Packer Perspective: Can Aaron Rodgers be stopped?
Can anybody stop Aaron Rodgers?
We are witnessing one of the greatest stretches of quarterback play not only by Rodgers himself, but any passer in NFL history. Over his past nine games, the two-time MVP has thrown 24 touchdowns and just one interception.
On the back of another Rodgers masterclass came the Green Bay Packers’ eighth consecutive victory, one that sends them to Atlanta for next week’s NFC Championship Game. The last time Green Bay played a postseason game in the Georgia Dome, Rodgers threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns and ran in another. Only five of his 36 passes fell incomplete.
Dom Capers stares at the daunting prospect of game-planning against Atlanta’s high-powered offense, but Dan Quinn faces an even bigger nightmare with Rodgers coming to town.
When in rhythm, there’s almost nothing you can do to stop him. Bringing pressure is risky business, but rush three and flood the secondary and Rodgers will patiently carve you open. Inside the pocket, outside or even throwing on the run, nobody throws a more accurate ball than No. 12.
It’s difficult to find a superlative fitting enough to describe Rodgers’ stunning 36-yard completion to Jared Cook. A play forever etched into the history books, but one made look easy with a simple flick of the wrist. As impressive as all three Hail Mary conversions, game-winning plays like this continue to define Rodgers’ legacy.
Sunday’s meeting with Atlanta promises to be a shootout with little defense from either side. Matt Ryan‘s career year continued with an emphatic victory over Seattle on Saturday, and the Falcons’ dangerous group of weapons on offense will give Dom Capers chills. Holding Atlanta under 30 points can be viewed as a good performance. It’ll be no easy task.
In reality, Capers’ defense just needs to do enough. As long as the football is in Rodgers’ hands early and often, the field will forever be titled in Green Bay’s favor.
Money Mason does it again
Of his 28 field goal attempts in the playoffs, only two have missed. Per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Crosby has now made an NFL-record 23 consecutive field goals in the postseason, adding to a record he set last year. Demovksy also noted Crosby is the first kicker to ever convert two field goals from over 50 yards in the final two minutes of a playoff game. Technically it was three, as one successful kick had to be retaken due to a Dallas timeout.
Talk about clutch. Crosby’s incredible record may never be matched. Time and again he proves he’s able to shoulder the pressure of an entire franchise and remain ice cool.
Crosby’s last postseason miss? Six years ago in Atlanta, the site of this week’s NFC Championship Game.
But keep that quiet.
Packers need to get healthy ahead of Atlanta
It wouldn’t be a Packers game without a few injuries to key players. Morgan Burnett exited the game early on and wouldn’t return with a quad injury. David Bakhtiari exited briefly with a knee injury, as did Davante Adams on a nasty looking ankle roll.
The fact Bakhtiari and Adams returned to the game is good news, although their status is worth monitoring this week. The Packers can ill afford to be without their All-Pro left tackle and breakout wide receiver, particularly if Jordy Nelson is forced to sit.
There would appear to be a good chance Bakhtiari and Adams will gut it out even if below 100 percent, but the status of Burnett and Nelson remains cloudy. At the time of writing there has been no update on Burnett’s status, although NFL Network’s Stacey Dales reported there’s a “chance” Nelson can play Sunday. For now his outlook remains iffy.
These four are core players at their respective positions, and Green Bay will need all hands on deck entering the Georgia Dome on Sunday.
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