Kyle Shanahan needs to get the San Francisco 49ers winning again if their playoff potential is to be fulfilled, and this Sunday looks like a major opportunity.

To snap a three-game losing streak, the Niners (2-3) must get the better of an Indianapolis Colts side who, much like San Francisco themselves, have made an inconsistent start to the season.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding a three-game run of wins and have started 5-1 for just the fifth time in the history of the franchise, heading into a tussle with the Chicago Bears (3-3). Tom Brady has been a driving force so far as the Super Bowl winners carry on where they left off last season.

Patrick Mahomes has been hit and miss for the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs, who will hope the NFL's highest-paid player can cut out throwing interceptions as they face the Tennessee Titans.


Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

If coach Shanahan's 49ers are to turn around their season, then facing a Colts side who have begun 2-4 seems like a pretty good place to start. Yet the Colts have dominated this series of late, winning on their last four meetings, albeit most recently in 2017 when they snatched a 26-23 overtime success. It would not be stepping out of line to predict this could be tight, given the 49ers have played nine consecutive games that have been decided by eight or fewer points, going back to last season.

That is the longest active streak of such close games in the NFL and the longest streak in team history, and the Niners do not have the best recent return when games go close, posting a 3-6 record in this sequence.

San Francisco fell 17-10 to the Cardinals in their most recent game, two weeks ago, while the Colts hot-footed their way to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston last Sunday. That came despite Indianapolis earning just 15 first downs for the entire game. It was the first time the Colts had won by 28 or more points while only having 15 or fewer first downs since 1972 against New England.

In his 21st career game, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he surpassed 1,500 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and chalked up his 15th rushing touchdown in the NFL. Only four running backs in NFL history have hit all three of those milestones in fewer games than Taylor, with two of those doing so with the Colts – Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk.

San Francisco will hope to be recharged after a bye week. Deebo Samuel scored the fourth rushing touchdown of his career against the Cardinals, with Jerry Rice (10) the only wide receiver with more rushing touchdowns in 49ers history.

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dispiriting loss to the Green Bay Packers last time out, the Chicago Bears encounter a Tampa Bay team in sparkling recent form. Tampa Bay have started the season 5-1, doing so for the fifth time in franchise history, and on each of the previous occasions (2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979) they backed it up by reaching the playoffs. History could be made on Sunday, given the Buccaneers have never started a season with six wins through their first seven games.

Yet this is a game in which the Bears have traditionally, and recently, had the upper hand. Chicago have stacked up 40 wins in 60 all-time meetings against Tampa Bay, which is the most wins by any team against the Bucs. The Bears have also won the last two in the series, scoring victories in 2018 and 2020.

Tampa Bay can seemingly do no wrong when Brady is pulling the strings so masterfully. Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards, the second-highest total he has ever had through six games of a season – beaten only by his 2,163 passing yards at this stage in 2011. Prior to this year, no Tampa Bay quarterback had ever thrown for more than 1,800 yards through six games.

What have the Bears got to offer? Chicago are averaging 246.2 net yards per game, which is more than 20 yards per game less than any other team. The 1,477 yards is the fewest Chicago has had through six games since the 1993 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields needs to make something happen, but others must step up too. In his first career start, Khalil Herbert ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay last time out.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

"He's trying to make things happen," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining away the two interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 against Washington. For Mahomes, that was a second straight game with at least two interceptions. He is tied with Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence in second position on the list of the most interceptions thrown this season, with his tally of eight so far only topped by Zach Wilson of the Jets.

This is only the second run that Mahomes has endured of throwing two or more interceptions in consecutive games, the previous dating back to Week 5 and 6 of the 2018 season, and Reid will hope his radar is better set for the clash with the Titans. Mahomes is still doing an awful lot right in 2021, but the fact remains he threw just six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' unsteady 3-3 opening is their worst of the Mahomes era, and it was 2015 when they got off to a slower start. On that occasion they followed a 1-5 opening with 10 consecutive wins, a single-season record for Kansas City that was matched last season.

Tennessee's bright start has featured some notable performances. The Titans ran for 146 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in the 34-31 win over Buffalo on Monday night, taking them to 985 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. It is the first time in franchise history that the Bills have 10 or more rushing touchdowns and at least 975 rushing yards through six games.

