GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers did not play well Sunday. Well, at least that’s how the Packers’ quarterback viewed his own performance in the 31-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and finished with a 96.9 passer rating. He also scrambled five times for 36 yards. But the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player wasn’t satisfied with completing 14 of 30 pass attempts for 218 yards.
“Passing, it was bad,” Rodgers said after the game. “I wasn’t on today. I didn’t make a lot of good throws. I have to play better. I just wasn’t in a great rhythm. I made a couple decent throws for touchdowns, but it wasn’t one of my better games.”
Many NFL quarterbacks wouldn’t think of a four-touchdown game with such negativity, especially after a win. But Rodgers’ high self-expectations are all part of the mentality that’s helped him ascend to the top of the league at the most scrutinized position.
“I put a lot of time into it, I care about it, I prepare to be successful every week,” Rodgers said. “I’m going to be real critical of this game and try to find ways to do better. You can’t have the kind of missed throws that I had today and expect to be able to win consistently in those division games.”
Rodgers also blamed himself for wide receiver Jordy Nelson suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter.
“I threw it in the dirt and got Jordy hurt,” Rodgers said.
Nelson, who hasn’t practiced in two weeks due to a hamstring injury, did not return in the game after hurting his ankle.
The only two plays that Rodgers was pleased with was his fumble recovery — in which he dove into a pile to grab the ball — and a 25-yard run.
“Those two I’ll be thinking and smiling about tonight,” Rodgers said. “That (fumble recovery) was probably my best play of the game, unfortunately. No joke.”
That play, however, was coach Mike McCarthy’s least favorite.
“I wasn’t a fan of it,” McCarthy said of Rodgers putting his body on the line to recover the ball. “It scared the hell out of me, frankly. When I saw him dive in there, I just thought the worst. I think it tells you about him as a football player, which I obviously have great respect for that. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, but I get paid to worry and I was worrying.