Coming into their Sunday Night game at 2-3, few gave the Packers a chance against the undefeated Texans. With Rodgers it's been worse, as he had been sacked 21 times and has thrown four interceptions.
This even caused ESPN's Ron Jaworski to give some explanations as to why Rodgers was struggling, stating:
"I don't think Rodgers has had a 'calm head' to this point of the season, a product -- I believe -- of the pummeling he took in Seattle in Week 3. He has been quickly going from side to side in his reads and seems unsure and rushed in his progressions, which leads him to miss some reads and causes his mechanics to break down when pulling the trigger. All of it adds up to inaccurate passes to his open receivers and at times some forced throws into coverage."
One would think that nothing would change this week against JJ Watts and the Texans, and that Rodgers would continue to seem "unsure and rushed" while his "mechanics broke down."
Instead, Aaron Rodgers became the Aaron Rodgers from the last two seasons.
He was even asked by Michelle Tafoya "What do you think you told the critics tonight" following the game. His only reply: "shhh."
Rodgers dominated the Texans offense, going 24-of-37 for 338 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. His quarterback rating for the evening was 133.8, as the Packers wound up ending the game far earlier than anyone would anticipate.
Even more astounding is the fact that Rodgers did this on the road, in a stadium that has become one of the toughest places to play in the league. If you saw the beginning of the game, then I'm sure you noticed the excitement of the crowd as Houston was making it's first appearance on NBC's Sunday Night Football (they have been on Sunday Night back in the ESPN days, and have made plenty of appearances on Monday Night Football on ESPN).
But by the third quarter, the crowd was silenced. Part of that falls on the Texans for their putrid performance, but Rodgers helped in killing that crowd.
That sounds like the mark of an MVP.
The biggest problem for Green Bay this season has been protecting Aaron Rodgers, though it must be noted they had to face some of the toughest defenses in the NFL. Their first two weeks saw the 49ers and the Bears, and though the Packers managed to split the contests, both defenses managed to give Rodgers a tough time.
The Seahawks defense manhandled him in the infamous "Last Supper" game for the replacements refs, and Rodgers seemed shakier as a result, not trusting in his offensive line like he had in years past. Jermichael Finley's season hasn't helped out much either.
But Rodgers showed himself to be a winner yet again on Sunday night. He was only sacked twice and J.J. Watt didn't have one tipped pass. In fact, this was a quiet evening for Watt even though he recorded both of Houston's sacks.
This win was an important one, and likely saved the Packers' season. Green Bay's schedule becomes more manageable after this week, and they still have three games against the Vikings and Bears with a victory against the Bears already in the bank. The Packers can still win this division, and make an impact in the playoffs.
So is Aaron Rodgers back? Only time will tell. However a victory against Houston is a great place to start.
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