Running back Derrick Henry has 10 rushing touchdowns so far, beating his career best of seven through six weeks in 2020. It puts him tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns of all time through six weeks (Jim Brown 14, Shaun Alexander 12, Emmitt Smith 11).

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions face a tall order on the road against the Los Angeles Rams (5-1). Detroit are 0-6 for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008 and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last five games. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with Detroit, has thrown zero touchdown passes and an interception in each of his last two games.

The 5-1 Baltimore Ravens have recent history on their side ahead of a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, having won five successive games in their head-to-head series, including the last three by a brutal average of 31.7 points.

Heading into a home game against the Houston Texans (1-5), the Arizona Cardinals are on a 6-0 roll. This has only happened twice before in franchise history, but never before in Arizona. The St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and Chicago Cardinals in 1922 are the teams who both started their seasons 6-0 as well.

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts could match an NFL record as the Eagles (2-4) tackle the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts has rushed for two touchdowns in each of his last two games. Billy Kilmer, for San Francisco in 1961, is the only quarterback to achieve the feat in three straight games.

The Green Bay Packers last lost at home to Washington in 1988, winning five in a row since with home-field advantage, and they put a 5-1 season record to the test when the teams meet again. Washington (2-4) are yielding an NFL-worst 31.0 points per game in 2021, matching the team's worst mark through six games of a season in the Super Bowl era (1998).

Tom Brady joked about Aaron Rodgers becoming a "shareholder" of the Chicago Bears, while taking a shot at his old rival, the New York Jets.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Brady sarcastically congratulated Green Bay Packers quarterback Rodgers on owning the Bears after the reigning MVP shouted "I still own you" at their fans after completing a fourth-quarter touchdown during Sunday's 24-14 NFL win.

The topic of ownership came up on Wednesday.

"I wanted to say congrats to Aaron Rodgers. Obviously, he's a great QB but I guess he's now a shareholder of the Bears," Brady quipped during his appearance on the Let's Go! podcast.

"I saw a clip of him really enthusiastically telling the crowd how happy he is to own Solider Field."

Podcast host Jim Gray joked that by that measure Brady owned the Jets, given his 29-7 career record against the New York franchise, but the 44-year-old and seven-time Super Bowl champion threw shade rather than be drawn it.

"Oh, no I'll just take the colour green. I don't need the Jets," the former New England Patriots quarterback said. "I'll just own the colour green, I think that's a little bit better."

Brady has thrown for 8,649 yards and 57 touchdowns against the Jets, who have not won the Super Bowl since 1968.

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers told jeering Chicago Bears fans "I still own you" after the reigning NFL MVP inspired a 24-14 victory on the road.

Rodgers was at his brilliant best as he claimed his 22nd win over the Bears, the veteran quarterback throwing two touchdowns and running for another at Soldier Field.

His 22-5 record against the Bears ranks third-best for winning percentage (81.5) by a quarterback against a single opponent since 1950 (minimum 25 starts), behind Tom Brady (91.4 per cent against the Buffalo Bills) and Ben Roethlisberger (87.0 per cent against the Cleveland Browns).

As he left the field, Rodgers could be heard taunting Chicago supporters: "All my f****** life, I own you. I still own you. I still own you."

Rodgers finished 17-of-23 passing for 195 yards and no interceptions with a 128.0 passer rating as the Packers (5-1) won their fifth straight game.

The Super Bowl winner also reacted to one fan after his touchdown against the Bears.

"Sometimes you black out on the field – in a good way," Rodgers said. "I looked up in the stands and in the front row all I saw was a woman giving me the double bird.

"So I'm not sure exactly what came out of my mouth next."

"I love this rivalry. It's been a lot of fun over the years," Rodgers said. "That's what I told [Bears rookie] Justin [Fields] on the field. I said, 'Enjoy this. It's a special rivalry, unlike any other in our game.'"

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur added: "Listen, all I can say is: A lot of stuff gets said on the field that nobody ever hears.

"It's one of those moments of competition where things get said and ... I don't know what Aaron said about it, I'm sure you guys asked him. ... Again, it's a competitive game, and I think that's one of those moments where you see the competitor in Aaron come out."

