KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Aaron Jones has his individual goals written on the mirror at his apartment back in Green Bay. Nowhere on it does it say anything about becoming the first Packers running back since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to have a game with at least 150 yards as a receiver.
But his list does include touchdowns.
After Jones set career highs in receiving yards (159 on seven catches) and touchdown catches (two) in Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs — and in the process became just the fifth running back in the last 30 years with at least 150 yards and two receiving touchdowns – he leads the NFL in total touchdowns with 11, one more than Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey.
“No, it’s not a surprise to me,” Jones said. “That’s one of my goals. I write down my goals there on my mirror at home, so you’ve just got to keep working towards that. Should’ve had two more. Got called back.”
The three goals on his mirror are: lead the league in total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and receiving touchdowns. He currently can check off the first of the three, and he’s second in rushing touchdowns.
“Maybe not leading the league in touchdowns, but he’s pretty talented,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said when asked if he envisioned that from Jones. “I think the scheme is obviously giving him opportunities to do a lot more out of the backfield. We’re splitting him out and throwing the ball to him. We kind of caught lightning in a bottle a couple times. We hit him on a 50-yard slant and go and then hit a screen pass for 70 or whatever. He’s a talented guy. Very proud of him and Jamaal, those guys have got a bunch of touchdowns this year. They’ve got to be feeling pretty good.”
In between Jones’ two touchdown catches, he went to the locker room for X-rays on his shoulder that turned out to be nothing more than a scare.
Jones totaled 226 yards of offense and combined with fellow running back Jamaal Williams for three touchdowns — all receiving.
“They’re studs, man,” Packers center Corey Linsley said. “They’re showing up everywhere — receiving, rushing, blocking. We knew both of them could rush and block and now they’re kind of triple threats, if you will.”
What’s more, Jones capped his record-setting receiving day with an 8-yard catch to covert on a third-down that allowed them to run out the clock. Usually that would be a run call but, as Rodgers said: “The consensus was let’s throw it to Jonesy. That says a lot about the kind of player that he is.”
For Rodgers, it was his first game with three touchdowns to running backs, and the one to Williams — a 3-yarder in the back of the end zone in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24-24 — looked like a desperation heave. Rodgers rolled to his right to avoid pressure and was hit as he threw.
“That was one of the best, if not the best pass I’ve ever seen live, in person,” LaFleur said. “That was incredible. I couldn’t believe it. Just a great play because he was under duress, too. I think he, I know he ended up on the ground. But credit to Jamaal man. He kept working for him and it was just one of those plays that kind of leaves you speechless.”
Even Rodgers wouldn’t say definitively whether he was throwing for Williams or tight end Jimmy Graham.
“I was actually throwing a ball that I thought maybe Jimmy could go up and get if he wanted to and, if he didn’t, the guy behind him might be able to get it,” Rodgers said. “Luckily, the guy behind him got it.”
Williams claimed he and Rodgers locked eyes before he threw it, but Rodgers could barely see him.
“I’m not sure if we locked eyes; that’s probably a little bit of a stretch, but I did see him,” Rodgers said. “The wind probably helped out a little bit on that one.”