PHILADELPHIA — Aaron Rodgers took a success to the ribs within the second quarter of the Packers’ 40-33 loss Sunday night in opposition to the Eagles, and the next touchdown compounded the damage. On his third play of the third quarter, Rodgers took one other blow to the ribs when he was sacked for a drive-ending 5-yard loss.

The quarterback, who turns 39 on Friday, performed the remainder of Green Bay’s 10 offensive snaps within the third quarter earlier than jogging to the locker room with trainers as Mason Crosby’s 29-yard discipline aim minimize the Packers’ deficit to 34-23 with 2:03 left within the third. Rodgers by no means returned, leaving third-year quarterback Jordan Love to complete Green Bay’s loss at Lincoln Financial Field.

Rodgers stated after the sport that he had problem respiration and rotating his higher physique. He was additionally involved a couple of doubtlessly punctured lung, however stated his lung is okay. Rodgers added it was exhausting to inform on the preliminary X-rays whether or not he suffered damaged ribs, so extra scans will probably be taken Monday. Rodgers stated he won’t be capable of observe on Wednesday, however he expects to play subsequent Sunday in Chicago “as long as there’s no major structural damage.” Head coach Matt LaFleur additionally stated he expects Rodgers to play if he’s in a position to.

“This is one of the toughest dudes that I’ve ever been around, so I don’t ever for one second question his toughness, his desire to be out there, his desire to compete,” LaFleur stated. “Matter of fact, he apologized to me and I’m like, ‘Don’t ever apologize to me.’ Like, I’ll never question that. This guy is the ultimate competitor and he’s been battling through a lot of stuff all year long. It hasn’t been just this year. It’s been the last, I would say, the last few years that we’ve been together and he doesn’t say anything about it and he just keeps competing and doing the best he can.”

Rodgers has performed with a damaged proper thumb since struggling the damage on his final snap in opposition to the Giants in Week 5 in London, however the “intense” ache in his ribs that he was nonetheless experiencing whereas standing on the podium was too nice for him to proceed enjoying Sunday in Philadelphia. Rodgers stated his proper thumb feels “definitely better” than it did in final Thursday’s loss to the Titans.

In Rodgers’ place, the 24-year-old Love accomplished 6 of 9 passes — one incompletion was an Aaron Jones drop — for 113 yards and a landing, a 63-yard reference to Christian Watson, through which the rookie took a slant to the home to make it a 37-30 sport with 9 minutes left within the fourth quarter.

GO DEEPER

Eagles defeat Packers as Aaron Rodgers injured

The group now has a call to make. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Packers (4-8) have a mere 3 p.c likelihood to make the playoffs. They’re just one sport forward of the Bears, who at the moment maintain the No. 2 choose slot within the 2023 NFL Draft with a 3-9 report forward of subsequent Sunday’s matchup vs. the Packers at Soldier Field. The Packers can put their banged-up beginning quarterback on injured reserve and get their first constant regular-season have a look at Love earlier than making a call on his fifth-year choice within the offseason. Or they’ll trip with Rodgers if he’s wholesome sufficient to play.

“As long as we’re mathematically alive, I’d like to be out there,” Rodgers stated, later including, “there’s obviously a lot of other conversations that come into play once you’re eliminated, and I’ll be open to all those conversations. Pride comes to mind. Love of the game. But there’s other factors that, obviously, would come into play should we be mathematically eliminated.”

Perhaps Rodgers would need the ultimate 5 video games to proceed constructing chemistry with younger receivers comparable to Watson and Romeo Doubs forward of subsequent season, however Rodgers stated he won’t resolve whether or not he’ll play the 2023 season till after this one concludes.

Rodgers, who ranks twenty fourth within the NFL this season in offensive go EPA per dropback, accomplished 11 of 16 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on Sunday night time. Does he give the Packers a greater likelihood to win than Love? His previous success suggests he does, even perhaps with a damaged thumb and tender ribs. But what Love did in his transient stint in opposition to the Eagles — the spectacular accuracy, zip and composure within the pocket — figures to pique the curiosity of Packers followers and even the group now tasked with deciding whether or not they wish to see extra from him in 2022.

