Aaron Rodgers, Packers listless in alarming loss to Taylor Heinicke-led commanders

Sound the alarm in Green Bay. That is, if they weren’t already blaring.

The Packers dropped a Washington dud on Sunday in a 23-21 loss to the Commanders. Aaron Rodgers looked little like the reigning back-to-back league MVP when Green Bay lost its third straight game.

The Packers got on the board first and went into halftime with a 14-10 lead. But Washington took the lead with a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half and didn’t relinquish it. A Packers team that started the season with Super Bowl hopes had to resort to desperate measures against one of the league’s worst teams during the final game.

And just like that, the Packers are now 3-4 with questions surrounding how effective Rodgers can be at age 38 while playing with a reduced receiving corps. Losing to the resurgent teams of New York Jets and Giants is one thing. Fluttering against the commanders with Taylor Heinicke as quarterback is another.

Rodgers made no significant mistakes on Sunday. He just didn’t play as Green Bay amassed 232 yards of offense against a Washington defense who came in 18th in the league on Sunday. The Packers averaged 4.4 yards per game and couldn’t think of plays when they needed them most.

With a 20-14 lead for the Commanders early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay was in fourth place against the Washington 37. Needing a touchdown for the lead, they went for a first down instead of taking. opt for a 54 meter field goal. . They didn’t get it. The pass from Rodgers to Romeo Doubs fell to the grass and the commanders took over after downs. Their field goal on subsequent possession proved to be the difference in the game.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Landover, Maryland (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attack are no longer dangerous. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Rodgers’ missed connection to Doubs summed up Packers’ problems. The fourth-round rookie has stepped into a starting role in a Packers strike seeking playmakers after the off-season trade from Davante Adams to the Raiders. He has yet to deliver with just one game over 47 receiving yards. He finished Sunday’s game without a catch.

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No Packers receiver exceeded 55 yards on Sunday as check-downs defined the Green Bay pass attack. Allen Lazard led the way with 55 yards on six catches. Running back Aaron Jones added 53 receiving yards. It took him nine catches to get there. He scored 21 of them on a single touchdown catch in traffic that amounted to a plague as Green Bay’s only notable offensive highlight of the day.

Rodgers finished the day with 23 from 35 yards for 194 and two touchdowns to Jones. His 5.5 yards per attempt will only bring down the career-low average of 6.9 yards he wore for the first six weeks of the season.

This is not the Rodgers known for his exceptional downfield throwing ability. He took over from the Packers offense in 2008 as the anti-Brett Favre – a sharp-armed marksman without the drawbacks of his predecessor who has never thrown more than eight interceptions in a season.

He still avoids the game-breaking mistakes. But the great plays are a thing of the past. And there’s no reason to expect them to return with this roster and Rodgers’ age.

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