Packers’ push for playoffs ‘feels actually particular’ to Rodgers
GREEN BAY, Wis. — To suppose, Aaron Rodgers at one level this season needed to entertain the concept backup quarterback Jordan Love may end out the season if the Green Bay Packers have been simply enjoying out the string.
And that was barely greater than a month in the past.
The Packers had simply fallen to 4-8 after a loss on the Philadelphia Eaglesand Rodgers left the sport due to a rib damage. They have been on the verge of playoff elimination, their possibilities at 3%, in accordance with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index.
No marvel Rodgers wanted a second — seven of them, really — to collect himself earlier than he might clarify the way it all felt to be going through a win-and-get-in state of affairs subsequent weekend. Inexperienced Bay will host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Area of their regular-season finale subsequent Sunday.
“It feels actually particular, it does,” Rodgers mentioned. “It has been an attention-grabbing yr. It hasn’t been my finest soccer at instances, however I have been requested to step up my management and be somebody the blokes can depend on to maintain it collectively, even when it would not seem to be there’s something to play for or we do not have an opportunity to make a run. There’s been lots of particular moments all year long.”
The 41-17 house win Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings was certainly one of them. It got here 16 weeks after the Vikings blew out the Packers at Minnesota within the season opener.
It wasn’t a spectacular efficiency by Rodgers. In truth, there have not been lots of them. He accomplished simply 15 of 24 passes for 159 yards. He threw for one landing and ran for an additional. He has had precisely one landing go in every of the Packers’ 4 video games on this profitable streak. It is the primary time in Rodgers’ profession that the Packers have received 4 straight with him throwing for one or fewer touchdowns in every.
At no level this season did Rodgers situation certainly one of his signature proclamations equivalent to “R-E-L-A-X” or say that he thought the Packers might “run the desk” like he did in 2016, after they have been 4-6 and received out to get all the way in which to the NFC Championship Recreation.
“It did not look nice for some time,” Rodgers mentioned. “And I used to be resigned to a few of these realities being attainable. And once I took my thoughts there, I had a peace about it. I had a peace about all of it. No matter was imagined to occur, I used to be surrendered to that actuality — with additionally the resolute mindset that we might nonetheless get again on this factor. And I feel that is what I am most pleased with, for myself and our crew, is that there have been lots of various things that would occur, and we caught collectively and we put ourselves in place to do one thing particular.”
Rodgers mentioned one thing Sunday that he would not admit when the Packers have been 3-6, had misplaced 5 straight following the Nov. 6 sport at Detroit and have been a stretch of matchups that went Dallas-Tennessee-Philadelphia. However now he can say that he advised himself if they might simply win a type of three video games, they’d have an opportunity to go 9-8 and sneak into the playoffs.
Positive sufficient, they beat the Cowboys to finish the shedding streak however then adopted with losses to the Titans and Eagles.
“I had religion, very similar to at 4-6 I feel in ’16,” Rodgers mentioned. “Typically you have to idiot your self slightly bit into believing slightly bit extra.”
A great portion of the remainder of the squad adopted. A protection that was extremely touted however fell flat for many of the season has turned issues round to the tune of 4 takeaways in every of the previous two video games to associate with cornerback Jaire Alexander‘s near-shutdown efficiency of Vikings’ star receiver Justin Jefferson (one catch for 15 yards). After which there’s the emergence of returner Keisean Nixonwho had a 105-yard kickoff return for a landing within the first quarter Sunday.
“You’ll be able to sit there and preach no matter you need, however they have to purchase into it and that is a credit score to the blokes in our locker room,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur mentioned. “And I’ve at all times mentioned it and I feel [general manager Brian Gutekunst] and his workers do such an ideal job of bringing in excessive character those that in instances of adversity you discover out what you actually have, not solely from our coaches, our gamers, however actually everyone within the constructing. And I feel everyone caught collectively. I by no means felt at one level that there was any finger-pointing. So that may be a credit score to everyone in our group.”
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