Following the Green Bay Packers‘ humbling defeat in their season opener, Aaron Rodgers’ performance was placed under the microscope.
Was his offseason situation a distraction? Even worse, some accused Rodgers of deliberately trying to lose.
The drama continued prior to the Packers’ game with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that the 49ers were Rodgers’ “preferred destination” in a potential trade this past offseason.
Rodgers may have wanted to be traded to San Francisco, but on Sunday night he was a player determined to take down the 49ers. And he did just that.
Aaron Rodgers dominance leads Packers to thrilling win vs. 49ers
It was a classic battle with ups and downs between two rivals.
The Packers have had their fair share of heartbreaking losses to the 49ers in the Rodgers era. He was going to make sure this wouldn’t be another one.
Rodgers’ numbers were impressive. He went 23/33 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for a player many said was trying to play badly.
As all-time great QBs do, Rodgers saved his best for last. For most teams, the game would’ve been done once the 49ers took the lead with only 37 seconds remaining and no timeouts in the bag.
Not for Aaron Rodgers. Not against the 49ers.
All it took was two completions, both to Davante Adams, to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal.
It was this connection — Rodgers to Adams — that San Francisco’s secondary had no answer for. The two connected on 12 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. The final two receptions proved to be game-winning.
Rodgers’ reaction both after he spiked the football to set up the kick, and immediately after Crosby won the game, didn’t show a player going through the motions. Or a distraction. And certainly not a player intentionally playing badly.
Instead, it showed an MVP Aaron Rodgers determined to lead his team one step further than they were able to in Matt LaFleur’s first two seasons. In a tough road game on a short week, with a Packers team hit with injuries to key players, he placed the team on his back and put together a vintage Aaron Rodgers performance.