By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan //@LucyRK78
Green Bay Packers 24 – Chicago Bears 23
I am definitely feeling the effects today from the lack of oxygen I experienced when I stopped breathing last night during the Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers game. When quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a knee injury in the first half, the only words I could muster were, “You have to be joking.”
It looked like the Packers’ season was over just as it was beginning. There are injuries, and then there are “the cart is coming out” injuries. Only a handful of players have ever left the game on the injury cart to return. And none have launched a comeback like Rodgers did in Green Bay’s season opener.
Rodgers was injured when Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris fell on his left knee after a second-quarter sack. Rodgers stood up, tried to put weight on his left leg and then hit the ground. Finally, Rodgers (barely) was able to walk off the field on his own. He spent a very long ten minutes in the sideline injury tent before being carted off the field in the second quarter.
At this point, the Pack was already down 10-0. From the start, the game was painful to watch, as the Chicago Bears outplayed the Packers on each down. As predicted, LB Khalil Mack was running all over Green Bay, ripping the ball from QB DeShone Kizer’s hands, picking off a screen pass and giving the Bears a touchdown and 17-0 lead.
Rodgers miraculously returned to the game in the third quarter, facing a 20 point deficit. He then led the Packers to an almost impossible-to-achieve 24-23 victory over their biggest rival, the Chicago Bears. Aaron Rodgers proved Sunday night that as long as his arm is fine, he can play on just one leg.
— The Ringer (@ringer) September 10, 2018
I dare you to find another player in the NFL that has the power that Rodgers showcased when he connected with receiver Randall Cobb for a catch-and-run through the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown and the go-ahead score with 2:13 left in the game. This was the longest receiving touchdown of Cobb’s storied career.
Rodgers tied the largest comeback win of his NFL career, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It equaled the rally from down 20-0 in Week 13 of 2015 at Detroit — the Hail Mary game that I KNOW you all remember.
You keep hoping that off-season additions make a difference. How many years has it been now that Green Bay’s record has been overly dependent on Rodgers? Once again, this was proven true Sunday night. When Rodgers goes down, so do the Packers. There has to be a way that the 52 other athletes on the roster can strengthen this team.
Did other players do well in the season opener? Of course. Kicker Mason Crosby completed his only field goal attempt and made all three of his extra points. There just are seemingly more causes for concern, than celebration. Cough, cough linebacker Clay Matthews.
When Rodgers is healthy, Green Bay wins. I stand by what I’ve been saying for years, he is easily one of the best (if not THE best) players in the entire league. Perhaps a bigger highlight than the comeback win?
Hearing Rodgers tell Sports Illustrated, “I’m playing next week.”
Talk Packers with Lucy on Twitter @LucyRK78