"Money" Rodgers Earns His Stripes In Victory

Ryan CardarellaCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass as Alex Brown #96 and Marcus Harrison #94 of the Chicago Bears rush on September 13, 2009 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It was almost 2008 all over again for the Green Bay Packers Sunday night.

Then Aaron Rodgers showed why he is an elite quarterback poised to erase the late-game struggles of last season.

In a game the Packers likely would have found a way to lose last season Green Bay showed the toughness and resolve they often lacked in 2008, traits that Aaron Rodgers put on full display for a national audience.

With his normally sure-handed receivers dropping passes, Rodgers being uncharacteristically inaccurate at times, and his sieve-like offensive line surrendering pass-rushers all night, No. 12 took his beating like a man and refused to make the big mistake.

And then when it got down to money time, that is precisely what Rodgers was.


Unlike his counterpart Jay Cutler, who forced an alarming amount of passes and paid the price for his impatience with four costly picks, Rodgers took his hits and just kept balling.

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Cutler faded from the rush or tried to jam passes in as opposed to taking his hits, and it cost Chicago the game in a disappointing debut.

Not the smoothest of starts for the supposed missing link in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Rodgers stood in, waited for his moment, and seized it for the Packers with his cold-blooded strike to Greg Jennings on a third-and-1.

I love the mentality to go for the kill as opposed to settling for a long Crosby field goal, and that mentality starts with the confidence Green Bay now has in their quarterback.

A-Rod showed he could put up elite numbers last year, but the victories didn't accompany the gaudy stats. That's because the truest measure of a franchise quarterback is how he deals with adversity.

Rodgers dealt with off-the-field issues incredibly well last year but was unable to deliver consistently in crunch time on it.

Elite guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger find ways to win when everything is going wrong.

Big Ben rescued his Steelers Thursday night in a game where the Pittsburgh rushing attack got stuffed all night, and led them to victory against a tough Titans team.

Tom Brady tossed two touchdowns in the final 2:06 of last night's game against Buffalo after looking out of sync much of the night coming off of knee surgery.

And Manning has been willing the Colts to steal games they have no business winning for a few seasons by now.

Rodgers gutty performance against Chicago fits right in.

His stats (17 for 28, 184 yards) certainly don't stand out, but the way he persevered in the face of a relentless rush and emerged with a win certainly does.

Rodgers and the Packers took a big step towards fulfilling their preseason promise in their win over Chicago, even if things didn't go quite as McCarthy and his staff drew it up.

Let's just hope that offensive line doesn't make Rodgers prove how tough and poised he is every week.

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