Aaron Rodgers added four more touchdown passes to his league-leading total, but a quarterback who has been sacked 29 times this season added one more to that total following Sunday’s 31-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Rodgers sacked himself.
“That was probably my best play of the game, unfortunately,” Rodgers said of a caution-to-the-wind fumble recovery.
Does that mean you don’t think you played well?
“No, I didn’t throw it very well today. I threw it into the dirt and got Jordy (Nelson) hurt. I was off. It wasn’t one of my better games,” Rodgers said.
His stat line showed 14 completions in 30 pass attempts for 218 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 96.9 passer rating. For most quarterbacks, it would’ve been a great day, but Rodgers isn’t most quarterbacks. He’s the 2011 NFL MVP, arguably the best quarterback in the game.
“We had a chance to put the game away there and didn’t do it,” he said of a point in the third quarter when the Packers led 21-7, got an interception at the Arizona 17-yard line and had to settle for a field goal, got the ball at the 50 following a 20-yard punt and moved two yards in three plays.
That’s not Packers football. Last year’s Packers would’ve turned the game into a rout. Instead, following a 31-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald, the Packers found themselves having to make a goal line stand to keep Arizona at arm’s length.
“I have to play better. These are the kinds of games you can really put a team away. We didn’t do that. We need to do a better job of closing out games like this,” Rodgers said.
All of this can mean only one thing: The Packers still have a gear left to hit, and the goal coming out of their bye week will be to hit that gear in their final seven games of the season.
“I like where we’re at. We had some adversity early in the season,” Rodgers said.
He was probably alluding to something that happened in Seattle in Week 3. It was a bit controversial. Man, 7-2 sure would look good, huh?
“We have a lot of guys that can get back in the mix, and then we can really take off,” Rodgers said.
Nelson will go on the injury report now with an ankle injury to accompany the hamstring that caused him to miss a game. A hip injury sent Bryan Bulaga to the bench for the rest of the game, and Clay Matthews limped off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury that has dogged him since 2010.
What if all the hurts go away? What if Nelson and Jennings, a one-two receiving punch that carried the Packers to 13-0 a year ago, get back on the field together for the stretch run?
Here’s the big one: What if all of that happens and Randall Cobb continues his meteoric rise to stardom?
“Any time we get the ball in his hands, it usually turns out pretty good. He’s a weapon for us,” Rodgers said of Cobb.
Right now, he’s Rodgers’ favorite weapon. He’s the Packers’ leading receiver, the player who causes the most worry among Packers opponents.
“We have five division games. We have to go on the road for three of them. We kind of control our own destiny. We have a chance to make a run at the division title, which was our goal at the beginning of the season, get a home playoff game and go from there,” Rodgers said.
“We’re going to have to create a little momentum after the bye.”
He’s the guy who has to create it. Additional coverage - Packers vs. Cardinals