With just under 13 minutes remaining on Sunday Night Football, Aaron Rodgers scampered 10 yards to the end zone to pull Green Bay within 17-14 of Minnesota.
At that point, the ending seemed inevitable.
“I think I was just like anybody else watching that game,” former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I figured it’s just a matter of time before he turns this thing around and they find a way to get the go-ahead score and go on to win a tight one in Minnesota.”
Instead, Rodgers committed turnovers on each of Green Bay’s final drives – one fumble, one interception – and the Vikings won their first game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Rodgers finished 20-of-36 for 213 yards, one touchdown, one interception and three fumbles (one lost). Through two games, he is completing just 57.1 percent of his passes, averaging just 5.9 yards per attempt and averaging just 206 passing yards per game.
Hawk, however, isn’t concerned.
“Instead of saying what’s wrong with their offense, I would give a lot of credit to Minnesota’s defense,” Hawk said. “They did such a good job of getting pressure on him. Aaron wasn’t able to step into a lot of his throws. Even if they weren’t getting sacks, they were pushing the pocket where he couldn’t step into those throws pretty much all night. But yeah, anytime you turn the ball over, it’s tough to win a game on the road like that. But I think it’s like anything. They just need to get reps and get their timing back together. Jordy was out all year. Even though he and Jordy are super close on and off the field, I think it’ll take a little bit of time for them (to get back on track).”
Rodgers had a down year last year (at least for him), throwing for 3,821 yards and 31 touchdowns. He has just three 300-yard games over his last 17 games (playoffs included) – and none in his last 11.
Again, Hawk is not concerned, nor does he notice anything different about Rodgers.
“As far as he goes and what he does and how he approaches everything, no, I don’t see anything different from what he’s doing,” said Hawk, who played for Green Bay from 2006-14. “But I think every year it builds and it builds, the good thing and the bad things that will be said about his game. I can’t point to one thing, but yeah, obviously last year Tom Clements returned the play-calling duties over to him early on in the season, and I think Coach McCarthy took it back after six or seven games. I don’t think that had a whole to do with it. I think they just have to figure out how to get on the same page.”
Hawk said that Rodgers and Mike McCarthy get along quite well.
“Aaron and Coach McCarthy, they have a great relationship,” Hawk said. “I think their communication is second to none, how they can go back and forth with each other and what they’re seeing out there. But honestly, it’s like any quarterback in any level you’re playing; if you can’t protect him the way you need to protect a guy like Aaron, it’s going to be tough to continue to put up monster numbers every single game. But as you saw, Aaron can beat you with his feet, and he did that a few times in Minnesota. But honestly, I don’t see it being a long time before he figures it all out.”
The Packers (1-1) host the Lions (1-1) at Lambeau this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.