Yeah, we hyped up the Packers in our way too early picks for the Super Bowl. But who could blame us? With the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers after a collarbone injury last year put him out of commission, people (um, us) are thinking the Packers have a chance at a great season in 2018. Here’s a look at what Week 1 and Week 2 have running through our minds…
Last week, the Packers pulled off an epic comeback in their rivalry game against the Bears. This week, the Packers had us wondering if Rodgers would even play.
During Week 1, Rodgers struggled early on as the Bears ran the score up 10-0. He was sacked by 294-pound Robertson-Harris and his left leg extended beneath him. As he tried to walk off, he grabbed his knee and fell back to the ground. After some tests in the locker room and a determination that he wouldn’t further injure his knee if he continued to play, Rodgers returned to the field where he went 17 for 23 and racked up 273 yards. He wasn’t sacked again as he led the Packers in a 24-23 comeback. Talk about playing through the pain.
“This is what we’re paid to do,” Rodgers said after the game. “We’re paid to deal with injuries and play through them. That’s what everybody’s doing and will be doing throughout this season. That’s the measure of a teammate, what are you willing to put on the line? To me, it’s a no-brainer. Being out there is special.”
But it was the post-game interview that had people scratching their heads. After that injury and impressive performance, Rodgers seemed a little off. Did he take a few pain pills beforehand? Was he high? Did he suddenly develop a southern accent? He is from California, right? (Seriously, watch it. At least up until the part where he shouts “my KNEE!” a little too loudly.) Either way, Rodgers was clear about one thing: “I’m playing next week.”
But Packers fans were a little concerned to say the least. And the team kept us in suspense with whispers that Rodgers wouldn’t be ready to play in their game against the Vikings. Reports suggested it was simply a sprain, but even so, we weren’t sure if Rodgers would play until Sunday. For a moment, it looked like fans’ hopes might be shot down early, despite reports that Rodgers had no ligament damage.
His injury last season occurred in a game against the Vikings, so it would be a little ironic if he couldn’t play them on Sunday. After last week’s matchup, would Rodgers be able to lead the way again?
But he showed up with a knee brace on to start in the game at Lambeau Field. During the first quarter, fans held their breath as their beloved quarterback seemed to take his time getting up from a sack. Was he really okay to play? But Rodgers later made a 7-yard run for a first down and everyone sighed in relief. Though clearly feeling less than 100%, he finished 30 for 42 with 281 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Even with one good leg, Rodgers still performs like an elite quarterback. As if there was any doubt…
However, the biggest controversy of the game occurred when Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was penalized for roughing the passer, a debatable call that spoiled a Packers’ interception and granted the Vikings another set of downs. Kirk Cousins led his team to a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game.
With 31 seconds remaining, Rodgers got the ball on the Packers’ 25-yard-line and drove his team 45 yards in four plays, leaving it up to Mason Crosby to make 52-yard field goal to win the game. Crosby couldn’t convert, but Rodgers had nevertheless given his team a chance to win the game… and that’s his job right?
In overtime, he only had one possession, managing one first down. Neither team was able to score.
Despite Rodger’s solid performance, the game finished in a 29-29 tie. It was a wild four quarters and scoreless overtime with a bitter ending. But at least we know that an injured Rodgers is still better than most. We’ll just have to see how he (and his knee) performs next week against the Redskins.