The Green Bay Packers lost to the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. That was stunning for a number of reasons. The Packers have absolutely owned the Lions for more than a decade with Aaron Rodgers under center, even when Detroit had a good team. This Lions team is not good. And yet, it emerged victorious over its hated rivals, 15-9.
It was even more stunning because of how Rodgers played. We all know the Packers have dropped the ball big-time in terms of surrounding Rodgers with effective weapons. The play-calling has been subpar. The offensive line has struggled with injuries, as has the defense. There are myriad reasons why the Packers aren't good this year that have nothing to do with Rodgers. But the benefit of having a great QB is that he can cover for most of those issues. Instead, Rodgers has been awful this year for reasons that have nothing to do with the construction of the team around him. The Lions game proved something is wrong.
Rodgers threw three absolutely terrible interceptions against Detroit. Two came near the goal line. All were completely avoidable.
The first came off a crazy ricochet that only happened because Rodgers side-armed his throw into a crowd of defenders. Unlucky, to be sure, but it wouldn't have happened if Rodgers threw it like a normal person instead of a Matthew Stafford impersonator. The second was the worst of all -- a lazy throw to an offensive tackle on fourth-and-goal that probably wouldn't have made it to its intended target even if Aidan Hutchinson didn't go up and grab it. The third was an underthrow on a post pattern that we've seen plenty of quarterbacks make, but not Rodgers.
So what's the deal? None of those picks were because his receivers sucked or he didn't trust them. They were just bad throws. The play-calling can certainly be blamed for the second INT but otherwise all these mistakes fall at the feet of Rodgers.
It's really bizarre. The arm strength is clearly still there. Rodgers has just ... lost a step mentally, I guess? It seems like he's dealing with a thumb injury but it hasn't impacted him to this extent before today.
Rodgers has been so good over the last few years that it's hard even now to definitively state he's washed. But the tape doesn't lie. The reigning MVP has fallen off a cliff.