Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers limp into bye week


Most believed that the Sunday Night showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints would be a shootout.

Those people were obviously as conned as I was about the strength of the Packers defense, coming into that game.

I found myself actually wishing for the end of the game. It was too painful to watch.

To say that the 44-23 loss to the Saints last night was embarrassing – would be quite an understatement. I think it would have been much different had the loss not wholly occurred in the second half of the game.

The Packers defense completely fell apart in quarters three and four.

Through the first half of the game, Rodgers and Brees went toe-to-toe, matching score after score until they took it to the locker room deadlocked at 16 points.

Adjustments were made – but the Saints was the only team that came out ready to execute on those adjustments.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver

Brandin Cooks

catches a touchdown past Green Bay Packers cornerback

Tramon Williams

during the third quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Packers defense has been characteristically bad against Drew Brees in the past. Including last night’s performance, Brees has put up 300-plus yards in each of the last six meetings against the Packers; however, this loss felt much different.

Neither team was forced to punt, but the Saints made use of every single drive, where the Packers drives ended in turnovers three times, once in the red zone.

Rodgers was working on an NFL streak and record of his very own Sunday night: to be the first NFL QB in history to throw for 3-plus touchdowns and zero interceptions in more than 4 games. That streak had potential last night, but two deflected passes (off the hands of Andrew Quarless on the goal line and Davante Adams on a stopped route) put an end to Rodgers’ proficiency run.

Rodgers was injured at the beginning of the fourth quarter, ending whatever chances the Packers had at making a run at the Saints after the half.

After a great fourth down stop at midfield, the Packers offense made their way down into the red zone, Rodgers carried the ball out of the pocket and toward the sideline for the first down. He pulled up awkwardly and immediately reached for his left hamstring.

He knew (and everyone else knew, as well) that something was wrong.

He was afraid to run or plant that left foot and his third down toss into the end zone for Andrew Quarless was deflected and intercepted. That started a downward spiral for the Packers defense that just looked worse and worse as the game wore on.

I found myself actually wishing for the end of the game. It was too painful to watch.

The coaching staff, the offense … heck, even the defensive unit themselves didn’t have faith that they could stop Brees and Mark Ingram. You could literally see the defeat in their eyes. Guys were giving up on the play, they were whiffing on open field tackles and it took an entire Packers defense to bring Ingram down multiple times in the open field.

It was horrendous.

What started out as a very promising game, turned into a nightmare quickly.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a touchdown during the third quarter of a game against the Green Bay Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated Packers 44-23. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Blown coverage was the name of the game; and Brees and the Saints took advantage of every single mismatch on defense that they could.

On a night where the Packers and Aaron Rodgers expected (and would have supremely benefited from) the typical Rob Ryan blitz packages, they were surprised (though, should they have been?) to get base coverage, double high safeties and tight man-to-man for most of the night. Nothing seemed right after halftime … and the score reflected it.

The Packers will spend the next two weeks licking their wounds and preparing for another stretch of NFC North Division games. The bye week is coming at a good time, as Rodgers is clearly going to be nursing a hamstring injury and the presence of Sam Shields was sorely missed for the past three weeks.

The Green Bay Packers have one goal coming off this embarrassing loss in primetime: To get healthy and GET IT TOGETHER.