GREEN BAY – The Packers are still waiting to get a final diagnosis, and make a decision, regarding quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The testing on Rodgers’ injured knee had not been completed by early afternoon when Head Coach Mike McCarthy addressed the media.
Rodgers has not changed his vow to continue playing, which he stated postgame after leading the Packers back from a 20-point deficit for a 24-23 victory over the Bears on Sunday night, but there’s no official word on his availability.
“We’re still collecting all the information on his specific situation,” McCarthy said, adding that Rodgers is sore. “I know Aaron wants to play and is always driven to play, but that’s all I have for you right now.
“We do have some information. No decision has been made.”
The Packers play another division rival, the defending NFC North champion Vikings, in six days at Lambeau Field.
The importance of the comeback victory over the Bears can’t be overstated, not only for what it means in the standings. More important, it was as difficult a gut-check as any team could have to start the season.
“To overcome that deficit is a tremendous building block,” McCarthy said. “You need these kind of games, because history will tell you, week in and week out, there are so many games that come down to the end.
“There’s a lot to learn from and a lot to build off of from last night.”
Mental errors and lack of execution plagued the Packers early, and their game sharpened up despite Rodgers’ physical limitations in the second half after he returned to the field. The offensive line in particular played a much cleaner game as the night wore on.
On the defensive side, allowing just two field goals after Chicago’s opening two possessions set the stage for the fourth-quarter rally.
Holding the Bears in the red zone for the third time in the game with roughly 2 ½ minutes left kept it a one-score deficit and gave Rodgers one last chance.
“The defense did a great job,” McCarthy said. “They just kept playing, kept playing, kept us in it, and got the big stop.”
The Packers practiced the two-minute drill a ton during training camp this summer, and McCarthy called it “the best thing we do.” All the extra practice was intended to improve defensively in those situations, and after Rodgers cashed in, the defense rose up as well.
The game wasn’t without its regrets, though. McCarthy admitted he lost some sleep over calling a screen pass for backup QB DeShone Kizer in the final minute of the first half on third-and-19.
The Bears were out of timeouts and the Packers could have simply run the clock out to get in the locker room down 10-0. Trying to draw on a two-minute drill from last season that got backup QB Brett Hundley going after some struggles, McCarthy attempted the same with Kizer, but his screen pass was picked off by Bears linebacker Khalil Mack and run back for a touchdown.
Clay Matthews’ roughing-the-passer penalty on the first fourth down of Chicago’s final drive also could have doomed the Packers to a different fate. A second fourth-down stop finally sealed the game.
“We did some great things as a team to come back and get that win,” McCarthy said. “But we had some ugly moments.
“It’s important to acknowledge that and learn from it. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”
Green Bay overcame a 20-point deficit to stun the Chicago Bears, 24-23, in the 2018 season opener