From the first drive of Sunday’s NFC playoff divisional match up between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, it was clear that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t 100 percent. Though Rodgers led the Packers down the field for a touchdown, scoring first in the game on that initial drive, it was clear that he was hesitant to leave the pocket.
The calf injury that Aaron initially suffered versus Tampa Bay before Christmas, the calf that Rodgers re-injured against the Detroit Lions last week, the calf that bore the weight of the 300-plus pound Ndamukong Suh to the tune of a $70,000 fine for the infamous Lion, that calf was bothering Aaron to the point that he was hopping and hobbling throughout the entire game at Lambeau field yesterday.
After that initial, successful drive, the Packers were only able to complete a single field goal before the end of the second quarter, and ended up trailing the Cowboys at the half, 14-10. Initially, the second half didn’t start off much better. Though the Packers’ offensive line did a better than usual job of giving Rodgers great protection and lots of time in the pocket, when the Cowboys’ defensive line did break through, Rodgers elected to throw the ball away when he normally would have been able to scramble to buy some more time.
Regarding his calf and its recovery, Aaron says he will play next week, and beyond.
“I think I’ve got 120 minutes left in me. So I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I can play all those minutes.”
Two games – or 120 minutes – means that Rodgers is ready to play next week in Seattle, and if they win there, in the Superbowl itself.
Rodgers and the Packers pulled things together in the second half against the Cowboys. Aaron dialed into his receivers at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, finding Richard Rodgers in the end zone, and completing a number of clutch 3rd down passes. Of course, what everyone is talking about today is the challenge flag thrown by Packers Coach Mike McCarthy in the closing minutes of the game, a challenge that was won by the Packers. The ruling canceled out a tremendous catch by Cowboy Dez Bryant, and effectively sealed the game for the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay head to Seattle next weekend for the NFC championship game. The two teams met in the first game of the season, when the Seahawks routed the Packers, 36-16.
[Image via Fox Sports]