for the lack of match time by their combined wealth of experience. For the record, Mumbai have come up trumps in the last two meetings between the sides. “We’ve got experienced players, and experienced players identify key times and that’s why they’ve done so well in their careers – that they can turn games, absorb pressure or just sum out the situation. That’s what experience is about and that’s why we value it so highly.

“And that’s why we’ve been able to get over the line in so many close games because the key player has been one with a lot of experience. And you also mix that with skill. You are conscious of having a skillful side and adding youth when we can and with that get the balance pretty right.”

The lead-up to the Super Kings’ campaign has been chaotic. Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh opted out of the season for different reasons while two players – Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar – along with a number of support staff members tested positive. Among all teams, the Super Kings have trained the least in the UAE, having only been able to begin on September 6 after extended quarantine periods. But Fleming doesn’t think this will be a disadvantage.

“It has been different, and that’s been part of the challenge – understanding the unknown,” Fleming said of their build-up. “We didn’t get off to a great start, with some positive Covid-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well.

“We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train. It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. On hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we’ve done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing.”

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain, doesn’t believe the past will have any bearing on how his team will perform in this year’s IPL though they had lost each of their five games in the UAE in 2014, the last time the tournament was played in the country.

“We didn’t have a great experience last time yes, but it’s a different team now,” Rohit said at the pre-tournament press conference on Thursday. “The thought process is different. Six years is a lot of time. Like I said, it’s about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that.

“Eventually the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important. But yes, the past won’t play any part – it was just myself, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah from that team. I think Bumrah played just one game. So the team is different, the staff is different [and] thought process is different. Looking forward to a great IPL.”

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Bryce Harper hits two home runs, but Phillies come up short vs. Mets, 10-6

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