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Adams’ quick recovery aids Packers

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) catches a touchdown against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (30) in the first quarter Sunday at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob Reischel

The Sports Xchange

GREEN BAY — On Sept. 28, Davante Adams remained motionless on the Lambeau Field grass for 4 minutes, 11 seconds. He was wheeled off on a stretcher, spent a night in a local hospital with head and neck injuries, and spent most of last week in the concussion protocol.

Amazingly, just 10 days after suffering a brutal helmet-to-helmet blow from Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan, Adams was back on the field and played hero for the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

Adams caught seven passes for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 12-yard score with 11 seconds left that gave the Packers a dramatic 35-31 win over Dallas.

“Yeah, God allowed me to come out here and play to the best of my abilities,” Adams said afterward. “Obviously it’s a great win for us and I’m just happy I came out healthy.”

Ten days earlier, it seemed unfathomable that Adams would be back this soon.

Adams was held up by safety Adrian Amos and leveled by Trevathan — a hit that earned the Bears’ linebacker a one-game suspension.

Amazingly, Adams was released from the hospital the following day. By the middle of last week, Adams was back on the practice field, and on Friday, he was cleared to play.

“I’m from East Palo Alto, California,” Adams said. “That’s how we get down.”

While Adams was downplaying his rapid return, his teammates were amazed.

“To have a hit like that 10 days ago and be back on the field and playing the way that he did and making plays across the board and finishing the game for us, that’s huge,” wideout Randall Cobb said. “I think that speaks to the level of toughness, mental toughness to be able to go through that and come out on the winning side.”

Adams was a huge reason Green Bay came out on the winning side against Dallas.

The Packers trailed 31-28 and began on their own 25 with 1:13 left. It took quarterback Aaron Rodgers just seven plays and 52 seconds to drive Green Bay to the Dallas 12-yard line.

On first down with 21 seconds left, Adams worked one-on-one against rookie corner Jourdan Lewis. Adams had a tiny bit of separation in the left corner of the end zone, but Rodgers’ pass didn’t have enough air under it and Lewis used his right arm to swat the ball away.

Adams came back to the huddle and had a message for his quarterback.

“I was going to call another play, but (Adams) came back and said, ‘Call it again,’’’ Rodgers said. “He said, with his eyes, he just said, ‘Throw a better ball.’“

Rodgers did.

For the second straight play, Green Bay lined three receivers wide right, stationed rookie running back Aaron Jones just to Rodgers’ left, and had Adams alone on the left. Dallas rushed three and shifted its coverage to the right to match up with the Packers’ wideouts.

For the second straight time, that left Adams alone with the 5-foot-10 Lewis, an ultra-competitive, but undersized player from Michigan. Adams got a clean release and had virtually the same amount of separation as the previous play. This time, Rodgers’ pass had more loft, Lewis turned his head too late, and Adams made a terrific catch and quickly got both feet down.

“I came back and let (Rodgers) know, I said, ‘Throw it again, let’s go back to it,’“ Adams said of his message between plays. “And he gave me that look and I was like, ‘Let’s do it again’ and he threw a perfect ball and I didn’t really have to do that much. It was just a little higher, and I looked a little earlier so I could locate it.”

Adams’ game-winning touchdown capped a remarkable afternoon that saw him pick up right where he left off in Green Bay’s offense.

On Green Bay’s first possession, the Packers drove to the Cowboys’ 10-yard line and had a second-and-8. Adams lined up wide right against speedy Anthony Brown.

Adams faked a slant inside, beat Brown to the right corner and hauled in a gorgeous fade pass from Rodgers.

“Well, there was no rust,” Adams said. “It was a couple of days’ worth of down time, but I was still in there working, still limited in practice. But I felt good, so I’d say if anything the first catch on the first play with us on offense was kind of like, I was able to kind of exhale a little bit.”

Adams is in the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent next March. On Sunday, Adams proved again why his combination of skill, toughness and heart could make him the top wide receiver on the free-agent market next spring.

Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins would have been the No. 1 wideout, but Hopkins signed a five-year, $81 million deal with $49 million guaranteed just before training camp.

Now, Adams, Philadelphia’s Alshon Jeffery, and Sammy Watkins of the Los Angeles Rams are generally considered the top wideouts of the 2018 free-agent class.

“You play to get a ring, so I’m not out here thinking about the money,” Adams said earlier this summer. “I’m just trying to play ball and do what I can to help this team out. All that stuff will take care of itself at the end of the year or whenever it does.”