Perhaps it was fair to be concerned with the Green Bay Packers following an offseason of drama and a Week 1 blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints, but Aaron Rodgers says the team is on its way following Sunday's 30-28 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
"The energy in the locker room postgame, that felt like a win," he told reporters. "It was such a growth moment for us. I'm really happy for the guys to feel that, and it feels like now we're on our way."
So long as Rodgers plays for Green Bay, the Packers will remain playoff contenders given his overall individual brilliance, which was on full display in Sunday's comeback win.
Green Bay had zero timeouts when the 49ers took the lead with a mere 37 seconds remaining. That's a nearly impossible situation for most quarterbacks, but Rodgers calmly improvised in the pocket and found Davante Adams for two long passes to set up Mason Crosby's game-winning 51-yard field goal.
Rodgers finished 23-of-33 passing for 261 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions and has the Packers atop the NFC North at 2-1 through three games.
He was unstoppable against a San Francisco secondary that was dealing with multiple injuries and immediately established a rapport with Adams while completing his first 12 passes. His best throw may have gone to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though, after the 49ers climbed back into the game and had the momentum in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers responded by floating a pass over the second level of San Francisco's defense right into the corner of the end zone for a waiting Valdes-Scantling.
That it was only upstaged by his own passes on the final drive feels almost unfair for the 49ers and all future opponents who have to deal with him. Given his comments, it may have been a galvanizing moment for a team with enough talent to compete for a Super Bowl crown.
It's Lombardi Trophy or bust in Green Bay after losing in back-to-back NFC Championship Games, and the Rodgers who took the field Sunday is more than capable of making that a reality, especially if the Packers are only going to grow from here.