The challenge of stopping Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens has proven beyond plenty of defensive teams during his still relatively young NFL career, and one of the finest defensive minds in the league was not up to the task in Week 6.

Jackson's meeting with fellow quarterback Justin Herbert was pegged as a battle between MVP candidates as the Ravens hosted the Los Angeles Chargers, and it is the Ravens star who has the stronger case after their dominant 34-6 win in a clash of 4-1 teams.

Brandon Staley was appointed as Chargers head coach on the back of his excellent performance in his one year as defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.

His Rams defense allowed the fewest yards per play in the NFL last season, however, the Chargers have struggled mightily against the run in 2021, making them an enticing matchup for the league's premier dual-threat quarterback in Jackson.

As it happened Jackson was able to lighten the burden on his shoulders in terms of running the ball, Latavius Murray and Le'Veon Bell each going in for rushing scores to put the Ravens 14-0 to the good in the second quarter.

Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert responded late in the half with a one-yard touchdown throw to Jared Cook after a Jackson interception, though the Chargers still trailed 17-6 at the half.

But a 12-play, 52-yard drive ended with Jackson hitting Mark Andrews for a nine-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and there was never a hint of a Chargers comeback thereafter.

Jackson's stat line, 19 of 27 passing for 167 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with 51 yards on eight rushes, was pedestrian by his standards, but it was enough to give the Ravens the best record in the AFC as he claimed his 35th win, breaking Dan Marino's record for the most by a quarterback before his 25th birthday.

Chiefs remain unconvincing

Plenty wondered whether it was time to panic for the Kansas City Chiefs following their Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills in primetime last Sunday, which dropped them to 2-3.

Concerns about the two-time defending AFC champions were furthered after a first-half performance against the Washington Football Team that saw them trail 13-10 at the half.

Patrick Mahomes threw two interceptions, one off the hands of Tyreek Hill and another with an inexplicable decision to toss the ball up for grabs after fumbling the snap.

However, a touchdown pass to Hill and Darrel Williams' second rushing score of the game put Kansas City in command before Mahomes found Demarcus Robinson in the endzone to secure a 31-13 win that moves them within striking distance of the Chargers in the AFC West.

Five in a row for Packers

The Packers are far from the finished product at this stage of the season, but it is now five wins in a row for Green Bay after their 24-14 victory over NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears.

Aaron Rodgers averaged 8.5 yards per pass play and threw for two touchdowns, with the Packers quarterback reminding the Bears' fans at Soldier Field of his hold over the division after running for a score that effectively put the game to bed.

The Los Angeles Rams are also 5-1 after Matthew Stafford threw four touchdown passes in a 38-11 rout of the New York Giants.

The Green Bay Packers head into Week 6 on the back of a remarkable overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last time out.

Mason Crosby was the hero with a match-winning field goal, though his successful punt came on the back of three misses, not to mention the Bengals' Evan McPherson twice clipping the post with efforts in both regulation time and overtime.

The win took the Packers to 4-1 for the season, and next up are old rivals the Chicago Bears on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens (also 4-1) will look to build on their Lamar Jackson-inspired comeback against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday by beating the similarly in-form Los Angeles Chargers, and the Arizona Cardinals will look to continue their perfect start to the season as they travel to Cleveland.

 

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

One of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL rears its head in Week 6, with Green Bay travelling to Chicago. The foes share 22 championship titles between them, and this divisional contest in the NFC North is sure to serve up a treat.

The Packers are 21-5 in regular-season games against the Bears since 2008, when Aaron Rodgers became Green Bay's starting quarterback - indeed, Rodgers has started 25 of those meetings and is 11-2 in the 13 games he has started against Chicago since 2014, throwing 33 touchdown passes and no interceptions in 11 wins. There are three other matchups in which one team has beaten the other 21 times since 2008: Baltimore over the Cleveland Browns (22-4) and the New England Patriots over the New York Jets (22-5) and the Buffalo Bills (21-5).

This is the Packers' first road game against a division rival this season. Green Bay won all three of their away games against NFC North rivals in each of the past two campaigns.

