Packers’ season looks drained after Aaron Rodgers’ three-pick performance against Detroit

All the Green Bay Packers needed was a solid play from Aaron Rodgers to defeat the NFL’s worst team by records on Sunday. However, three interceptions against a historically poor Detroit Lions defense may have been the nail in a team’s coffin on a five consecutive games without defeat and falling further and further away from playoff contention.

“Yeah, I got (expletive) throws, sure,” Rodgers said of his first three-pick performance since 2017.

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The first two interceptions were among the worst of Rodgers’ career. The Packers were threatening to score on the first two drives until a pair of misplaced balls from the quarterback resulted in no points for the offense.

The first was arguably the most glaring. During the first series, the offense exhibited one of the best drives of the entire season to reach Detroit’s 5-yard line. But instead of getting the ball to AJ Dillon at first and first base, Rodgers looked for his primary target Allen Lazard by running into the end zone. Lazard may have had a step on his man, but Rodgers’ pitch was so bad it wouldn’t have mattered. The ball’s trajectory was behind the receiver and low, and ended up bouncing off linebacker Derrick Barnes’ helmet and into the air to the safety of Kerby Joseph at the corral.

“He probably should have checked that play, put the ball back in or adjusted the course,” Rodgers said.

The second drive from Green Bay was also productive. A quick three and a takedown from the defense put the ball back in Rodgers’ hands. It all looked promising when Rodgers connected with Lazard on a 47-yard catch and run that nearly reached the end zone if not for Lazard’s knee hitting the ground a little too early.

The Packers had four plays to pick up a yard. Recalling Week 5 against the New York Giants, they failed to do so despite flipping the script and handing the ball to their 247-pound running back not once but twice. Dillon failed to pick up a yard on two attempts, while the second attempt featured miscommunication between Rodgers and Sammy Watkins. Watkins ran obliquely as Rodgers expected a fade as the ball traveled towards no man’s land in the corner of the end zone.

This set up a fourth down and another turning point. Green Bay decided to go all out with left tackle David Bakhtiari flagged as an eligible receiver. Once the ball was broken, Rodgers faked a pass to Dillon while Bakhtiari slipped away from his blocking mission to a vacant spot in the end zone. However, when a Detroit defender immediately crossed the line, Rodgers was forced to throw his back foot. Still, the pass only needed to travel 10 yards. It went five and into the hands of Aidan Hutchinson.

“There were only two options on the game, but I probably should have given it a chance. I will definitely have to live with that pitch for the rest of my life with our friendship,” Rodgers said.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Rodgers cost his best friend Bakhtiari a rare left tackle touchdown by compounding the mistake with another teasing pick.

After going scoreless in the first half against the NFL’s most scoring defense, Green Bay saw a glimmer of hope when Jaire Alexander intercepted a pass from Jared Goff. The takeaways set up the offense with a short 35-yard field to finally secure their first points in the third quarter. Unfortunately, it only took two plays for Rodgers to return the ball immediately. Again it was Joseph, this time leaping past Robert Tonyan to intercept his second pass of the game.

A three-steal game is uncharacteristic of Rodgers but emblematic of the Packers’ season. This team has struggled to play complementary football all year, and Sunday was another perfect example. When the defense puts on a solid performance, the reigning back-to-back MVP squanders it. But even after a third giveaway, that won’t stop you from facing a team as helpless as Detroit.

Either way, Green Bay still had a chance to win with one last practice and two minutes on the clock. Rodgers did just enough to make it interesting with an unlikely 32-yard fourth-yard completion against Samori Toure, who fumbled the ball out of bounds on the Lions’ 17. Rodgers’ direct incompletions.

The latest series embodied the one step forward, two steps back approach that Green Bay has shown throughout 2022. Whenever something good happens, something terrible will soon follow.

Very quickly, it turned into a cursed season for the Packers, but the disappointment following a 15-9 loss to the Lions is still not enough for Rodgers to want him to retire in the offseason.

“When I decided to come back, it was all-in. I don’t make decisions and then, looking back 20-20, I have regrets about big decisions like that. So, it was all-in. -in, and for sure that’s a lot of life lessons this year, but luckily it’s not over. There’s still a lot of games left. We’ll probably be counted by many, and we’ll see how we react .

Sure, there are eight games left, but probably not enough to save the Packers’ season. There’s almost no room for error going forward, and it may take a run-the-table Rodgers-like stretch to stay in the conversation for the playoffs. But anyone who has watched this team knows a turnaround is not imminent. In fact, it’s just a pipe dream, especially with the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys preparing to travel to Green Bay in what will be Mike McCarthy’s first game since being fired in 2018. In many ways , starting with Rodgers’ poor play, it feels like he never left.

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