GRAEME GALLAGHER | SPORTS EDITOR
This is the time of year when everything is supposed to be scary. Halloween, scary movies, and midterms are some of these things; however, they are really not that bad. But three weeks ago, we experienced something that was truly scary: the injury of Aaron Rodgers.
When we saw him get hit and fall to the ground, it was like a horror movie. Watching the replay over, I can hear the suspenseful music build in the background as he fell to the ground and the jump scare of when he is carted off the field. What is even worse is that the evil monsters or villains in this scary scene are the Minnesota Vikings.
However, for any Packer fan, this will be the scariest sight they will see all season. They have already been plagued with the injuries of Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery, but Rodgers was always there to save the day. He was the hero, triumphing against the Bengals and the Cowboys. Aaron Rodgers was the protagonist of the Packers, the one who always comes up clutch.
For his entire career, we have been watching Rodgers do this day-in and day-out. Since 2008, the Packers are 94-46 with Rodgers. He has been MVP twice and has been having one of the finest seasons of his career. He began last week leading the league in touchdowns, ranks in the top ten in completion percentage, and has a passer rating over 100.
But without Rodgers, the Packers noticeably lack in many areas. The Packers are 2-5-1 in eight games without Rodgers. In this stretch, the Packers struggle to convert on third-downs, posting a multiple percentages below 35%. In addition to this, the pressure on the backup quarterbacks led to more and more turnovers.
This was on full display against the most recent game against the Saints and showed just how exposed the Packers are without Rodgers. The Packers placed their faith in Brett Hundley, knowing that the run game would be pressured. Hundley threw for only 87 yards and posted a disappointing passer rating of 39.9, showing that the improvement is slow.
This certainly has affected the Packers on the field, but it also affected them off the field as well. According to Sports Illustrated, retail ticket value for the game against the Saints was down 50%. This also could hurt local bars and hotels around the area as attendance for games could fall.
But let us not panic yet. Flashback to 2013, when Rodgers was hurt for half the season. The team still made playoffs even without him and it can happen again. If the running game of Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones gets stepped up, then the pressure on Hundley will lighten. This will give Hundley more opportunities for play-action and big plays. A balanced rush game is as necessary for a successful offense as it is helpful in keeping the defense honest. Also, the defense must create turnovers and get frequent three-and-outs. The more that the Packers have the ball, the better opportunity for Hundley to improve. Remember that Rodgers can still return before the end of the season, meaning that if Hundley and the Packers can run the ball, limit turnovers, and tighten up on defense, then the season is still salvageable, just like in 2013.
Currently, it may feel like watching the Packers will be a horror movie for the rest of the year. But, even with Rodgers hurt, there is still a quality team out there. The question is who will step up for the Pack. Will it be Montgomery? Or will Hundley be a wonderful surprise? All in all, do not lose faith and do not panic. Keep watching because, you never know, the horror movie could easily turn into an underdog film for the ages.