Coming off a rare pedestrian performance, Aaron Rodgers is seeking a rebound – something he doesn’t need as badly as the San Diego Chargers do.
Rodgers looks to return to his stellar ways and keep the Green Bay Packers undefeated Sunday when they host a Chargers team trying to regroup from a final-play loss.
Green Bay (5-0) kept rolling despite an error-prone effort from Rodgers against St. Louis at Lambeau Field last week. He was intercepted twice, snapping NFL-record streaks of 587 pass attempts and 49 touchdown throws at home without an interception, and also lost a fumble.
Despite that and a stagnant rushing attack, the Packers’ defense was enough to earn a 24-10 victory, the club’s 11th straight at Lambeau.
Green Bay is 5-0 for the first time since 2011 and the second time in Mike McCarthy’s 10 years as coach.
”To turn the football over three times and still win, have a decisive victory at home by 14 points, that tells you something about your team,” McCarthy said. ”We want to be a football team that can beat you a number of different ways. That’s been the goal since April. We’re making steps toward that.”
The Packers had no answer for Rams rookie Todd Gurley, who rushed for 159 yards on 30 carries, but they intercepting Nick Foles four times. One was returned 45 yards by Quinten Rollins for Green Bay’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
The Packers’ resurgent defense has eight interceptions (tied for second in the league) and 20 sacks (second) while ranking seventh with 316.4 yards allowed per game – down from 346.4 last season, in which it finished 15th.
Green Bay, though, hasn’t faced an opponent ranked higher than 15th in total offense this season.
The Chargers (2-3) completed Week 5 third on that list with 410.0 yards per game and second in passing with 318.0. Philip Rivers threw for 365 yards Monday, only to watch Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell finish off a wildcat run by lunging into the end zone for a 24-20 win with no time left on the clock.
While the Packers hold a 2 1/2-game lead in the NFC North, the Chargers are struggling to keep up with AFC West-leading Denver at 5-0.
”I just think the message for all of us is just that there’s no time (for), ‘Poor us. Gosh, a play here, a play there, we should’ve won that game. Look how close it was,’" Rivers said. ”There’s no time for that because the place we’re going, they will run us out of the stadium if we don’t go there ready to play. The team we’re going to next week is – again, I’m not stacking or comparing teams – but you’re going into an undefeated team that doesn’t hardly ever lose at home. We know we got our hands full, so we’ve got to go in ready to roll.
"And yes, do I feel like we can go in there and win the game. Sure, it’ll be tough, but I think we can.”
The Packers are 33-2 in their last 35 at Lambeau.
The Chargers are 1-9 all-time against the Packers, their win coming at Green Bay on Oct. 7, 1984. Rivers was the quarterback for the last two matchups, the most recent a 45-38 shootout in San Diego on Nov. 6, 2011.
San Diego has recorded at least 347 passing yards three times this season, and Rivers has hooked up with top receiver Keenan Allen 39 times for 444 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers has thrown 10 touchdowns but been intercepted five times.
"Philip Rivers is an outstanding quarterback, and his command at the line of scrimmage … he does a good job of getting the ball to his key people," McCarthy told the Packers’ official website. "I’m very impressed with their receiving corps. This is a big challenge."