Chicago are 3-2 for the season, though they have a league-low 728 passing yards. The Saints, with 904, are the only other team below 1000. If the Bears are to get anything from this game, they may well rely on the defensive prowess of Khalil Mack, who led the team with seven tackles in Week 5's 20-6 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rodgers will be looking to pick out Davante Adams, meanwhile. He caught 11 passes for 206 yards in the win in Cincinnati. It was the third time since 1997 that a Packers player had 200 or more receiving yards in one game. 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens

This will be the first meeting between the Chargers and Ravens since the 2018 Wild Card round – Los Angeles claiming a 23-17 win on that occasion.

The Ravens are 3-1 in the regular season at home against the Chargers, though the last three games have been decided by seven points total. Baltimore go into the game on the back of a brilliant comeback win over the Colts. They trailed by 19 points with less than one minute remaining in the third quarter but came back to win 31-25 in overtime - their largest second-half comeback victory in franchise history.

Quarterback Jackson threw for 335 of his 442 passing yards in the second half and overtime, while completing 90.6 per cent of his passes (29/32). Over the last 30 seasons, there have been 635 quarterbacks to attempt at least 30 passes in the second half/OT of a game – he is the only one with a completion percentage over 90 per cent.

Los Angeles QB Justin Herbert, meanwhile, accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) along with 427 total yards in just his 20th career start in the Chargers' 47-42 win in Cleveland. For any quarterback in his first 20 career starts, Herbert ranks first in completions (535), second in pass yards (5912) and third in total touchdowns (50).

Arizona Cardinals @ Cleveland Browns

The Cardinals' dream start to the season continued with a 17-10 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers. Arizona is the only unbeaten team in the NFL. This is the fifth time the Cardinals, an original NFL franchise, have won their first five games but first time since moving from St. Louis in 1988.

Arizona have won their last four games against the Browns, dating back to 2007. Before this streak, they had never won more than two consecutive games versus Cleveland. The Browns lead the all-time series, 33 wins to 15, with three ties.

The Browns, however, have won their last six games against NFC teams, including wins against the Bears and Vikings this season. Cleveland’s last loss against an NFC opponent was to the Cardinals in Arizona in 2019 (38-24).

Cleveland's Nick Chubb has 4080 yards rushing in his 49-game NFL career, and will likely become the third active player who had at least 4000 rushing yards through his first 50 games in the NFL, joining Ezekiel Elliott (4881) and Le'Veon Bell (4225).

Elsewhere...

The Patriots have endured a difficult start for the season, going 2-3 through the opening five games. The 4-1 Cowboys are next up, though New England have history on their side, having won six straight games against Dallas, a run dating back to 1998.

London calls for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, as the Florida rivals go head-to-head at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jaguars' 37-19 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans last week extended their losing streak to 20 games. It is just the second 20-game losing streak in NFL history (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight between 1976 and 1977).

It has been a difficult week for the Raiders, whose coach Jon Gruden resigned due to the emergence of offensive emails. Las Vegas take on the Denver Broncos, who they have more wins against than any other opponent in their history.

Cincinnati will look to bounce back from their defeat to the Packers when they take on Detroit. They have won six consecutive games against the Lions, going back to 1998, and a win on Sunday would see the Bengals equal a team record for the most successive victories against a single opponent, matching seven-game streaks against the Houston Oilers (1981- 1984) and the Browns (2014-2017).

Mason Crosby bounced back from three successive missed potential game-winning field goals to kick the Green Bay Packers to a dramatic victory over the Cincinnati Bengals by finding his calm amid a remarkable finish.

Crosby missed from 36 yards and 51 yards either side of Bengals kicker Evan McPherson failing from 57 yards and then, following a Joe Burrow interception that put the Packers deep in Cincinnati territory, sent a 40-yard effort wide left in overtime.

However, McPherson was no good from 49 yards in the extra period as Cincinnati wasted another chance to bring an absorbing battle of 3-1 teams to a close, and Crosby did not spurn his fourth opportunity from the same distance to seal a 25-22 triumph for Green Bay.

Speaking to Peter King for his Football Morning in America column after the game, Crosby said: "Sounds boring, but I've been in it for a long time, and make or miss, you move to the next one.

"You kinda go through the process for a play or two and then you have to reload. When [head coach] Matt [LaFleur] came right down to me he just said, 'What are you thinking?' And of course, I wanted to kick it.

