Aaron Rodgers’ injured left shoulder throws the Green Bay Packers’ season in peril.
Rodgers was injured on the first series of the game. Escaping to his right, Bears defensive end Shea McClellin came off right tackle Don Barclay’s block and sacked Rodgers, with McClellin and cornerback Isaiah Frey landing on top of Rodgers as Rodgers’ left shoulder hit the Lambeau Field turf.
The extent of Rodgers’ injury was unknown after the game. There are reports that Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone, but coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t comment on specifics of the injury or what any tests done at the stadium revealed.
"I just had a chance to speak to Aaron before he went into the training room,” McCarthy said after a disappointing 27-20 loss. “He has a shoulder injury. They want to run more tests. They don't have an exact diagnosis, is where we are. We'll have more information for you probably tomorrow.”
Obviously, it was a major loss – even for a team that has kept on winning without stalwarts such as Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley on offense, and Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward on defense.
“It’s tough, obviously,” said guard Josh Sitton, who helped power a 199-yard rushing attack. “He’s the best player on this football team. He’s probably the best player in the NFL, so it’s tough, yeah, no doubt. We’ve just got to keep grinding. We’ve been in these positions before, we’ve just got to keep playing, no excuses.”
After the injury, Rodgers was examined by the medical staff and threw some passes on the sideline. He then jogged to the locker room for further examination, and didn’t reappear until walking back on the field in street clothes in the third quarter.
“I didn’t have a chance to talk to him (after the injury or at halftime),” McCarthy said. “Really, after the game’s the only chance I got to talk to him. Halftime’s kind of a busy time for coaches making adjustments. I saw him off in the distance but I didn’t have a chance to talk to him.”
Rodgers wasn’t wearing a sling, according to receiver Jordy Nelson.
Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, who was signed after the final cuts, struggled in filling Rodgers’ MVP shoes. He completed just 11-of-19 passes for 114 yards. He was sacked four times and intercepted once.
One week after going 13-of-18 on third down in a blowout win at Minnesota, the Packers went just 1-of-9 against the Bears. The first of those failures was the third-down sack in which Rodgers was injured. Green Bay’s only conversion was a third-and-1 run by Starks for 3 yards.
“Nothing. Nothing really,” Wallace said of what the Bears did to stop him. “They did what they thought, what we saw on film. I just think I put a lot of onus on myself to play a lot better than what I did in the situation, but we’re going to move forward and get ready for next week.”
McCarthy said Wallace’s rep count at practice is on the “low side of backups,” and the extra time spent after practice is no substitute for live situations.
Wallace figures to get that work this week. Even if Rodgers can play on Sunday against Philadelphia, he figures to be extremely limited at practice this week.
“Seneca, he needs to perform better and he'll definitely do that with a week of practice,” McCarthy said. “We're on a short week. We're on a six-day week. We’ve got the Eagles coming in: new staff, uncommon opponent. We need to do a better job in the passing game. I think it was obvious tonight that third down was something that held us back. Disappointing loss, no doubt. We fully expected to win the game. Had some opportunities and we have no excuses. We didn’t play well enough; they beat us.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.