Even on an off day, Aaron Rodgers is better than most. The defending MVP threw for four touchdowns on a day that he described as a sub-par performance as the Green Bay Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals 31-17. Rodgers went 14-30 and broke a three game streak without an interception, but his four touchdowns kept the Pack rolling along into their bye week. While the defense continues to be affected by injuries to their top players Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, the offense showed it can carry the load as the Green Bay moved to 6-3 on the season and second in the NFC North.
Already missing Greg Jennings and Cedric Benson for extended periods of time, Green Bay lost Jordy Nelson to an ankle injury in the first quarter to compound their injury woes. However, once again Randall Cobb and James Jones stepped up in their absence. Cobb opened the scoring with a 13 yard touchdown and later connected with Rodgers again on a perfect 21 yard pass to make the score 14-7. After a James Jones 28 yard touchdown, his eighth of the year, and a Mason Crosby field goal, the Cardinals began to comeback with a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. With the score 24-17 towards the end of the third quarter, Rodgers found Tom Crabtree streak past the linebacker and hit him in stride, and Crabtree barely outlasted Arizona’s defenders and dove into the endzone as time expired for a 72 yard touchdown.
Green Bay’s defense tightened up in the fourth quarter and shut the Cardinals out, as they held on for the victory to make them 4-1 at home and 6-3 overall. Despite the victory the Packers all thought they could have played a lot better overall. The defense let Fitzgerald break three tackles on his touchdown, and now have to hope Clay Matthews can bounce back after the bye week. They also hope that Jordy Nelson can use the bye week to help his ailing ankle and hamstring, to give Aaron Rodgers one of his favorite targets back. If all of that happens, then this could start to look a lot like last season, where Rodgers and Co. tore through opponents on their way to the playoffs. Next up for Green Bay is their bye week, and after that a date with division rivals the Detroit Lions. Until then, stay tuned for more Packers news and enjoy your week!