"It's my job. I just keep resetting. I haven't missed many kicks the last few years. Unfortunately, it came in a little bit of a cluster here, but I know my ability and when everything is smooth and good, we go out there and execute.

"It was another opportunity. Just couldn't believe with how crazy this game was that we had another chance.

"But when there's chaos, when the challenge gets even higher and the pressure gets greater, you have to find that calm.

"I'm able to do that. I want to be out there. If you get too high, you won't find that calm."

While the game will ultimately be remembered for the kicking misadventures of Crosby and McPherson, there was history for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers' touchdown pass to Davante Adams in the second quarter saw him go outright fifth on the all-time list with 422 for his illustrious career, moving him ahead of Philip Rivers.

He will hope to add to that tally when the 4-1 Packers visit the 3-2 Chicago Bears on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers went 4-1 for the 2021 season after Mason Crosby's overtime field goal secured a dramatic 25-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Crosby missed two field goals in the final quarter as Cincinnati pegged back the visitors at 22-22, with the Packers #2 then squandering another chance early in overtime.

His third miss came sandwiched in between Bengals rookie Evan McPherson twice hitting the post with field goal attempts of his own.

Yet a brilliant pass from the superb Aaron Rodgers – who threw for two touchdowns to take him into outright fifth place in the all-time list for quarterbacks with 422 – to Randall Cobb teed up the game-winning moment.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow also threw for two touchdowns, having got Cincinnati started when he picked out Samaje Perine from close range in the first quarter. 

Burrow collected his second TD pass of the game in style, throwing 70 yards (the longest pass of his NFL career) for Ja'Marr Chase to cross.

Chase's score came after Rodgers had propelled the Packers ahead with passes to Davante Adams and AJ Dillon, and although Joe Mixon forced OT, Crosby held his nerve at the fourth time of asking.

Brady downs Dolphins

A week on from breaking Drew Brees' NFL passing record, Brady was at his imperious best again for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing for five touchdowns and 411 yards in a 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

His 72 touchdown passes against the Dolphins mean he is the joint-leader, alongside Dan Marino (72 v. the New York Jets) for TD passes against a single opponent in the Super Bowl era, while his 62-yard pass for Antonio Brown on Sunday was the longest he has thrown while at the Buccaneers. 

Pitts stars in London

The NFL returned to London on Sunday, with the Atlanta Falcons overcoming the New York Jets 27-20. Rookie receiver Kyle Pitts was the star of the show at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, taking nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, the first of his NFL career.

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly secured the signing of linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Smith was released by the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday having featured in every NFL game since he was drafted by the team in 2016.

The former Pro Bowler had been the subject of trade discussions, which came to nothing, but it did not take long to find a new home on the open market, according to NFL Network.

With the Cowboys paying his $7.2million salary for 2021, NFC rivals Green Bay have clinched a cheap deal, reports said.

Smith was a second-round pick in 2016 after torn knee ligaments suffered in his final collegiate appearance for Notre Dame damaged his draft stock.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame during Smith's time there.

Smith is set to come in alongside De'Vondre Campbell, having lined up at inside linebacker for 89 of his 105 snaps this season. Krys Barnes has been lining up to Campbell when fit.

Russell Wilson produced a vintage performance to lead the Seattle Seahawks past the San Francisco 49ers 28-21.

Wilson celebrated his 100th NFL victory as the Seahawks (2-2) rallied past the 49ers (2-2) in San Francisco on Sunday.

The Super Bowl champion finished 16-of-23 passing for two touchdowns, while he rushed for another TD on four carries.

Wilson joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the second quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games in their first 10 seasons.

The 49ers – with Jimmy Garoppolo starting under center – took an early 7-0 lead but that was as good as it got for San Francisco on home soil.

Wilson's 12-yard pass to DK Metcalf ensured the scores were tied at half-time before the former dominated in the third period – the eight-time Pro Bowler's 16-yard run putting the Seahawks 14-7 ahead and Freddie Swain then caught a throw to stretch the lead to 14 points.

Trey Lance – who completed nine of his 18 passes for 157 yards and two TDs – replaced Garoppolo (calf) in the second half and the rookie QB kept the 49ers in the contest with a monster 76-yard TD pass to Deebo Samuel during the closing stages of the third quarter.

