Saturday, the Green Bay Packers welcomed quarterback Aaron Rodgers back to practice. Sunday, a key component of whether Rodgers would actually return to the field came down to overtime. The Packers had tied their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with just over two minutes to play. After winning the coin toss in overtime, it was quarterback Brett Hundley’s legs, not his arm, that helped get the Packers into scoring position. That led to Aaron Jones’ only carry of the game, which resulted in a game-winning 20-yard touchdown run to give the Packers a much needed 26-20 victory.
The Hundley-coaster continues
Three weeks ago, Brett Hundley looked to have finally become a stable replacement for Aaron Rodgers. The following week, Hundley regressed and the calls for his benching resurfaced. Last week, Hundley played his best game as a pro, throwing for three touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As for today, the wild ride continued. Hundley finished the game 13 for 22 for a whopping 84 yards and one interception. Luckily for the Packers, Hundley’s legs kept the game alive and helped deliver a victory.
Rookies continue to run wild
During Rodgers’ absence, the Packers have relied heavily on their running game, most by rookies Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. In his first game back since suffering a knee injury against the Chicago Bears, the Packers waited to use Jones until overtime. The wait paid off, as Jones’ only carry resulted in the winning touchdown. Jones’ rookie counterpart did his part as well. Williams had 21 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown. Williams also had a big 12 yard reception in overtime, which was followed by the Jones touchdown. If Rodgers is allowed to come back in two weeks, this rushing duo could make the Packers offense almost unstoppable.
A pass rush sighting?
It’s no secret the Packers defense had made fans hold their breath every time they take the field. While their secondary has had issues, their pass rush has failed to get a hand on the opposing quarterback. Then Sunday happened. Clay Matthews played like a man on a mission, sacking Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston two and a half times. Kenny Clark had the biggest sack of the game, as he forced a Winston fumble that landed in the lap of Dean Lowry, who took the ball 62 yards for a big man touchdown. In all, the Packers managed to sack Winston seven times. The pass rush finally got home.
With the victory, the Packers move to 6-6, leaving them two games behind the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks for the two NFC wild card spots. In potentially the last game before the return of #12, the Packers will travel to face the winless Cleveland Browns. The Browns might be winless, but have some good players. The following week, the Packers will face the Panthers. If they hope to keep their playoff dreams alive, looking past the Browns would be deadly. The return of Rodgers is on the horizon. Beating the Browns is one step to making sure that happens.