Minnesota Vikings 23
Green Bay Packers 10
The Packers travelled to Minnesota for another division rivalry matchup in what turned out to be a game where the score could not have possibly mattered less, en route to a 23-10 loss that drops the team to 4-2 on the season.
From this game, there is only one narrative that really matters though, and that’s the loss of Aaron Rodgers for the season to a broken clavicle as the result of an unnecessary late hit from Vikings scumba…I mean linebacker, Anthony Barr.
Keys To The Game
Rodgers has broken his collarbone before. We all remember 2013 surviving on a diet of Matt Flynn and Seneca Wallace for 7 games while Rodgers recovered before returning for the de facto NFC North title game versus the Bears. This is a different beast however. When Rodgers rolled right out of the pocket against the Vikings it was a horrible confluence of poor circumstances. The injured line that had no hope of holding up against a tenacious Vikings pass rush, the decision to roll right not left, all have conspired to make this worse than 2013. That injury was to his left side. This time however the break is in his throwing shoulder, essentially dashing all hope of a return during the season as Rodgers heads off to surgery this week.
The throwing shoulder injury won’t be as quick to return from so people should be realistic about no heroic return for the playoffs from Rodgers. At this point we need to just hope a 33 year old QB can return to his usual otherworldly form when he is back next season.
As a result of the Rodgers injury, the hopes of the Packers season now rest with how Brett Hundley can steer this team from quarterback. If we look at Hundley’s stat line from Sunday (18 of 33 for 157 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT) this does not initially bode well. I feel that given the situation however, we can essentially brush that performance aside. He was a backup QB thrust into the lineup with no preparation, against one of the leagues premier defenses, behind a Swiss cheese offensive line, in a team that had just had its metaphorical heart torn out on the field.
From what we’ve seen in Hundley he definitely has the tools to succeed in this offense if a few alterations can be made. I’d like to see a few more play designs installed that help to release early open reads for him to settle in in the first proper game with which he will have adequate preparation against the Saints this coming week. Two of his three interceptions came on plays where there was a mild bit of panic as no early reads came open and settling him in with this early in the game could allow him the confidence as the day progresses to flash some of that big play potential we’ve seen from Hundley in the preseason.
Currently sitting at 4-2, if Hundley could manage to haul this team to 4-6 over the next 10 games there’s an outside chance the playoffs could be made and then whatever happens can happen. That relies as much on Hundley as it does on the team around him finding a way to become healthy however.
I feel like I write about injuries every single week at this point. In all my years of watching football I have never seen a team have this amount of unbelievably bad luck when it comes to guys getting hurt. This week the Packers went into the game with the same mish-mash offensive line due to various injuries, with John Ulrick eventually in at right tackle after being plucked from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, and picked up more during the game as Lane Taylor was rolled up on. The Taylor injury looked like it might be serious and McCarthy is yet to update on his condition. The team was also without its number one and two cornerbacks in Davon House and Kevin King, and lost corner Quinten Rollins during the game who has now been placed on IR, as well as temporarily losing Randall.
This left Capers with only two cornerbacks for a large portion of the game on a defense that was struggling to contain Case Keenum to begin with. On top of that along the defensive line both Nick Perry and Mike Daniels are less than 100% and playing hurt.
The bye week really cannot come soon enough, as this team is going to need all the help it can get as it tries to deal with a season without Aaron Rodgers.
1. I am not always McCarthy’s biggest fan, but after watching his no-holds-barred presser yesterday that strikes me as a man who truly believes he can right this ship with Hundley at its helm and, you know what, I believe him.
2. If you think Kaepernick, the indisputably best free agent QB on the market who threw for 14 TDs and 6 INTs on a team with 8% the skill position talent of Green Bay, isn’t better than Callahan and therefore worth kicking the tyres on I don’t know what else I can say to you about football.
3. I think at this point it’s safe to say the Randall and Rollins picks were busts. The lack of effort with which Randall plays is shocking, seemingly shored up by the unearned confidence of being in the right place to grab deflections in the last couple of weeks. This team can’t get King back soon enough.