Aside from missing half of the season last year because of a fractured collar bone, Aaron Rodgers has been one tough guy – and that came to the fore today when it was discovered that he had been sick all week with a respiratory illness and then soldiered through today’s game after injuring his calf early in the game.
It was enough for backup quarterback Matt Flynn to start warming up … a sight that sends shivers through most.
Rodgers has taken some hellacious hits over the course of his career, but has been able to walk away unscathed.
Today he put a scare into Packers Nation when his calf took a hit and tightened up on him.
It was enough for backup quarterback Matt Flynn to start warming up … a sight that sends shivers through most of us.
Despite his illness and injury, Rodgers still completed 31-of-40 passes for 318 yards, a single touchdown and a 108.1 passer rating. Those are numbers that were a great improvement over the worst outing of his career last week when he completed just 17-of -42 attempts, threw a couple of picks and didn’t have a touchdown pass.
Captain Aaron Rodgers smiles on the sidelines against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Green Bay Packers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports photograph
His quarterback rating last week was also in the low thirties – a number that’s unheard of in the Rodgers era.
While many expected him to come out and light it up today, Rodgers quietly put up numbers for which many quarterbacks strive. For Rodgers, these numbers are nearly pedestrian.
However, his toughness and desire to stay in the game was important to the Green Bay Packers. He knew he had to be there for the team in this must-win game that resulted in the clinching of a playoff spot.
One of the first questions the MVP QB fielded in his post-game press conference was his feeling about being available next week.
“Yeah, I’ll be OK for next week. I hurt my calf pretty good. I just tried to push through it,” he said.
That’s good news for Packers Nation as they will be on pins and needles when the nasty Detroit Lions visit Lambeau Field for the NFC North Division title.
The Packers will be in the same position they were in last year when they traveled to Chicago for the NFC North title.
It took a fourth down bomb to Randall Cobb to win that one … and while we all hope that it doesn’t get to that point, it’s clear the Packers will be in a dogfight and will need a healthy Rodgers under center for a shot at a fourth straight division crown.
Not only will they clinch the division title, but with a win next week they will clinch the number two seed and at least one home playoff game – and the way a healthy Rodgers and the Packers have played at home, that’s a good thing.
Rodgers’ toughness didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates and especially by his head coach.
Mike McCarthy had this to say:
"“The last couple of days, you’ve seen what kind of warrior he is. Really gritty performance by Aaron.”"
Yes, Rodgers is tough. We saw that today.
Now he’s got to take on one of the toughest defenses in the entire league next week.
It will be a huge challenge, but with Rodgers under center Packers Nation knows that he will take every punch by the Lions and match it.
Should be a lot of fun.
Stay tuned …