The Green Bay Packers ran into a buzz saw in New Orleans Sunday night. The Saints have been struggling of late, starting the season (2-4). Drew Brees and company were due for a shootout. Neither punter entered the game; how’s that for a visual.
The Saints won at home 44-23.
The Packers scored first, on a 70 yard bomb from Rodgers to Randall Cobb. The Saints came right back with a bomb of their own to rookie sensation Brandin Cooks. The two high-octane offenses traded field goals heading into halftime.
It looked like Green Bay would take the game over in the third quarter when they stopped the Saints on downs at midfield. A-Rod and Eddie Lacy drove down the short field into the redzone. Then, everything changed.
Momentum suddenly swung when Rodgers scrambled for a first down and tweaked his hamstring. After running out of bounds, he started reaching for the back of his left leg. He tried to shrug off the pain, but was noticeably limping on his way back to the huddle.
One would think, just hand it off and let Lacy punch it in. But Rodgers threw a ball incomplete and his footwork was not the same. Rodgers did not look comfortable in the pocket at all.Davante Adams stopped his route deflecting the ball to Corey White for the easy pick.
Next thing you know, his clean streak of 212 passes without an interception snapped. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1.
Off a couple deflections, the Saints picked off Rodgers twice. He stayed in the game despite an obvious injury and the Packers drowning in quicksand. Brees was surgical throwing for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Mark Ingram could not be stopped as he ran for 172 yards all over the last ranked run defense of Green Bay. There was no chance of a comeback as the Saints scored four second half touchdowns to pull away.
Ironically, the last Packers’ score was by Rodgers on a 14 yard run. Any normal day, he would’ve pulled a “Discount Double Check”, but not this time. He had all the room in the world most likely because the Saints thought they don’t have to spy him anymore. Still, Rodgers was clearly hurting despite the touchdown scamper and 418 yards passing.Rodgers could barely escape the pressure.
Rodgers’ limited mobility is a huge part of his game; not only rolling out but his ability to hover and escape pressure inside the pocket and deliver pinpoint rockets. All of the sudden, he couldn’t step up the same, and it’s very unusual to see Aaron Rodgers throw off his back foot.
The good news is the Packers have a bye week coming. Rodgers did say he won’t miss any time, but it sure helps to have an extra week to heal and prepare for the Chicago Bears.
Sitting at (5-3), in second place behind the Detroit Lions, Green Bay will need to come back at full strength and hit the ground running.