Just like in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers were largely outplayed by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night at Lambeau Field. They straight-up looked like the worst team for 55 minutes.
But, one team has Aaron Rodgers and the other doesn’t. That was once again the difference.
Rodgers completed 26-of-45 passes for 425 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
As is usually the case for Rodgers, he was particularly brilliant with the game on the line. The Packers trailed 30-23 with three minutes remaining, when Rodgers turned things up a notch, and immediately threw a strike to Davante Adams that turned into a 38-yard gain.
Three plays later, Rodgers made another perfect throw to Adams, putting it just out of the reach of San Francisco cornerback Greg Mabin for a touchdown with 1:55 remaining.
The 49ers moved into Packers territory, but C.J. Beathard threw an interception caught by Green Bay’s Kevin King at the Packers’ 10 with 1:13 to go. That’s way, way too much time for Rodgers.
With 43 seconds left, Rodgers avoided pressure and took off running — with no timeouts left — to the Green Bay 45 for a 21-yard gain.
On 3rd-and-2 three plays later, Rodgers made his classic back-shoulder throw to Equanimeous St. Brown for 19 yards to the San Francisco 28, putting the Packers in field goal range with 11 seconds left.
With no timeouts remaining, it made sense to just try the field goal there. Instead, Rodgers threw yet another 19-yard dime to Adams, setting Mason Crosby up with a 27-yard field goal.
Crosby’s coming off one of the worst kicking weeks in NFL history, but followed that up with a 4-for-4 performance, including a 51-yarder and the game-winner.
The Packers are extremely banged-up, but this was a game they absolutely had to have against a backup quarterback at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.
Green Bay is now 3-2-1, and after a Week 7 Bye, their schedule gets brutal. The Packers have road games against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8 and the New England Patriots in Week 9, followed by a home game against the Miami Dolphins, and then back to the road to face the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. Right now, the Packers would probably only be favored against the Dolphins, and that’s still a 4-2 team.
So, had the Packers lost on Monday night (a game in which they were favored by nine points), it’s easy to see their season quickly crumbling. But, Rodgers came to the rescue as he frequently does, and he’ll likely need to keep doing that in the coming weeks for the Packers to hang in the playoff race.