Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson have both been spectacular this season. There is no question about that. But there is also no question that both Rodgers and Nelson played their worst games of the season in Week 15 against the Buffalo Bills and with the Green Bay Packers facing a must win in Week 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s time for the most dynamic quarterback-receiver combo in the NFL to get back on track.
Nelson, who is in the midst of a second consecutive 1,300 yard season had just five catches for 55 yards in the loss to the Bills. Numbers that are well below what we normally expect to see from Nelson. Yet, in addition to mediocre number, there was also the drop of what would be a 94-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that proved to be quite costly.
Yet, Rodgers was also to blame for the Packers terrible 13-point performance on offense. In fact, it’s not too big a stretch to say that his performance against the Bills last Sunday was among the worst in his seven years as Green Bay’s starting quarterback. Not only did Rodgers miss throws he normally makes with ease, he also threw two interceptions compared to no touchdowns for the first time in his career. He also lost a fumble late that led to a safety, which sealed Green Bay’s fate.
The performance was so off-base for Rodgers, there is no better way to describe other than to say it was bizarre. His passer rating was just 34.3, compared to a passer rating for the season that hovers above 111. Before Buffalo, his worst rating was against Seattle, when he posted an 81 passer rating in Week 1. Rodgers also completed just 40.5 percent of his passes, a number almost unheard of for a quarterback of his caliber. Previously, his low was 57 percent and before Buffalo he had only been under 60 percent twice this season.
It was a curious performance from two of the Packers most consistent playmakers. And if Green Bay wants to get into the postseason and win the NFC North for the fourth straight time, Rodgers and Nelson will need to prove from the get go against Tampa Bay that their woeful showing against the Bills was nothing more than an aberration.
Winning in the NFL is often times about getting great play out of your money players and on offense, Rodgers and Nelson are it. Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy and others play key roles sure, but at the end of the day, Rodgers and Nelson are the two biggest difference makers on the Green Bay offense and if the Packers want to win Sunday in Tampa Bay, both of them need to rebound in a big way.