GREEN BAY—The gut check that was Aaron Rodgers' exhibition of how to play winning football on one leg, is something on which the Packers quarterback will one day reflect with pride.
"When I look back on this game years from now, I'll probably feel a lot of pride for getting back in there. I love the competition. I love being out there with my guys counting on me to be myself," Rodgers said following a 30-20 win over the Lions that clinched the division title for the Packers.
Yeah, the division title is sweet – that's four in a row – but it's the first-round playoff bye that interested Rodgers.
"If we win, I get another week to rehab," Rodgers said.
Does he think he'll be more fully recovered two weeks from now than he was for this game against the Lions?
"Yeah, I do. I think that'll be enough time. This was only seven days. The injury is to a different spot," Rodgers said.
The injury has become somewhat of a mystery. How did it occur? What is its severity? Don't expect answers to those questions.
Hey, didn't we do this last season with Rodgers' mysterious broken collarbone?
Ah, it's all high drama. You gotta love it, especially when the guy supplying the drama plays as Rodgers does.
Rodgers collapsed while running from the pocket and throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 2:24 to play in the first half. Rodgers was carted to the locker room; the outlook appeared to be grim.
Matt Flynn started the second half under center, and just as Flynn was being sacked on third down to complete a three-and-out, Rodgers emerged from the Packers tunnel, to cheers, of course.
Ah, the drama. Even Mike McCarthy, a professed drama hater, had to love it. Hey, that's your quarterback, coach.
"In this case, it was kind of on me; see how it felt," Rodgers said of the decision to play on the sore left calf. "I was kind of battling to get back out there. I felt pretty good on the sideline. I felt if I got back in there I might give a jolt. I was watching the game on TV with some heat on my calf. I did some light drops on the sideline and felt I could get back in there."
His role was wisely decreased, but his impact on the game remained the same: two touchdown passes, a touchdown rushing and a 139.6 passer rating that dwarfed his counterpart's 89.2.
The guy tilts the field … even on one leg.
"It's special. It brought back some memories of when we beat Detroit in '08, and the ovation I got when I returned to the field after I broke my collarbone," Rodgers said.
"I don't think I did anything heroic tonight. I have a strong desire to compete."
The sporting nation will likely disagree with Rodgers. He will be the toast of "Sportscenter" on Monday. He'll be the subject of commentary and debate all week.
Where does this performance rank among those of historic significance in Packers history?
Lot of drama, coach.
COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE