Rodgers and Packers hit new low: ‘We’re truly underdogs’


Cameron Hogwood

Interviews, Comment & Analysis @ch_skysports

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers conceded his team are ‘truly underdogs’ for the rest of the season after their shock defeat to the Detroit Lions on Sunday; Rodgers threw three interceptions in the loss as Green Bay fell to 3-6.

Last Updated: 07/11/22 10:48am

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers was picked off three times in their fixture against the Detroit Lions

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Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was picked off three times in their fixture against the Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was picked off three times in their fixture against the Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are dangerously close to a famous “run the table” rallying cry having run its race, with Sunday’s 15-9 defeat offering up a new low to their spluttering 2022 season.

The Packers have now lost five straight for the first time with Rodgers at quarterback since 2008, their reigning back-to-back MVP throwing a tied career-high three interceptions to bring his tally on the year to seven – his most since 2016.

A nine-point, three-pick outing came against the runaway worst defense in the league, which this week fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant following a five-game losing streak, as well as capping a week that saw the trade deadline pass without any additions to a broken offense despite reports of a strong run at Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller and former Pittsburgh Steelers now-Chicago Bears receiver Chase Claypool.

By Sunday evening star running back Aaron Jones, promising rookie receiver Romeo Doubs and young cornerback Eric Stokes were exiting Ford Field in walking boots due to injuries picked up during the game.

The script had perhaps reached peak ugliness when social media pondered a Vontae Davis-type half-time retirement after two red zone picks, before a third prompted ‘Jeopardy!’ (Rodgers once hosted it) gags. Rapper Lil Wayne even chimed in by suggesting Green Bay should have parted with their iconic passer prior to the season.

Highlights of the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions from Week 9 of the NFL season

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Highlights of the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions from Week 9 of the NFL season

Highlights of the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions from Week 9 of the NFL season

Rodgers cut a dejected figure as he tried to process a setback that leaves their season on the brink of capitulation with no return.

“I’ve been counted out many times in my life, as have many of my team-mates,” he told reporters. “I hope we just dig deep and find a way.

“We will truly be underdogs for many games moving forward, hopefully we can embrace that.

“We have two games at home, we’ve got to go win those two games and then this thing looks a little different.”

Rodgers, who agreed a four-year $200m contract extension in March but lost top weapon Davante Adams, was asked if he regretted his decision not to retire during the offseason, one reporter suggesting he looked ‘miserable at times’ against the Lions.

“I think that’s an exaggeration,” Rodgers responded. “Frustration and miserability are two different emotions.

“When I decided to come back it was all in and I don’t make decisions and in hindsight have regrets about a decision like that.

“I was all in and this is a lot of life lessons for sure this year. But luckily it’s not over, there’s still a lot of games left, we’ll be counted out probably by man and we’ll see how he respond.”

The Packers sit 3-6 in an NFC North led by the Minnesota Vikings ahead of a meeting with a 6-2 Dallas Cowboys side fresh from a bye week, while head coach Matt LaFleur finds himself having to field questions over whether he is considering a change at quarterback.

“No, no,” was the whispered reply to the latter.

“We’ve got eight games left and we’ve got to take it, we’ve got the Dallas Cowboys coming into Lambeau,” he said.

“They’re riding high right now, playoff calibre team, stars all over the place, we’ve got to get back to work, come up with a better plan to put our guys in a better position and go out and battle at Lambeau.”

Rodgers finished the game 23 of 43 passing for 291 yards, a 20-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard and three of the most face-scrunching picks of his career.

The first of his three interceptions came on the five-yard line in the first quarter when a dagger intended for Lazard ricocheted off the helmet of Derrick Barnes and into the waiting hands of safety Kerby Joseph in the end zone. The second arrived on fourth-and-one at Detroit’s one-yard line in the second quarter as he attempted to find left tackle David Bakhtiari, only to instead pick out rookie edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, and the third piled onto the Packers’ woes while trailing 8-0 in the third quarter as Joseph struck again at the Lions’ three-yard line to deny a pass to Robert Tonyan.

What followed was an animated Rodgers on the sideline in an image that somewhat typified the frustration of his season thus far.

“Yeah, I had some s***** throws, for sure,” Rodgers said. “You know, the kid [Joseph] made a nice [pick] down the middle, but the other two, I probably should’ve just checked out of that play and handed the ball off or adjusted the route on the first one. And then, yeah, I was just a little off balance and threw a bad one to Dave (Bakhtiari) in the back.”

LaFleur’s Packers are in unfamiliar, unthinkable territory behind their all-powerful quarterback, hobbling with a stagnant offense and staring at the increasingly-likely prospect of a January without playoff football.

“I’m sure he’s extremely frustrated as we all are,” LaFleur said of his dejected signal-caller. “I don’t think we’ve been in this situation, I know since my time we haven’t been in this situation, I don’t think he’s been in this situation too many times throughout his career. It’s disappointment and frustrating but I think we can all probably do a better job of controlling that frustration.”

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