By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan //@LucyRK78
The minute we saw the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints on the schedule, we knew we were in for a true primetime game. The first real test for the Packers brought the meeting of two legendary quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
Both headed for the Hall of Fame, they have faced equal scrutiny over the past few seasons with fans wondering “where has THE Rodgers been?” and “is it time for Brees to hang up the cleats?” Adding to the nervous excitement of the game was the fact that both teams would be without their stars, as wide receivers Michael Thomas and Davante Adams were sidelined.
I will always point to previous head coach Mike McCarthy as one of the reasons I believe Rodgers had become a bit stagnant. If you’ve been reading my articles over the years, you know I was never a huge fan. And while things didn’t change overnight when Matt LaFleur took over the position, it was clear that there was a change in our quarterback. Rodgers was more confident and almost seemed happier and “THE Aaron Rodgers” began to come back.
Rodgers himself said what we’re noticing; when asked if the addition of first-round pick quarterback Jordan Love provided him with the biggest motivation for this season, he told Rich Eisen of “The Rich Eisen Show,” “If anything, it’s almost the opposite, I’m completely at peace with where I’m at with my career.”
This was especially evident this past Sunday night as he outplayed Brees and made a couple of the “only Rodgers can do that” plays we have been waiting to cheer for again. I know I’m not the only one that’s been replaying that seemingly effortless flick of the wrist 48-yard pass to WR Allen Lazard! Without even fully setting his feet, Rodgers threw the ball with unparalleled accuracy and ball placement. Later in the game, Lazard was relied upon again when the two connected on a 72-yard pass.
The rumblings of “Is Rodgers past his prime?” need to officially be laid to rest. Sunday night alone, Green Bay’s star quarterback completed 21-of-32 pass attempts for 283 yards, three touchdowns, and is still yet to record a turnover.
On the season, he has now completed 71-of-106 pass attempts (67.0%) for 887 yards (8.4 yards per attempt), nine touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 121.1 passer rating. The Packers are the first NFL team to score 35 or more points and not have a turnover in the first three games of the season. Easily, Aaron Rodgers is off to one of the best three-game starts to a season of his career.
The Saints (1-2) entered this season as one of the NFC favorites to make the Super Bowl. With the victory, the Packers have put themselves in a tier above New Orleans. Currently, the NFC North title is Green Bay’s to lose. Yes, the Chicago Bears are also 3-0, but the Pack has the advantage – especially with so much uncertainty as to who the Bears starting quarterback will be week to week. **Editors Note: At press time, Nick Foles has been named the starting quarterback.**
The 3-0 Green Bay Packers will host the 0-3 Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 for Monday Night Football.
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