Rodgers' return spurred Packers' playoff run
When Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion and had to miss most of two games in December, it looked as if the Packers' playoff hopes had been knocked for a loop. They had survived injuries at running back, tight end and on defense and gotten by without several star players, but in those two games without Rodgers, they lost and were on the brink of elimination with two games to play.
What happened• Well, Rodgers came back playing better than he ever has, and now the Packers are in the NFC Championship Game against the Bears this afternoon. The winner will advance to the Super Bowl and face either the Steelers or Jets.
For Rodgers, sitting out those two games — he was injured early in the game against the Lions at Detroit and sat out the following game at New England — was hard to take. But it is part of what has driven him and the rest of the team to where they are now.
He said the most difficult days were the Wednesday and Thursday while prepping for New England when he wasn't even allowed to stay at the team facility.
"I came in and they sent me home," Rodgers said this week. "I've never been sent home from work before. I've been sent home from school before, and that's a lot of fun, but you get sent home from work, it's tough. ... I think I just had a renewed energy when I came back the next week just to enjoy it that much more and realizing that a lot of times, the practice kind of goes by my energy and my enthusiasm."
In the four games since he returned, Rodgers has been remarkable. He's completed 93 of 128 passes (72.7 percent) for 1,179 yards, 11 touchdowns and only one interception. And in two playoff games, he has joined the big names in the penthouse.
A win today would certainly impress the co-op board that decides who gets the key to that level.
"I think he's definitely the quarterback we all hoped he would become," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of Rodgers' recent play. "He's in a great rhythm right now. He's playing his best football of his career at this point, and that's what you want, especially this time of year. He's definitely a big-time quarterback. He's everything we hoped he'd be."
Just how effective has Rodgers been in the last two weeks• Consider this stat: In the red zone during the playoffs, Rodgers is 12 for 12 for 102 yards and six touchdowns. He has a 134.5 passer rating in this postseason.
"The way I prepare, the time I put in, I expect to play well, and that doesn't always happen, obviously," Rodgers said. "Sometimes I make poor decisions, throw the ball not as well as I want to, defense out-schemes us or makes plays out there. But the last couple weeks, I've played the kind of football I think you need to play to win playoffs."
Maybe that knock to the head against the Lions was more of a blessing than anyone realized at the time.
"I just wanted to make sure that I brought everything to the table and didn't take it for granted," Rodgers said of his mentality after coming back from the injury. "It was tough to miss a game. When you go from being a backup for three years to the starter, you just relish those opportunities. And when it gets taken away from you, it's just really tough to not be able to get back in the game."
Rodgers is back in the game now.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Big names become available this week via free agency; will Steelers be tempted?
- Steelers’ decision for NFL Draft: Pass rusher or cornerback?
- Steelers restructure Gilbert, Mitchell contracts; Pouncey close
- Steelers’ Harrison announces desire to play one more year
- Gorman: Steelers botch Big Ben’s negotiation
- Depth a concern for Steelers’ Colbert