GREEN BAY – Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it took "grit" to be able to practice on his bad knee this past Thursday, but he fought through it because he "felt like we needed a little jolt."
Unfortunately, from his point of view, the spark only fired up one side of the ball.
"We were terrible on offense," Rodgers said, clearly less than satisfied with Sunday's 22-0 victory over Buffalo at Lambeau Field. "I don't think it made a difference for the offense."
Rodgers continues to call the Packers' 2018 offense a work in progress, but he didn't see much progress against the Bills. He lamented there being little to no rhythm to the offensive performance despite some strong individual efforts that produced 423 total yards.
No touchdowns over the game's final 41 minutes obviously stuck in the craw of the two-time MVP. The Packers were without Randall Cobb, but that was no excuse to explain the "non-playoff team offensive level" while the defense played "championship" caliber in posting a shutout for the first time since 2010.
His frustration can be interpreted any number of ways, and he didn't spare himself any criticism, saying he needs to "get the ball out" to avoid losing it on the sack-fumble in the fourth quarter.
But it sounded like his ritual postgame scotch was about the only thing he was going to enjoy about this win.
"I'm also a realist. That's just not acceptable offense for us," he said. "Four hundred and twenty-three yards looks pretty good in comparison to some of the games we've put forward the first three weeks, but it should have been about 45 points and 600 yards."
The realist in Rodgers knows offensive efforts that settle for too many field goals and turn the ball over twice won't be good enough against any number of Green Bay's future opponents, beginning next week at Detroit, where Matthew Stafford has had his share of good days against the Packers.
It certainly won't cut it after the bye against the high-flying Rams, or in the upcoming rematches with division rivals Minnesota and Chicago, who are not lacking for scoring these days.
In addition to pushing for more playmaking opportunities for stars Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham, especially with Cobb sidelined, Rodgers also seemed to be saying his presence and his constant battling through injury – as inspiring as it may be – is only going to carry so much weight now that the season is one-quarter done.
The Packers improved to 2-1-1 on the season with a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field
He admitted his knee was not actually feeling all that much better, and he may be resigned to the fact that it won't measurably improve until he can take a week off over the bye. But the Packers have two more games they need to win before then, prior to beginning a stretch of four road games in five weeks, which includes two West Coast trips.
The production of the Packers' running backs – 183 total yards from scrimmage for the trio of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery – is a huge positive the offense no doubt can build upon. Hitting receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for 38 yards down the sideline in the fourth quarter, allowing the rookie to atone for not coming back to the ball on a throw earlier that almost became a pick-six, was meaningful as well.
But four games in, with the addition of Graham and the return of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin that Rodgers was so excited about, he's looking for more. He knows the Packers are going to need it. Out of him, out of everybody, and the message had to be delivered now.
If it's received, it'll make the next scotch taste quite a bit better.