Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams enjoyed a career-best game in Week 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals when he totaled 11 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown on a remarkable 16 targets from Aaron Rodgers. He was the beginning, middle, and end of the Packers’ passing attack and enters Week 6 with the most catches and receiving yards in the NFL.
Adams’ production over the first five games—and dating back to last season—begs the question: Is there any defense that can stop him?
Adams appeared in 14 games in 2020 and finished the year with 1,374 yards and a career-high 18 touchdowns. Two seasons earlier, in 2018, he set a career-high in yards—1,386—to go along with 13 scores. This season, Adams is on pace to shatter his high watermark in yards with 1,969 (granted, he has an extra game added to his arsenal in 2021). Regardless, numbers like that are not only worthy of All-Pro status, but they begin bordering on Hall of Fame stuff if he can string a few more seasons together at this level.
It’s hard to argue against Adams being the best at his position right now, even when factoring in the advantage he has with Rodgers throwing passes to him. His route-running prowess makes him an easy target; lesser quarterbacks would do well throwing his way too. And remember: a few wideouts who would be included in this debate are Tyreek Hill (who has Patrick Mahomes), Stefon Diggs (who has Josh Allen), DeAndre Hopkins (yep, Kyler Murray), and so on. In fact, most of the league’s top wide receivers are playing with the NFL’s top quarterbacks. It goes hand in hand.
But there’s something different about Adams than the other guys. He’s uniquely fluid and effortless. He makes a 200-yard game look easy, and that’s how you know a player is truly special; when they can make the remarkable look routine.
It can be on a field-flipping play:
Or on a gorgeous release off the line of scrimmage:
And sometimes, it’s Adams just confirming he’s better than anyone who tries to cover him:
Rodgers summed up Adams’ talent best after Week 5’s win.
“He’s just so talented,” Rodgers said this week. “Even when you know that I’m probably going to him, he still finds a way to get open and makes a big catch and breaks a tackle. The guy is a special player. We hit him on some plays. We had some coverages we hadn’t expected or run those plays against the last couple of years. Hit that deep ball, hadn’t hit that type of reaction on that play since 2009 at Arizona. He’s such a talented guy. Got to find ways to keep getting him involved.”
It’s scary to think the Packers—and Rodgers—want to “find ways” to get Adams involved after targeting him 16 times. The next closest Packers skill player—running back A.J. Dillon—had just four targets against Cincinnati.
If Rodgers keeps feeding targets to Adams at this rate, he’ll have a real chance to break the NFL’s single-season receiving record. Former Detroit Lion and Hall of Fame wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, set the record in 2012 with 1,964 yards on 122 catches. He did it in 16 games. Adams is tracking for five yards more than that (with the 17th game). Some will argue that we’re in a new era of statistical records, and that’s true to some degree. But whether it’s 16 or 17 games, approaching 2,000 receiving yards is an incredible feat.
Adams said after the Bengals game that he wants to “snowball this momentum into next week,” which spells trouble for the Chicago Bears (Green Bay’s Week 6 opponent) that boast Jaylon Johnson and a collection of young and still somewhat untested cornerbacks in Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley opposite him. Another feast could be coming for No. 17, which will only strengthen the claim that he's the best at his job right now.
Adams is universally recognized as an elite wide receiver but it may be time to elevate the conversation and ask if he’s on a path to Canton. It’s still early in his career, and he has to remain healthy and productive, but at this rate, don’t bet against him wearing a gold jacket in the future.