The Green Bay Packers (5-3) looked to have been in the driver’s seat to winning a third-consecutive NFC North division title until quarterback and face of the franchise Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in a loss to the Chicago Bears (5-3) on Monday Night Football.
The Packers were on a four-game winning streak to race ahead in the NFC North while getting increasingly healthy overall as a team. The Packers were possibly on their way to an easy victory over the Bears on Monday before Rodgers’ injury, as veteran backup Seneca Wallace stepped in and didn’t play even close to Rodgers’ level.
Wallace completed 11-of-19 passes for 114 yards, threw one interception and he was sacked four times. Despite showing poor arm strength on a consistent basis against the Bears, the Packers have decided to stick with Wallace as their starting quarterback instead of signing a veteran free agent such as Vince Young or Matt Flynn.
Wallace’s longest completion on Monday night was a 17-yard pass to James Jones. Moments before the completion, though, Wallace’s pass went through the hands of Bears linebacker James Anderson which should’ve resulted in an easy interception for Chicago.
Fortunately for the Packers and their coaching staff, they’ve been in this position before with an injured Rodgers. In a Week 15 game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium during the 2010 regular season, Rodgers was ruled out with a concussion.
The Patriots were on their way to securing home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, and Green Bay was clinging onto playoff hope. In Rodgers’ place, his former backup Flynn completed 24-of-37 passes for 251 yards and he threw three touchdown passes. Green Bay eventually lost to the Patriots, 31-27, but the game didn’t come close to the expected brutal showing.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said if the coaching staff learned anything from that experience in 2010 while preparing and playing the Patriots it was not to overthink the situation and just cut his quarterback loose no matter who was taking snaps from under center.
Wallace is only 6-15 in 21 career starts, but his familiarity with the NFL game could benefit himself and the Packers against the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) on Sunday. Wallace has had his share of impressive single-game performances with the Seattle Seahawks and the Cleveland Browns during his career, but his only chance to succeed on Sunday is going to come down to a lot of luck.
Rodgers could be out for the next 3-6 weeks with the broken collarbone. Assuming Rodgers is out for the next three games, if the Packers can win one of those games without Rodgers the 2013 season is saved. If not, Green Bay would likely need to finish the season similar to the way they finished the 2010 season.
In 2010 the Packers won the final six games of the season which led to a Super Bowl XLV victory. The Packers obtained great help, however, as teams such as the Detroit Lions and the Eagles ruined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ and New York Giants‘ playoff dreams in favor of the Packers squeezing into the NFC playoff picture.
If the 2013 season is going to be saved though during Rodgers’ recovery period it falls on the shoulders of McCarthy and his coaching staff. McCarthy has been known to show great confidence in all 53 players on the active roster, and he knows how to run an NFL team better than most coaches today.
After a long absence McCarthyism has rocked Wisconsin for the past eight years, and it’s time for the head coach to show off and flex his power more than ever before in his coaching career.