After an Alex Collins touchdown gave the Seahawks a 28-13 lead early in the final period, Lance combined with Samuel again at the death, but it was too little, too late.

 

Cardinals stay unbeaten behind Murray

Kyler Murray inspired the high-flying Arizona Cardinals to a 37-20 win at the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 39 more yards as the red-hot Cardinals improved to 4-0 this season.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb guided the Green Bay Packers to a third consecutive win – a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rodgers and Cobb connected for two touchdowns and ran for another score at home to the Steelers.

Packers superstar Rodgers threw his 420th career TD pass – tying Dan Marino for sixth all-time.

Under-fire Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw his 400th career touchdown pass – the eighth player to do so.

Kyle Shanahan was rightly worried the San Francisco 49ers left too much time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers in their thrilling defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

The Niners suffered their first defeat of the season in Week 3 as Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal as time expired gave the Packers a 30-28 victory.

Thirty-seven seconds earlier, fullback Kyle Juszczyk had ploughed into the endzone to give a 49ers team that had trailed 17-0 a 28-27 lead on a 12-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.

Despite having all three timeouts, Garoppolo snapped the ball with 12 seconds left on the play clock, meaning he had the chance to salt more of the clock away and diminish the odds of Rodgers leading a decisive drive.

Instead, Rodgers hit Davante Adams for receptions of 25 yards and 17 yards to set up Crosby to settle the game in Packers' favour.

Asked if he was worried about the amount of time left for the reigning MVP, San Francisco head coach Shanahan told a media conference: "You always worry with Aaron on the other side.

"That's why we didn't use any timeouts. We wanted to take it down. Hell of an effort by Juszczyk to get it in.

"I think [Garoppolo] hit the last guy in the progression and it was a hell of an effort after the catch."

Had Juszczyk been tackled short of the endzone instead of crossing the line with an extra effort, the Niners would have been able to use their timeouts to control the clock and potentially score while leaving the Packers with virtually no chance.

But curbing that instinct to score is near-impossible in the heat of the moment.

"I didn't really have a lot of time to think about it," Juszczyk said. "The entire team was swarming me. I didn't even know how much time was left on the clock to be totally honest with you.

"It wasn't really something that was on my mind during the play. We were down six so we needed a touchdown so I was trying to score."

"We were kind of in a good rhythm,” Garoppolo added. "That's when you tow the line of you have the defense on their heels, it's really hard to score down there in the red zone as it is, do you want to let them catch their breath? 

"When a guy catches it and makes a play like that you’re not going to be upset at him for scoring. It’s tough."

Aaron Rodgers believes the Green Bay Packers' dramatic late 30-28 win over the San Francisco 49ers could be a catalyst for their season and serves as proof of their credentials as Super Bowl contenders.

The Packers were seemingly heading for a 28-27 defeat, but with 37 seconds remaining, they managed to turn things around spectacularly.

Some last-drive heroics from Green Bay superstar Rodgers – without a timeout left – lifted the Packers (2-1) as Mason Crosby's game-ending 51-yard field goal condemned the 49ers (2-1) to their first loss of the season.

Rodgers finished 23-of-33 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, also surpassing Hall of Famer Dan Marino (51,741) for the fourth most passing yards in a player's first 200 games in NFL history – Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning are the only players with more passing yards through 200 appearances.

But the focus post-game was less about such feats and rather centred around the Packers' turnaround, how they had gone from being 1-2 to 2-1 in almost the blink of an eye.

While the importance of single victories can only be quantified later in the season, Rodgers at least feels such a display of character is evidence of the Packers' potential, as they go in search of a first Super Bowl win since 2010.

"No timeouts, from the 25, you need two chunk throws," Rodgers said. "I knew that, so that's why I wasn't dink-and-dunk. You don't have any time for that. We had to get at least 15 on the first play.

"I like to adjust some routes from time to time to get a look at what it feels like against our defense, so I just adjusted one of the routes [in practice], and we all liked it.

"Matty [coach Matt LaFleur] suggested it right before we went out there. 'What do you think about this play?' I said, 'I like that. I think that would be pretty good.'

"[The turnaround] gives some legitimacy to some of the things we've been talking about: That that was kind of an aberration and that we are a talented football team.

