We interrupt this excessively distended love fest for Aaron Rodgers with this sobering public service announcement: the 61-yard Hail Mary touchdown that gave the Green Bay Packers a 27-23 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football was a greater play by tight end Richard Rodgers than quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
A Hail Mary pass in football, by definition, is a prayer for a miracle. They are typically unsuccessful plays because the defense is ready for them and they break up the pass or intercept it.
So, what made this successful Hail Mary different than failed ones? Certainly not the throw. Most quarterbacks in the NFL — even terrible backup quarterbacks — can heave a ball 61 yards. It’s not a “great throw.” It’s a jump ball, something any quarterback, at any age, on any level, can do.
No, what made this Hail Mary successful was a bad defensive effort and a great catch by Richard Rodgers.
Because of that, can we stop heaping praise on Aaron Rodgers and claiming that it’s the “same old Aaron?” The fact is, Rodgers has not had one of his better seasons. Something is off with him. And he was having another average game prior to that Hail Mary prayer.
Before that last miracle play, Rodgers completed 23 of 35 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He had just a 79.7 passer rating. In other words, while that was not statistically a bad effort, he did play poorly enough for the Lions to win the game.
And had the referee not called a phantom facemask penalty on the play prior to the Hail Mary, we’d be continuing the narrative of, “What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers this season?”
So while social media blows up Friday and throughout the rest of this weekend’s slate of games, proclaiming the greatness of Aaron Rodgers and giving him most of the credit for that play, let’s not forget his performance was par for the course that game. And don’t forget that it took a colossal failure by Detroit’s defense and a great play by tight end Richard Rodgers to change the outcome of that game.