Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers' clunker in Green Bay Packers' blowout loss raises eyebrows
Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers' clunker in Green Bay Packers' blowout loss raises eyebrows

Updated Sep. 13, 2021 2:04 p.m. ET

After a tumultuous offseason for the Green Bay Packers ⁠— in which the future of superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers was very much up in the air ⁠— the start of the regular season followed suit.

The Packers were blasted 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in their season opener, which was moved to Jacksonville, Florida, due to the effects of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.

After the game, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said the Saints "absolutely embarrassed us today" and noted that he and his team would need to take a "long, hard look in the mirror." 

In Rodgers' postgame news conference, the reigning MVP pushed back a bit when asked about his coach calling the loss an embarrassment.


"I mean, I'll let him use those words, and I'll use ⁠— it's just one game," Rodgers said. "We played bad. I played bad. Offensively, we didn't execute very well. One game, we've got 16 to go. … This is hopefully an outlier moving forward. We'll find out next week."

An outlier, particularly in the case of Rodgers, might be an understatement.

Including Sunday's game, he has thrown two interceptions with zero touchdowns in only three of his 191 regular-season starts.

His final stat line against the Saints — 15-for-28 for 133 yards, two picks and a 36.8 passer rating — ranks as one of his worst starts as a pro, and the 35-point loss is the largest deficit he has been handed in his 17-year career.

Green Bay's defense didn't exactly cover itself in glory, either, giving up a whopping five passing touchdowns on 14-of-20 passing from the indefatigable Jameis Winston

But no matter where the bulk of the blame lies, this isn't how Green Bay would have chosen to kick off the season, especially given the soap opera of the offseason.

Ahead of the loss, Rodgers admitted that he thought the Packers would trade him in the offseason. 

"Yeah, I did," he said in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports' Erin Andrews. "Because they wouldn't commit to me past 2021. So I figured if they wanted to make a change, even though I just won MVP, why wait?

Aaron Rodgers on considering retirement last offseason: '100%…it was a possibility'

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat down with Erin Andrews ahead of the 2021 season to discuss his eventful offseason and his standing with the Packers organization.

How big of a factor did the turbulent offseason play in Sunday's performance? 

As Nick Wright of "First Things First" put it Monday, it's difficult to separate the irregular offseason from the irregular on-field product.

"I think it would be foolish for us to act like those two were totally unrelated events," Wright said. "The most likelihood is that one at least slightly contributed to the other." 

For more up-to-date news on all things "First Things First," click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports app!

Just how unexpected was the steamrollering at the hands of the Saints on Sunday?

Both Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless of "Undisputed" had trouble wrapping their minds around the outcome.

Sharpe said the game defied explanation.

Bayless called Rodgers' goose egg on third down "incomprehensible."

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On ESPN, Stephen A. Smith had some strong words for Rodgers, saying the QB looked "a bit lackadaisical" against the Saints. 

"I'm going to say something that I don't say about too many professional athletes," Smith said. "… I'm just talking about the optics, how it looked. It looked like he didn't care. He looked like he did not give a damn about how he played or how this outcome ended up being."

But while nothing exacerbates concerns quite like a blowout loss, there now exists the possibility of a blowout win to get things back on track.

Next week, the Packers take on the Detroit Lions, against whom Rodgers is 17-5 with 46 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his regular-season career.

As Rodgers put it Sunday, "This is a good kick in the you-know-where to hopefully get us going in the right direction."

The precedent is there for the Packers to bounce back, too. 

In Week 6 last season, Rodgers put up a clunker against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a marquee matchup, completing just 45.7% of his passes for 160 yards, two interceptions and a 35.4 passer rating.

In his 11 regular-season starts following that loss, Rodgers completed 73.3% of his passes for 2,925 yards, 35 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 127.4 en route to an 11-3 finish and a return to the NFC Championship Game.

The Packers will have to wait a bit longer than usual to prove whether or not they can correct course, with the 0-1 Lions on the docket for a Monday Night Football clash.

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