GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers loves to make self-deprecating jokes about his alleged lack of athleticism. It’s another of the many components of that famous chip on the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s shoulder.
In Sunday night’s 27-20 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field, Rodgers got to show off some of that athleticism that college recruiters – and, occasionally, his own coaches – don’t think he has.
With the Packers trailing 14-10 on the opening possession of the third quarter and facing third-and-4 at the Detroit 27, Rodgers was under pressure as the pocket collapsed around him. Right tackle Don Barclay had been beaten by Willie Young; left tackle Marshall Newhouse had been beaten by Lawrence Jackson; and Ndamukong Suh was coming up the middle.
Amid all that chaos, Rodgers pulled the ball down and took off to the right, splitting Lions defenders Justin Durant, who was preoccupied with covering tight end Jermichael Finley, and linebacker DeAndre Levy on a 27-yard TD run. Rodgers held the ball out in front of him for the final 8 yards or so, then did the Discount Double Check belt celebration for the longest touchdown run of his career and the Packers’ longest TD run of the season.
“I made a check to Jermichael, they were playing 2-man, and at the top of his route, he slipped,” Rodgers explained. “So I had to pump the ball, felt some sort of flash on my left, and was able to bounce to my right. (I) thought I was going to get sacked for a second there; when I opened my eyes again, I saw there was some space to my right, and it looked like I had a chance to get the first down.
“Jermichael did a good job of kind of staying on the sideline, and it looked like Durant had his eyes on him the whole way, so I thought I would try and shoot through there. As I did, I realized I was close to the end zone, and the legs were able to hold on just long enough to get me in.”
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