Packers can’t waste a big night from Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is doing everything he can to power the Packers to a 4-0 start, but Green Bay’s special teams are undoing his efforts in the first half.

For years, the Packers’ chances of winning games have largely been defined by the play of their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Unless his teammates pick him up in the second half, Green Bay may be poised to waste a big day from their biggest star.

A last-minute drive from Rodgers allowed the Packers to head into the locker room down by a single point at the half. In truth, there’s no reason that Green Bay should be trailing the Eagles at all. If not for some poor special teams play and one offensive miscue  it’s easy to imagine how the Packers could be up multiple scores at the break.

A long kickoff run by Eagles’ rookie Miles Sanders led to one of Philadelphia’s touchdowns. Carson Wentz’s offense was also gifted great field position after Mason Crosby’s kickoff sailed out-of-bounds to set up another score. The Packers defense has struggled to keep the Eagles out of the end zone, but their special teams unit isn’t doing them any favors.

None of this can obscure the fact that Rodgers is having his best game of the season. He came out of the blocks red-hot and continued his fine play all the way through the first half. Any quarterback who goes 16-of-22 for 241 yards and a touchdown deserves to go into halftime with a lead. Rodgers did give Philadelphia a gift by losing one fumble, but that’s a small blemish on what has been a terrific half of football for the veteran quarterback.

Both teams have a lot to discuss at the half. The Eagles need to find a way to generate consistent pressure on Rodgers if they want to avoid watching their secondary being carved up for another two quarters. From the Packers perspective, they just need to tighten up what they are doing. Eliminating special teams errors and stiffening their defense against the run will be hot topics for Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff at the half.

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The fact that Rodgers has come out so hot should serve as a reminder that he’s still capable of putting up video game numbers when he enjoys quality protection. That’s a sobering thought for the rest of the NFC.

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