Talismanic quarterback Aaron Rodgers on-song as Green Bay secure Wild Card win

Jay Asser 10:11 12/01/2016
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The Green Bay Packers are genuine playoff contenders.

Aaron Rodgers flashed the familiar brilliance that had recently been missing to remind everyone that the Green Bay Packers are a playoff threat.

Following a concerning first quarter, the quarterback brought some of his best to spur his team to a 35-18 win over Washington in the Wild Card round.

The first four drives for the Packers offence were a punt, safety, punt and punt to drop them in an 11-0 hole.

Rodgers then came to life with the next five drives resulting in a touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown and touchdown.

He finished with a modest 210 yards through the air, but threw for two scores and was the catalyst for Green Bay scoring their most points since Week 3.

“I talked a lot the last couple weeks about being able to turn it on, and a lot of you probably thought that was lip service,” Rodgers said.

“We just needed a game like this to get our mojo back and get our confidence going. I said this week that it just takes one. One performance to get us going in the right direction and believing that we can make a run.”

Rodgers looked human in the Packers’ two losses to close the regular season, but returned closer to his two-time MVP self against Washington, posting a passer rating of 93.5 – his best since Week 14.

With the running game providing support to the tune of 141 yards, Rodgers controlled the tempo by drawing defensive penalties, making quick throws and calling adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

He made one of his signature plays on his first touchdown pass, taking a quick snap with too many Washington defenders on the field for a free play which he converted into a 12-yard score to Randall Cobb.

“He was just Aaron,” wide receiver James Jones said. “The guy has set such a high standard. You guys get on him about every little thing. But to us, he’s just Aaron. He came out here and he played ball like he always does.

“That’s (number) 12, man. He spoils you guys around here.

Future Hall of Famer – you guys are spoiled. So when he makes one bad throw or does one bad thing, you’re all on him. But to us, he plays like 12 every week.”

Green Bay’s first road postseason win since 2011 – which eventually resulted in Super Bowl glory – marked the franchise’s ninth victory in the Wild Card round, the most all-time.

It sets up a Week 16 rematch with the second-seeded Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round on Saturday, when the Packers will look to avenge a 38-8 blowout, their worst performance all year.

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