Rodgers was off
Honestly, this is one of the worst games I remember seeing from Rodgers.
This loss isn’t only on him of course, but I can’t recall any contest where so much of the reasoning for why the team was defeated sits squarely on his shoulders.
Ignore the box score statistics; the yardage (294) and completion percentage (73.8%) were his highest of the year, but a decent portion of those came from garbage-time stat-padding.
It was particularly surprising to me that his completion percentage was so high in the end, because every pass seemed to be off-target. His ball placement was awful on numerous passes that are burned into my mind.
Most notably there were three passes where he could have found Randall Cobb for touchdowns –and he missed it every time. On two of those, Cobb got behind his man and would have had a free run to the end zone for an over-the-top TD catch; Rodgers either chose wrong on his angle or just missed him for both.
On the other, Cobb even got himself wide open in the end zone; all Rodgers had to do was drop it to him in a way just about any QB could manage, but he missed him well high with it. Besides those, we saw far too many passes placed behind his receivers, both in coverage as well as open space; a lot of yards were left on the field there due to the receivers having to make major adjustments to even have a chance at the catches.
It got even worse than just subpar ball placement, too: his poor decision-making led to multiple turnovers yet again.
We all saw that ridiculous interception. He made the sort of mistake a rookie might get caught in, throwing to a spot without paying attention to the coverage. The safety was just sitting there waiting, and a guy usually known for his preternatural ability to avoid bone-head plays put in right in his body.
He also put the ball on the ground twice, one of which was lost.
That one was also a pretty terrible decision, with Rodgers running a draw play but doing so in a very tentative manner. He didn’t even head right towards the end zone, leaving himself open to the exact type of hit which happened.
He neglected to secure the ball properly as well, making the fumble basically inevitable.
What might be most frustrating is that even despite all these errors, the team around him managed to do enough to keep the game close enough for a comeback attempt going into the 4th quarter, down 20-6 with the ball after an INT (Dak Prescott‘s first of the year!) which followed that fumble.
Of course, Rodgers proceeded to miss Cobb on that endzone shot alluded to earlier, the Packers kicked their third field goal to put the score at 20-9, and the Cowboys subsequently ground down a tired defense on their way to victory.
Everybody has a book of theories as to why it is Rodgers is struggling to this extent (my personal one eventually settled on waning athleticism). Whatever it actually is, he needs to figure this out before the fan base (and his team’s chances for the postseason) spontaneously combust.