Sunday brought the return of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Even though he said he wasn’t, Rodgers returned to save the season and keep the Packers’ playoff hopes alive. The first stop on the comeback tour was in Carolina, facing a Panthers team also fighting for their playoff life. Barring a miracle, the comeback lasted one week as the Packers fell to the Panthers 31-24.
To say Rodgers looked rusty would be accurate. After missing eight weeks, a little rust was to be expected. Early on, Rodgers was not showing his pin point accuracy that we all have been spoiled with. Whether it was a little miss high, wide, or a few in the dirt, Rodgers did not have his “A” game.
For the first time since 2009, Rodgers threw three interceptions. On all three interceptions, Rodgers underthrew the intended receiver. On one of his interceptions, Rodgers failed to lead a streaking Randall Cobb, who probably would have scored on the play. Instead, the Panthers picked off the pass. Along with the interception, the Packers suffered a huge blow as receiver Davante Adams got concussed after a helmet-to-helmet hit on a blind side block by Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. The injury to Adams forced Geronimo Allison into the game, who fumbled the football on the Packers final drive of the game.
With the negatives did come some positives. Rodgers took some hits, but was able to extend plays with his feet. On his touchdown pass to Cobb, Rodgers avoided pressure, moved to his right and got off the pass just before he got shoved to the ground. It was not classic Rodgers performance by any means. But it was enough to give the Packers a chance up until the end.
Moving forward, the Packers are faced with the decision whether to keep Rodgers under center. If the Atlanta Falcons win Monday night, the Packers’ playoff hopes vanish. Even if the Falcons lose, the Packers would need a laundry list of things to happen in order to keep their eight year playoff streak alive. While it would be a show to see Rodgers face the team that broke his collarbone in the Minnesota Vikings, the risk vs. reward can’t be looked at lightly. It might just be time to start preparing for 2018.