GREEN BAY – Not so hidden in Aaron Rodgers' words is the answer to the burning question.
"Teams are going to continue to load the box and dare us to throw the ball," Rodgers said following Sunday's 18-16, upset loss to the Lions.
It's almost unthinkable. Opponents are daring the Packers to throw the ball. They're daring the two-time and reigning league MVP to beat them, and for a third consecutive game it was a winning strategy.
What could be more shocking? A dome over Lambeau Field?
Rodgers did his best to provide answers to his and the offense's failures against the Lions, but his remarks repeated themselves, which let it be known he'll only go so far. Just as his coach refused to correct his players in the media, Rodgers refused to throw his teammates under the proverbial bus.
"We'll look at the film and make some corrections tomorrow," Rodgers said. He referred to "the film" several times.
"I have to look at the film. I can give you a better answer on Wednesday," he said.
"I'll have to look at the film on which one you're talking about. I obviously missed a few throws," he said in answering another question.
The film will likely show Rodgers threw wide and low on occasions. It'll show an open receiver the film saw but he didn't. It'll often show a failure of receivers to get open, and it'll show some dropped balls that didn't help the quarterback's cause.
They all conspired to produce stats that were salvaged only by a fourth-quarter rally reminiscent of last week's loss in Carolina. At halftime of this most recent loss, the Packers had rushed for 32 yards and thrown for 114, and the situation was worsening. In the third quarter, the Packers gained a mere 44 yards.
The passing game is the problem, and the intent of Coach Mike McCarthy's game plan was clearly focused on fixing what was wrong. Rodgers opened the game by completing three consecutive passes to Davante Adams. Rodgers to Adams was the likely focus of the Packers' game plan. Ironically, it was an incomplete Rodgers to Adams two-point conversion try that failed to send the game into overtime.
"We had the right play. I didn't see the end of it. I got knocked down. We needed to convert that one," Rodgers said.
Was he healthy, Rodgers was asked?
"Yes. I'm a little sore now, but I'll be good to go in a few days," Rodgers said.
The Detroit Lions visited Lambeau Field for a Sunday matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Photos by Jim Biever, Packers.com.
His coach had just finished saying his quarterback had been hit far too often in the past three games. Late in Sunday's game, Ziggy Ansah went low on Rodgers and Rodgers came up limping. He walked it off.
"I felt like we were ready to play. We just didn't convert enough. They have good players on their side. I missed some throws and we missed some opportunities. Nineteen to win today? You would expect us to score 19," Rodgers said.
Maybe the worst news of all is the Packers had a good week of preparation and were ready to play. It suggests the one answer nobody wants to hear.
Only time will tell why the Packers are struggling to throw the ball. It certainly isn't helping their cause that Eddie Lacy, the team's star running back, was inactive with a groin injury. Mystery continues to shroud Lacy's fall from the No. 1 running back spot.
Even still, the Lions dared the Packers to throw. They lined up man to man and, more often than not, won.
Is this really happening?