In an instant Thursday Night Football classic, Aaron Rodgers and the short-handed Green Bay Packers made a statement win over the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
The hard-fought gave head coach Matt LaFleur a 33-7 record in his short career, which is the most wins in NFL history through a coach’s first 40 games. It also solidified the Packers as a real threat in the league and proved the win any way possible mentality that has brought the Pack to a 7-1 record and the number one seed in the top-heavy NFC.
Next Man Up
Every NFL team deals with injuries, but the Packers have been lost important contributors at absolutely key positions. Credit Packers GM Brian Gutekunst for creating a deep roster, as well as addressing positions of need in free agency. This off-season alone, the Packers front office added linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, receiver Randall Cobb, punter Cory “Bojo Blast” Bojorquez, and the hero of Thursday night’s game Rasul Douglas.
All four of the above-mentioned players made clutch plays for the Packers on the way to a victory over the Cardinals. The biggest of all was Douglas’ game-sealing interception of Kyler Murray in the end zone.
Douglas saved the Packers from a potentially embarrassing loss, as the Packers were unable to punch in a game-winning touchdown, and allowed the Cardinals to drive down the field starting from their one-yard line.
The Packers will have several players returning as soon as the next game, including All-Pros David Bakhtiari and Davante Adams. Getting 69 and 17 back would be huge for the Packers offense, who have found an excellent balance
Perfectly Balanced Offense
The Packers were without their top three wide receivers, but Rodgers was able to spread the ball around the field. While Rodgers did not have huge passing yard stats, he did toss two clutch touchdowns to his football bestie Randall Cobb.
While Rodgers and his make-shift pass-catching crew did an admirable job, the dynamic duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon dominated the contest. Dillon looked more like a freight train, as he ground out positive run after positive run. Dillon also showed a clutch gene, as he was able to secure first downs on short third and fourth down situations. Surprisingly the Packers did not stick with their winning run attack inside the five-yard line, which allowed the Cardinals to stick around.
The Packers also lost another key player in Arizona, as tight end and deep threat Robert Tonyan suffered an ACL tear after making a key grab. This will provide more opportunities for Josiah Deguara and possibly Dominique Dafney.
Rodgers vs. Mahomes…Or Not
The anticipated matchup will finally come to fruition as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
UPDATE: Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out of the game in Kansas City due to a positive COVID-19 test. It has been reported that Rodgers is unvaccinated, but was quoted in the preseason as being “immunized.” As a staunch and longtime Rodgers defender, this is a tough one. Rodgers is supposed to be the leader of the team and an example for his teammates. If he is unvaccinated, Rodgers should have been taking every precaution that is outlined in the health and safety protocols, which it seems as if he hasn’t. Rodgers has potentially endangered his team’s safety and health, which is inexcusable. Posturing about money and increased personnel input is one thing, but not being honest about health status in a pandemic is something else entirely. I hope that this somehow leads to an increase in player vaccinations and that Rodgers, the Packers, and everyone around them are healthy. Now back to football, I guess.
The Chiefs have had a slow start to their season, and sit with four wins and four losses. The biggest reason for the Chiefs’ struggles has been their lackluster defense. The talented QB and frustrating defense combination is a familiar one to many Packer fans. Mahomes has also seen a reversal in his interception luck and has thrown ten this season. The Packers have been able to create turnovers on their seven-game win streak and will need to once again.
Prediction: Packers get several players back from injury and stay competitive without Rodgers. Love tosses two touchdowns and both Dillon and Jones break off long scoring runs. Packers come close but lose 28-31.