PHILADELPHIA – The pain was too much for Aaron Rodgers to continue Sunday night, but the Packers QB is hoping his injured ribs won't keep him out of next week's game at Chicago.
Rodgers originally hurt his ribs – not his oblique, as was announced to the media – in the second quarter and reaggravated the injury in the third quarter to the point he was having trouble breathing.
He also couldn't rotate his upper body without pain, and he was bending over and wincing anytime he tried to throw the ball.
He came out of the game because it just got too painful, and he also was concerned he might have punctured a lung. That checked out fine, and if the rest does on Monday when he has another scan in Green Bay – x-rays Sunday night were inconclusive as to whether any ribs were broken – he expects to keep playing.
"As long as I check out OK," he said. "I might not be able to go (in practice) Wednesday, but as long as there's no major structural damage, I'll try to get back out there."
Rodgers already had been playing through a broken thumb, which occurred on the final play of the loss in London the first weekend in October, and he was trying to gut it out again in a game the Packers ultimately lost to the Eagles, 40-33, at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I knew he was in a lot of pain," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "This is one of the toughest dudes I've ever been around. I don't for one second question his toughness, his desire to be out there, desire to compete.
"As a matter of fact he apologized to me, and I'm like 'Don't ever apologize to me.' This guy is the ultimate competitor."
But if his health doesn't limit him, the Packers' season might. At 4-8, the Packers are one more loss away from being unable to finish above .500 and in all likelihood unable to make the playoffs.
He confessed a ninth loss changes the decision-making landscape.
"I don't really want to take my mind there but as long as we're mathematically alive I'd like to be out there," Rodgers said.
"There's obviously a lot of other conversations that come into play once you're eliminated. I'll be open to those conversations."
One of those topics would be seeing Jordan Love play more. Love played admirably taking over for Rodgers in the fourth quarter against the Eagles, throwing a 63-yard TD pass to rookie receiver Christian Watson and directing another scoring drive for a field goal.
In those two possessions, Love looked better than he did when he played 1½ games (at Kansas City and Detroit) last season in Rodgers' place. Rodgers credited improved fundamentals under the tutelage of QB coach Tom Clements.
"It allows everything to flow smoothly from there," Rodgers said. "Accuracy improves and decision-making is easier because you're playing on time, all the time."
See scenes from the Sunday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 27, 2022.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur felt Love's outing was an extension of what he's shown in practice regularly. He often gives the defense "fits" and shows plenty of "poise."
Whoever is at quarterback next week and beyond this season, one positive takeaway from yet another loss is the Packers' offense truly looked difficult to handle for most of the game.
Watson is becoming a "super reliable big-play threat," to use Rodgers' words, and another weapon to complement running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, who were steadily productive running and catching the ball.
That's been the case more often than not since Watson got past his injuries and began playing regularly. While it may be too little, too late for 2022, it's worth watching what evolves over the final five games, whether it's Rodgers or Love taking the snaps.
"I'm proud of our offense, proud of Jordan," Rodgers said. "We moved the football basically most of the night against a good defense.
"To put up 33 points, battle against the No. 1 seed is a lot to feel good about. The defense is not feeling great about some of those things, and obviously we turned the ball over twice, but we put ourselves in position."