The last thing the Green Bay Packers wanted on Monday night was to engage in a battle of backup QBs with the Chicago Bears. That's where they wound up, though, after Aaron Rodgers exited early with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. The Packers first announced that Rodgers' return was questionable, then downgraded him to out.
Green Bay went on to lose the game, 27-20.
Veteran Seneca Wallace took Rodgers' spot in the lineup -- Wallace was the only other quarterback on the Packers' roster entering Monday. His last regular-season appearance came on Jan. 1, 2012, as a member of the Cleveland Browns. In that game, a 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh, Wallace completed just 16-of-41 passes for 177 yards and an interception.
The Packers would have taken those numbers. Wallace totaled a mere 114 yards passing Monday, with a key interception. He ended the game by taking sacks on successive plays, as Green Bay attempted to drive for a tying touchdown.
Rodgers' injury occurred on a 3rd-and-goal play at the end of Green Bay's initial drive. Chicago's Shea McClellin caught Rodgers as the Packers' quarterback attempted to scramble to his right and drove him hard into the ground. Rodgers' left shoulder hit the ground first, and he came up in obvious pain.
After spending a few moments talking to the team's training staff and attempting to throw some warm-up passes, Rodgers jogged to the Green Bay locker room.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy had minimal information during his postgame press conference on Rodgers' status. McCarthy said only that Rodgers had a shoulder injury, and that team doctors "want to run more tests ... they don't have an exact diagnosis."
He did add that the Packers hope to have more information Tuesday. The team's next game is Sunday, Nov. 10, against Philadelphia.
The last full game that Rodgers missed came at the close of the 2011 season -- the now-infamous Matt Flynn showcase performance, in which Flynn threw for 469 yards against Detroit while Green Bay rested Rodgers for the postseason. Flynn also was the fill-in quarterback when Rodgers suffered a concussion during a 7-3 loss to Detroit in 2010. Flynn dropped a 31-27 decision in New England the following Sunday.
Flynn departed as a free agent the following offseason, leaving Green Bay without a proven backup in 2012. They scrambled to find one again prior to 2013, and Wallace eventually claimed the job, beating out the likes of Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman and Vince Young. The Packers may have to bring back one of those QBs (or another free agent) if Rodgers is unavailable moving forward.
But it appears that Wallace would stay the starter in that scenario, and McCarthy made it clear that the Packers need more from Rodgers' replacement.
"Aaron takes a lot of reps through the week, Seneca's probably on the low side of backups," McCarthy said. "There's nothing like live reps and I think that was evident tonight." The Bears were on their No. 2 quarterback for the game as well. Their normal starter, Jay Cutler, injured his groin during Chicago's last game at Washington, forcing Josh McCown into action. McCown performed admirably on Monday, finishing with 272 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns.