Aaron Rodgers answers critics, carves up Eagles: Final score, 6 things to know
The Packers snap their four-game skid with a convincing 27-13 win in Philly
The first half of the 2016 NFL season provided everyone an opportunity to wonder what was wrong with Aaron Rodgers . The answer is simple: nothing.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback has been increasingly impressive over the past few weeks, culminating in a virtuoso performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 27-13 Packers win on Monday night.
This was a must-win situation for Green Bay and Rodgers emerged early as if he understood the stakes. He marched the Packers down the field for a pair of first quarter touchdowns to Davante Adams .
Check that second touchdown pass. The window Rodgers put the ball in was about the size of, well, a football.
Nolan Carroll probably could have intercepted it. The confusion is whether Rodgers was too accurate with the ball, putting the ball too close to the defender.
The pair of touchdowns gave Rodgers 17 since Week 8, the most of any quarterback in the NFL.
Rodgers finished the night 30-for-39 for 313 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, looking as sharp as ever. It was reminiscent of the beginning of 2015, when Rodgers was carrying the Packers on the strength of his quarterbacking skills alone.
On third down alone, Rodgers was 8-for-9 passing while the Packers converted 10 of 14 for first downs.
Make no mistake: there is no defense on this Packers team and there is not a real rushing attack. The offensive line is one of the better units in the league and the receivers are talented. But this is the Rodgers show, and the Packers will go as far as he can take them.
Here are five more takeaways from Monday night's game:
Let's talk about Carson Wentz
The full production from Eagles rookie Carson Wentz on Monday night probably isn't going to look that good. There were multiple moments where he was both knocked around, sacked, intercepted and otherwise looked like a rookie.
But you watch Wentz play and it's hard no to be excited for the future. The dude can spin it and he has that look -- the same sort of poise that Dak Prescott has for the Dallas Cowboys just without the offensive line full of All-World players to protect him for 10 seconds per play.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz has been pressured on 11 of his 32 dropbacks so far, but LT Jason Peters has allowed none of them #GBvsPHI— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 29, 2016
He's sneaky athletic, which is a huge plus for escaping that pressure:
But he doesn't throw the ball down the field very much. Part of that is by design and part of that is because of his receivers. But when he does, it doesn't always end up well.
Wentz and the Eagles might struggle down the stretch. They're now 5-6 and fading from the playoff hunt. But there should be hope for the long haul when it comes to the Eagles, because Wentz looks capable of emerging into a franchise quarterback.
Ye olde truck stick
The Packers defense is bad and part of the reason is the absence of Clay Matthews . The Samsonian linebacker was on the field again to start against the Eagles, but he didn't stay out there long, after taking a massive shot from Allen Barbre while trying to chase Bryce Treggs down on an end around.
Matthews exited the game shortly after to be evaluated by trainers for what was reported to be a shoulder injury but re-entered the game later in the first half after emerging from the locker room.
Just a week after looking utterly lost on Sunday night against the Washington Redskins in Washington to start the game, Green Bay bounced back nicely on their first possession against a better defense in Philadelphia.
Aaron Rodgers and Co. opened up punt, punt, punt in D.C., but came out firing in Philly, going 75 yards on 10 plays in a crisp drive that lasted 5:09 and resulted in a Rodgers' touchdown to Davante Adams.
Rodgers rushed for 25 yards on the drive and threw for 47 ( James Starks accounted for the other 3 yards on the ground), spreading the ball around to five different receivers and only missing on one passing attempt.
It was the sort of drive we expect to see from Rodgers to start a prime-time game -- he certainly hasn't looked bad the past few weeks, but the Packers' slow start has put them in a rough position with their defensive troubles.
Tiny little tent
One of the funnier moments, at least from a social media perspective, was Rodgers disappearing into a tiny little tent on the Packers sideline.
This shouldn't be that weird, because NFL sidelines are wide open in terms of exposure. There should be some privacy, if one wants to have work done or if one needs to, ahem, relieve himself.
Pay no attention to the man in the MYSTERY TENT pic.twitter.com/kMUIdwqoKk— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 29, 2016
And yet everyone was worked up about the tent.
Olivia Munn was inside that tent telling Aaron Rodgers who he can and cannot talk to.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) November 29, 2016
@dhm "Let's go back to Lisa. Lisa?"— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) November 29, 2016
"Well, Aaron Rodgers has placed a 'No Girls Allowed' sign outside the tent. Back to you."
Aaron Rodgers is a host and goes into the tent for reprogramming— Jimmy Donofrio (@JimmyDonofrio) November 29, 2016
The Packers are now 5-6 and a very interesting potential playoff team. Their defense isn't any good -- like, at all -- but Rodgers can carry this team. They're two games back of the Detroit Lions and one game back of the Minnesota Vikings , but get both teams to close out the season. Running the table isn't out of the question because of Rodgers, although him being injured is a major red flag as well. To be clear: it's a long shot but it's still a shot. The Packers head home to play the Houston Texans in Week 13.
The Eagles also fall to 5-6 and drop below the Packers in the playoff seeding because of their head-to-head matchup. They also are a long shot to make the playoffs, but it feels like a much tougher task because of the division. Winning the NFC East isn't mathematically impossible, but one more Cowboys win would eliminate the Eagles in the division. The Eagles travel to Cincinnati to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13.
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