Rodgers Returns: Did it Hinder Packers’ Playoff Chances

The weather isn’t the only thing cooling off in Green Bay this season as hopes of the Green Bay Packers making it to the playoffs and perhaps even finding success and winning a trip to the Super Bowl are now cooling as well and will have to wait for next year.

Aaron Rodgers has been an integral part of the Packers’ winning games this season as he has been able to lead their offense to come up with the points they needed to compensate for what some think of as a defense that is a bit lackluster.

Unfortunately for the Packers football organization and for their fans, Rodgers was injured around halfway into the season in an October 15th game against NFC rivals the Minnesota Vikings.

Following a controversial hit from Vikings number 55 Anthony Barr that many believe to have been a late hit after the ball was thrown, it was determined that Aaron Rodgers had suffered a broken collarbone on his right side and sat out the rest of the game.

Anthony Barr has since become something of a persona non grata in Green Bay, Wisconsin as many fans and members of the Packers blame him for in their eyes wrongfully putting a serious damper on Rodgers’ 2017 NFL football season.

Rodgers was then scheduled for surgery and physical rehab and was not expected to return until at the earliest the Dec 17th game against the North Carolina Panthers if the Packers were still in contention for an NFC playoffs spot.

Filling in for Aaron as starting quarterback while he recovered, was Green Bay Packers number 7, Brett Hundley.

Brett Had a rough time stepping into the offense to finish the game against the Vikings as he had not practiced with the offense at all that week.

He threw an interception, was forced to scramble, and was sacked all on his first drive after taking the field. While he eventually was able to lead the offense to the red zone and complete a 14-yard touchdown pass and tie up the score 7-7, he was not able to keep up with the Vikings and Green Bay ended up losing 10-23.

Hundley went on to play as the quarterback in the Packers’ next seven games and was able to find victory in three of them against the Bears, the Buccaneers, and the Browns.

Then came the Dec 17th game against the Panthers and Rodgers was cleared to play.

The Packers had a tough decision to make.

Should they start their stand-in quarterback Brett Hundley who had been struggling somewhat, or put in their star player Aaron Rodgers who hadn’t played for weeks,  was just coming back off of a shoulder injury, and whose health status was untested and unknown?

Considering the circumstances, and the playoff spot that was at stake it seems understandable why they went with the tried and true Rodgers, but it turned out that his injury and time off had hurt his ability to play at his normal level more than had been expected.

While Rodgers did play well in some ways, it became clear as the game went on that he was still rusty from the injury and time off, and his throwing arm was not performing at the level he needed it to be.

He threw a total of three interceptions in the game two of which seemed to be directly linked to his injury as they were badly under-thrown, and the Packers lost 24-31 and lost their chances at the playoffs.

This result leads some to wonder what might have happened if the Packers had decided to roll the dice and let Brett Hundley play against the Panthers and if he won, give Aaron Rodgers another week to heal and train, perhaps giving him enough time to come back in good form and continue Green Bay’s playoff dreams for the season.

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