Packers coach Mike McCarthy noncommittal on Aaron Rodgers’ status
Immediately after his heroic performance in Green Bay’s 24-23 comeback victory over the Chicago Bears Sunday night, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers declared he would play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I’m playing next week,” Rodgers told NBC’s Michele Tafoya after missing some of the first half with a left knee injury.
But Packers head coach Mike McCarthy put some doubt into that prediction Monday morning,
“We’re still collecting all the information on his specific situation,” McCarthy said. “I know Aaron wants to play and is driven to play, but that’s all I have right now.
“I briefly had a chance to talk with Aaron and we’re still getting all the information. We have some information but no decision has been made.”
McCarthy offered no clue as to when a decision would be made.
Rodgers was carted off the field in the first half after suffering the knee injury.
He missed the rest of the half, and at halftime McCarthy thought he would be playing the second half with backup quarterback DeShone Kizer.
“Frankly at halftime we were preparing as an offensive staff to play with DeShone,” McCarthy said, “and shortly before we got out to the field, we were walking to the tunnel and had a chance to talk with Aaron and Dr. (Pat) McKenzie (the team doctor) and he was cleared to go.”
Rodgers returned with 9:10 left in the third quarter and his team trailing 20-0. He then led a comeback that featured three touchdown passes, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb that put the Packers ahead with 2:13 remaining.
Rodgers finished the game 20 of 30 for 286 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 130.7 passer rating.
“As a team our mental errors and execution was not very good,” McCarthy said, “(but) to keep going, to overcome the deficit is a tremendous building block.”
The Packers assured the victory by preventing the Bears from scoring on their final possession, but not before Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews gave the Bears another chance with a penalty. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had thrown an incompletion on a fourth-and-9 play from the Bears’ 19-yard line with 1:39 left. But Matthews hit Trubisky late and was called for roughing the passer. The 15-yard penalty gave Chicago a first down at the 34-yard line.
Three Trubisky incompletions and a Trubisky fumble on fourth down prevented Matthews from being the goat.
“We’ve got to be smarter than that,” McCarthy said Monday regarding the penalty, “especially at that part of the game. That could have been a huge play in the outcome of the game.”
–S Kentrell Brice “was outstanding,” McCarthy said Monday. The coach said Kendrell graded out better than anyone else based on his performance against Chicago. He had nine tackles, including eight solo and a quarterback sack.
–QB DeShone Kizer, who will get the start against the Vikings if Rodgers cannot play, was 4 of 7 for 55 yards, one interception and one lost fumble when he played in the first half Sunday. He was also sacked twice.
–RB Jamaal Williams was the team’s leading rusher Sunday with 47 yards, but he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry.
–WR Randall Cobb had the game-winning touchdown, which came on a 75-yard reception with just over two minutes remaining. He finished with nine catches for 142 yards.
–LB Nick Perry forced the fumble by Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on fourth down with less than two minutes left to seal the victory for Green Bay.