Aaron Rodgers creates Packers masterpiece : Packers Insider

Aaron Rodgers creates Packers masterpiece

December 17, 2012 by  
Filed under News

By Tyler Dunne, Journal-Sentinel

~The play was pure improvisation. No Cover-2 brainstorming. No cat-and-mouse game with a coach. This was the Aaron Rodgers that terrified the Chicago Bears leading up to this game.

In the third quarter, Rodgers stepped up and was nearly swallowed by a Bermuda Triangle of defenders. He spotted Julius Peppers, spun to roll left, stared down Peppers again, redirected right a few yards and – with three players barreling in – drilled a 27-yard completion to Randall Cobb.

When Bears cornerback D.J. Moore said “all hell breaks loose” if Rodgers buys himself time, this is what he’s talking about.

Through back-to-back wins at Lambeau Field, Rodgers stayed patient. He worked underneath.

In Green Bay’s 21-13 win Sunday at Soldier Field, there were no restrictions, no hesitation. Rodgers often resembled the free-rein quarterback from that 31-of-36 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs two years ago.

He pulled the trigger in tighter windows. He looked deep. When he kept plays alive, he made the Bears pay.

Playoffs closing in fast, this was the kind of game that reminds teammates they have a little something extra at the quarterback position. 

Despite missing his favorite deep threat Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers was able to realize that James Jones is a mismatch.

“I don’t know if you can really put it into words with what kind of player he is,” running back Alex Green said. “He can do things that other guys can’t do. He can make plays with his feet, obviously with his arm. He’s got something special.”

Rodgers is fine with winning ugly. It’s acceptable. The Packers ran the ball more they passed it in wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. For much of this season, defenses have pulled seven players back into coverage, daring Green Bay to run. And, for the most part, Rodgers has taken what’s given.

In Chicago, Rodgers was creative, bold.

There was a 29-yarder down the middle to Cobb threaded through the heart of Chicago’s Cover-2 defense. There was a 31-yard throw to tight end Jermichael Finley between a linebacker and a safety.

And on the run – players darting all over the field – Rodgers played in peace.

When the Bears blitzed a pair of defenders up the gut that flushed Rodgers right, he patted the ball twice, waited for Cobb to get to the sideline and rifled the ball 40 yards through the air, on the run, to a spot only Cobb could catch it. Moore and safety Major Wright closed the passing window fast. But Rodgers trusted his accuracy and Cobb. Three plays later, he hit James Jones on one of three touchdowns to tie the game early.

“Personally, I was thinking about moving around a little bit more,” Rodgers said. “Just being aware of where I was in the pocket, stepping up when I had to, keeping plays alive.”

Left guard T.J. Lang says the offensive linemen understand Rodgers’ propensity to scramble. It’s part of his game. On Sunday, Rodgers scrambled – as he often has this season – and made the gutty throws on top of it.

Buying time paid off.

“He likes to do that,” Lang said. “He likes to keep plays alive and get out of the pocket. It just tells us that we have to block until we see that ball thrown.

Although Rodgers continues to get sacked about twice as often as other elite QB's like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, he's still putting up MVP-like numbers.

“I don’t think the pass protection was perfect tonight by any means, but we did have some big third downs where guys stayed engaged and kept in front of guys and allowed Aaron to get outside the pocket and hit some receivers for first downs.”

Rodgers noted afterward that the Bears mixed in some delayed blitzing. A split-second of extra time helped Sunday and he was nearly flawless. In addition to Jones’ three touchdowns, Cobb also dropped a potential touchdown.

Rodgers was 23 of 36 for 291 yards, and the passer rating of 116.8 was his best mark in eight weeks.

“It just felt great,” Finley said. “Rodgers got in a groove. Our receivers got in a groove. We got that middle of the field working today. It’s a great feeling.”

Disarray in the backfield rarely means disaster for Rodgers. Throughout his career, it has created opportunities. On Sunday, the big plays returned.

For a Green Bay offense that’s had several moving parts, the timing is ideal.

“We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity,” Rodgers said. “I think this team is playing the right way right now.”

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