Rare Pick-Six by Rodgers Put Packers in Hole

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Things that are rare in life:

Getting struck by lightning while riding a unicorn.

Winning the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes.

Aaron Rodgers throwing interceptions that are returned for touchdowns.

With Rodgers throwing two interceptions in a nightmarish performance, the Green Bay Packers were blasted 38-10 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The performance served as a dump truck load of ice on the red-hot starts by the team and Rodgers.

Rodgers’ first interception was a pick-six by Bucs safety Jamel Dean. On third-and-10, Rodgers’ pass to Davante Adams at the sideline was thrown a touch too far inside. It was the second-year player’s third career interception and first touchdown.

“That sh** happens,” Rodgers said. “I haven’t had a lot of those over the years. But the wind was blowing pretty good right to left. I felt good about the spot. I knew it was tight, we’ve hit throws like that, but I missed on my spot by probably a foot or so. And the kid made a good play.”

It was the third interception of Rodgers’ career that was returned for a touchdown, a statement that hardly hints at the rarity of what happened. Among all quarterbacks in NFL history with 2,300 passing attempts, Rodgers had thrown the fewest pick-sixes. Rodgers entered the day with 6,200 attempts.

Bumping the criteria out to 5,000 career passes, here was the leaderboard: Rodgers with two, Joe Montana with six, Donovan McNabb with seven and Joe Flacco with 10.

Two passes later, Rodgers threw another interception. On third down, Rodgers’ slant to Davante Adams was deflected by cornerback Carlton Davis and intercepted by Mike Edwards. Edwards almost made it another pick-six before being dragged down by Marquez Valdes-Scantling at the 2. Ronald Jones scored easily on the next play to make it 14-10.

When Rodgers overthrew a wide-open Marcedes Lewis on the next drive and the Bucs tacked on another touchdown to make it 21-10, the game, in essence, was over.

Rodgers entered Sunday’s game with zero interceptions in 139 attempts. He was the only qualifying quarterback without an interception entering Week 6 of the NFL season.

This was Rodgers’ fourth career game at Tampa Bay. He’s 1-3 with five touchdowns and eight interceptions. In 2009, he threw three interceptions – one of them a pick-six to Bucs safety to Tanard Jackson that clinched a 38-28 victory.

Rodgers’ other pick-six came was by Cincinnati’s William Jackson at Lambeau Field on Sept. 24, 2017.

The pick-six by Dean turned the tide. The Packers led 10-0 after the first quarter but trailed 28-10 at halftime. Rodgers entered the game with a rating of 128.4, just behind the league-leading 129.8 by Seattle’s Russell Wilson. Against the Bucs, his 35.4 rating was almost the worst of his career.

“They deserve credit,” Rodgers said. “They got us out of our rhythm, they stopped the run early and, obviously, I missed a few throws I usually hit. Felt good about both throws. Just missed the one slightly inside to ‘Tae and the other one looked like it was just tight coverage. Those were frustrating plays, especially up 10-0, giving them basically 14 points. It obviously changed the momentum of the game.”

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