Love entered with the Packers trailing 37-23 and 11:11 remaining within the sport after getting an encouraging high-five from Allen Lazard and a handshake from Randall Cobb on the sideline. He acknowledged the Eagles may’ve been enjoying softer protection as a result of they knew the Packers needed to throw to make up a two-touchdown deficit that late within the sport, however Love was inspired with how nicely the offense moved the ball. After the Packers began 0-for-5 on third downs with Rodgers at quarterback, Love hit Lazard on an out route for 7 yards on third-and-5 in Love’s first drive. His greatest play, and the Packers’ longest landing of the season, got here when he hit Watson over the center and the rookie turned on the afterburners down the left sideline for a 63-yard rating.

“I think he did really well,” Watson stated of Love. “He was really calm and composed. I thought he came in and didn’t skip a beat. I feel like when he came in, it felt like he had been in there before with all of us. I think we had a good shot with it.”

Added Rodgers, who watched the top of the sport on TV within the locker room after his checkups: “Proud of our offense, proud of Jordan. We moved the football basically most of the night against a good defense … kind of feel like he’s become much better in timing up his drops with the routes. When you do that, it allows everything to kind of flow smoothly from there and the accuracy improves and the decision-making is easier ’cause you’re just playing on time all the time.

“He was on time. He threw the ball in rhythm and threw the ball accurately.”

Love has performed sparsely within the common season by his first three years within the league. He didn’t gown for a single sport in 2020 whereas serving because the third-string quarterback behind Rodgers and Tim Boyle. In 2021, he dealt with garbage-time snaps in a 38-3 season-opening loss to the Saints in 2021, a full sport in opposition to the Chiefs whereas Rodgers battled COVID-19 (Love performed poorly in a 13-7 loss) and the second half in opposition to the Lions in a meaningless Week 18 sport. And this season, he took spot snaps in blowout losses in opposition to the Vikings and Jets earlier than enjoying the fourth quarter in opposition to the Eagles on Sunday.

“I’m not shocked, to be honest with you, that he went out there and played well and showed great poise,” LaFleur stated. “We see it on a daily basis in practice. And I know people might not necessarily agree with that, but I see it every day and I think he’s a guy that has continued to get better and better each and every day in practice and just does a great job against our defense, giving ’em fits and giving ’em really tough looks.”

Perhaps common supervisor Brian Gutekunst already has his thoughts made up as as to whether Love is sweet sufficient to be the Packers’ subsequent quarterback. If not, he may wish to see Love over an prolonged stretch in video games that rely for the primary time earlier than deciding whether or not to ensure Love’s 2024 wage of roughly $19.8 million (per Over The Cap). That resolution may additionally hinge on what Rodgers decides after this season, whether or not it’s retirement, returning for at the very least yet another season or committing to a different two. There’s additionally an opportunity Rodgers decides to play by the 2024 season, through which case the Packers can’t have two expensive quarterback salaries on the roster on the similar time. They additionally face the dilemma of maybe not understanding whether or not Rodgers will play that lengthy by the point they should resolve on Love’s fifth-year choice in May 2023 if Rodgers continues approaching his future on a year-by-year foundation.

In brief, there are two questions in play: whether or not Love is sweet sufficient to be Rodgers’ inheritor and, if he’s, how Rodgers’ resolution on his future impacts a possible transition to Love because the full-time starter, at any time when which may be.

If Rodgers’ follow-up scans on his ribs come out clear sufficient, although, Sunday night time’s fourth quarter could find yourself simply being a tease. Love may find yourself proper again the place he has spent most of his profession — on the bench — for a size of time no one actually is aware of.

“It’s tough,” Love stated. “Obviously I want to be on the field, but the situation is what the situation is. The toughest thing is trying to stay mentally prepared and stay locked in because you never know what might happen. … I’m walking out of here the same. I’m going to prepare as if Aaron won’t be able to play. I’ll go out there and I’m going to prepare this whole week like that. Who knows what will happen? I’m not sure, but that’s pretty much how I prepare every week. It’s obviously a little different this week given the circumstances, but I’ll prepare the same.”

(Photo of Aaron Rodgers: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)



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