"The energy in the locker room postgame, that felt like a win. It felt like it was such a growth moment for us.

"I'm really happy for the guys to feel that, and it feels like, OK, now we're on our way. Now we can get into this, now we know how to win, and we can get this thing moving in the right direction."

Aaron Rodgers showcased flashes of his MVP form after leading the Green Bay Packers to a thrilling 30-28 victory at the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers.

The Packers were facing their second defeat of the season after Jimmy Garoppolo's 12-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Juszczyk gave the 49ers a 28-27 lead with 37 seconds remaining on Sunday.

But some last-drive heroics from Green Bay superstar Rodgers – without a timeout left – lifted the Packers (2-1) as Mason Crosby's game-ending 51-yard field goal condemned the 49ers (2-1) to their first loss of the season.

Rodgers finished 23-of-33 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, while team-mate Devante Adams also starred with 132 yards and a TD on 12 receptions.

Three-time MVP Rodgers also surpassed Hall of Famer Dan Marino (51,741) for the fourth most passing yards in a player's first 200 games in NFL history. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning are the only players with more passing yards through 200 appearances.

In eight regular-season games versus the Niners heading into this matchup, Rodgers had thrown 18 touchdowns to only two interceptions, and owned a passer rating of 106.9 – the highest against San Francisco in the Super Bowl era (minimum 100 attempts).

The 49ers rallied at home to the Packers, overcoming early 10-0 and 17-0 deficits before falling behind 24-14 at the start of the final quarter.

Trey Sermon's one-yard run and the Juszczyk-Garoppolo combination during the closing stages had the 49ers on the cusp of a third straight win and a completed comeback, however, the Packers still had enough time to snatch a last-gasp victory.

Garoppolo finished 25-for-40 passing with 257 yards, a pair of touchdowns, one interception and four sacks.

The only two remaining unbeaten teams in the AFC are tied in the AFC West, but neither will be in action at Arrowhead on Sunday.

While the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos have made strong starts to move to 2-0 in 2021, division favourites the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers were each beaten in Week 2.

Those results ramp up the pressure heading into Week 3 when leading young quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert meet.

Mahomes sat out last year's Week 17 game, which the Chargers won on the road, but he will be involved this time and hoping to bounce back.

This is one of a number of intriguing matchups to look forward to this Sunday, as explored by Stats Perform.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

That late-season win for the Chargers last year moved them to 2-1 at the Chiefs since the start of 2018. Kansas City are 18-4 at home to every other team in that time.

The Chiefs are a little vulnerable right now, too, having allowed a league-high 938 total net yards so far this season – music to Herbert's ears – and last week lost to the Baltimore Ravens despite leading by 11 points entering the fourth quarter. It was their first defeat with Mahomes under center when leading by double digits through three quarters, having previously gone 29-0 in such scenarios.

But the Chargers have an awful knack of coming up just short. Their 20-17 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys last time out was a league-high 16th loss by seven points or fewer since 2019.

Herbert does not know when he is beaten, though. He leads all QBs in completions (19), passing yards (271) and first-down conversions (16) on third down this season, while he is a stunning five-for-six for 112 yards and four first downs on third-and-11 or more.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams

There are also two games this week that could easily be early rehearsals for the NFC Championship Game, starting with Tom Brady versus the Rams defense.

Brady threw for five touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons last week and became the fifth player – including a former Buc in Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018) – ever to toss four or more scores in each of the first two games of a season.

However, the Rams, who gave up a league-low 281.9 yards per game in 2020, recorded three sacks and two interceptions against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.

They pose a threat on offense, too, with Cooper Kupp's 271 receiving yards the third-most by a Ram through the team's first two games of a season in the past 60 yards. Reaching new heights alongside Matthew Stafford, Kupp had just 252 receiving yards over his final five games of 2020.

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

The Packers and the 49ers will consider themselves worthy challengers to the Bucs and the Rams, with Green Bay hoping they are now back on track after a dismal Week 1.

They restricted Kyle Shanahan's run game to 55 rushing yards in last year's matchup, with the Niners having averaged 176.8 yards on the ground across their previous eight meetings, going 6-2.

On offense, the Packers have obvious threats in the form of Aaron Jones and Aaron Rodgers.

Jones had four total TDs against the Detroit Lions, becoming the fifth running back in the past 25 yards to record three or more receiving scores in a game, while Rodgers has thrown 18 TDs to two interceptions in eight regular-season games against the Niners, with his 106.9 passer rating the highest versus San Francisco in the Super Bowl era (minimum 100 attempts).

Elsewhere...

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off their first loss under Pete Carroll when leading by 10 at halftime (now 31-1) but face favourable opponents in the Minnesota Vikings, who have lost the teams' past seven meetings – a joint-record including playoffs in the Vikings' history.

The Miami Dolphins also suffered a painful defeat last week and are unlikely to find any comfort in Jacoby Brissett's promotion in Tua Tagovailoa's absence at the Las Vegas Raiders. The backup QB has lost five of his past six games as a starter, while his streak of 146 consecutive passes without a touchdown in the NFL is the longest ongoing run.

Jameis Winston's regression for the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 came at a bad time, with the New England Patriots next up. The Pats have had four or more interceptions in a league-high 16 different games in the Bill Belichick era, including against the New York Jets last time out.

Beaten by both the 49ers and the Packers, the Lions' next test is against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson has rushed for 80 yards in four consecutive regular-season games, the most by any QB in the Super Bowl era.

Those numbers pale a little next to running back Derrick Henry's 182 yards and three rushing TDs in Seattle. Only Jim Brown (five) has had more 175-yard, three-score rushing games than the Tennessee Titan's four – tied with LaDainian Tomlinson. He plays the Indianapolis Colts next.

Aaron Jones has got his father's ashes back, and it's all thanks to the late-night dedication of a Green Bay Packers stalwart.

Jones lost a necklace containing the ashes in the course of scoring four touchdowns for the Packers against the Detroit Lions on Monday night.

Although he was saddened to be parted from the necklace, Jones said after the Packers' 35-17 win: "If there was any place to lose it, that's where my dad would've wanted me to lose it, so I know he's smiling."

He was optimistic it would be found and was proven right.

Alvin Jones Sr died in April from complications related to COVID-19, having been an important guiding hand behind his son's football career.

The Packers understood the significance of the necklace and long-serving head athletic trainer Bryan Engel set out shortly before 2am to scour the end zone where Jones believed it had gone missing.

"Our trainer Bryan Engel – 'Flea' – he went out there and he found it," Jones told the Steve Czaban Show on 97.3 The Game.

"It's really small. A lot of times it just sits inside my shirt. A lot of people won't even see it or recognise it."

Engel is in his 25th year on the Packers staff and is responsible for managing the team's medical care, but he went the extra mile this time.

Asked how the necklace could prove so difficult to spot on a football field, Jones said: "I'm not sure, maybe because it's so small, but Flea found it so we're perfect.

"Thank you to him. He was out there at like 1:45am. It shows how much they care about us."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers labelled criticism levelled at his side for their Week 1 loss as "b******t" after they bounced back with a 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday.

The Packers were humbled 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 but Rodgers responded by throwing 22 from 27 passes for 255 yards including four touchdown passes against the Lions.

Rodgers was forthright when he spoke to reporters in his post-game news conference, after biting his tongue immediately after the game when speaking to ESPN.

The 37-year-old said it was nice to put in a good performance to "get the trolls off our back", labelling the media attention on his side as an "over-reaction".

"I think people like to say a lot of b******t and it's nice to come back in here after a game like that," Rodgers said.

He added: "I think there's even more now than when I started playing, there's so many over-reactions on a week-to-week basis.

"It's nice to come out and have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week."

Rodgers, who was the subject of a drawn-out saga about a move away from Green Bay in the off-season, admitted the Packers were "disjointed" in Week 1 but would not getting carried away with one win.

"It's one game. We're 1-1 now. We're 1-0 in the division," Rodgers told ESPN. "So we feel good about things but it's early."

The Packers trailed 17-14 at half-time against the Lions but found their "rhythm" with three second-half touchdowns.

"The rhythm was good," he said. "We got the ball to our playmakers, like this guy [Jones].

"Last week we were really disjointed on offence. The first half went the same way but the second half we came out, got into a better rhythm, got a turnover and put the game away."

The Packers will next take on the San Francisco 49ers, who have started 2-0, on Sunday.

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