Aaron Rodgers

Eagles experience the best possible Sunday off in Week 6

Eagles experience the best possible Sunday off in Week 6

This was a very beneficial weekend for the Birds. 

While the Eagles' players and coaches enjoyed some well-earned rest, Week 6 was one of the stranger NFL cards we've seen in while and a lot of the wackiness aided the guys in midnight green.  

Let's start with the biggest news to come out of this weekend: Aaron Rodgers broke his right collarbone in the Packers' loss to the Vikings. It goes without saying that you never want to see anyone get injured, but this is especially the case with one of the all-time greats. The league is better with Rodgers playing, plain and simple. But from a practical standpoint, his loss affects the Eagles and their NFC conference chances greatly. With Rodgers' weekly magic acts now disappearing, Green Bay becomes just another team, at best.

Staying in the conference, the Redskins squeaked by a winless 49ers team at home. Granted, San Fran plays everyone tight. The Niners are the first team in NFL history to lose five straight games by three points or less. Washington barely escaped against a C.J. Beathard-led team. Kirk Cousins tried mightily to give the game away. Not the kind of performance you build off as you head to take on an Eagles that already beat you, on Monday night.

The defending NFC champs, the Falcons, lost a game at home Sunday to the Dolphins that they led 17-0 at the half. Atlanta is now 3-2 overall and 1-2 at home. Can you say Super Bowl hangover? 

The Buccaneers, another team thought by some to be a contender in the NFC, lost to the same Cardinals team the Eagles smoked in Week 5.

The Cowboys had a bye week, but the specter of Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension and how negatively that will impact them continues to loom. Dallas has as many losses through five games as it had all of last season. And not having Elliott to lean on to chew clock and keep the other team's offense off the field will expose their defense. 

The Birds own the best record in the NFC at 5-1, and now with Kansas City's loss to the Steelers, there are no longer any undefeated teams in the NFL. Granted, this is an "any given Sunday" type of league, as witnessed by underdogs' 10-2 record against the spread this weekend. 

You don't want to get too crazy just six games in, but it's hard to not feel optimistic about the way things are set up for the Eagles (see Super Bowl odds). They've been able to overcome injuries, mostly on the defensive side, and while teams like Green Bay and the Giants have suffered catastrophic casualties, the Eagles have not. In fact, they appear to be getting some serious firepower back, like Lane Johnson and Ronald Darby.

It's not false hope or viewing things through green-colored glasses to think the Eagles are one of the better teams in the league. They are. Do they need the requisite breaks like staying healthy to win a playoff game for the first time since 2008? Yes. But that applies to every team. The Birds are strong in the trenches on both sides. Their run defense makes opposing teams one-dimensional, and they have a budding star quarterback who gets better every week. 

It was indeed a nice Sunday off.

Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers could miss rest of season with broken collarbone

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Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers could miss rest of season with broken collarbone

MINNEAPOLIS — Walking gingerly to the sideline with his throwing shoulder throbbing in pain, Aaron Rodgers turned back toward the field and barked at Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.

Rodgers likely already knew that his season was in jeopardy after Barr's hit broke his collarbone, and the fiery quarterback's frustration boiled over.

Now the Green Bay Packers have to try to make sure their season as a whole doesn't go down the drain with it.

Rodgers was knocked out of the 23-10 loss to the Vikings in the first quarter on Sunday with an injury that could cause him to miss the remainder of the season .

It's a crushing blow to a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, optimism based primarily on the right arm of one of the game's best quarterbacks.

"It's devastating," receiver Randall Cobb said. "No question about it. First and foremost, that is one of my closest friends, so to see him go down with that is tough. We still have to play football. We have a long season ahead of us to figure out what we are going to do."

Brett Hundley, the only other quarterback on the roster outside of practice squad player Joe Callahan, was rushed into duty. He finished 18 of 33 for 157 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

"Losing Aaron Rodgers speaks for itself," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "In my opinion, he's the best player in football. This is the ultimate team game. We need to be better with the 11 people on the field that we have, regardless of the phase that we're in. Ultimately that's my responsibility."

Colin Kaepernick, who has had difficulty finding a job since becoming the face of league-wide demonstrations during the national anthem that protest social injustice, and Tony Romo, who joined CBS as an analyst after retiring from the Dallas Cowboys, could be outside options to fill in for Rodgers. But McCarthy said after the game he was not considering anything like that yet.

"Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan, that's what we're going with," he said.

Despite several key injuries to the secondary, the Packers entered the game Sunday against their NFC North rivals at 4-1 after Rodgers engineered a game-winning touchdown drive to beat the Dallas Cowboys last week.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's defense has always gotten after Rodgers in these tense matchups, and it happened again in the first quarter when Barr drove him into the turf after he got rid of a roll-out pass.

The impact did not appear to be that violent at first glance as Rodgers rolled through the hit. But it became apparent quickly that he was in considerable pain. He writhed on the turf as McCarthy argued for a roughing the passer penalty.

"I know Anthony Barr personally," said Hundley, a fellow UCLA alum. "I wouldn't imagine he's a dirty player. I didn't really get a good look at it."

Rodgers rode a cart to the locker room for further tests and remained there throughout the first half. He was initially deemed questionable, but the Packers announced after halftime that he would not return to the game.

"He's the best in the game so I hate to see that for him," Vikings safety Harrison Smith said.

Since becoming the full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has been remarkably durable. He missed seven games in 2013 with a fractured collarbone, but he has started 132 of the other 134 games during that time period.

Of course, being able to count on a quarterback to take the snaps is nothing new for Green Bay. Since Brett Favre took over for the injured Don Majkowski in the third game of the 1992 season, the Packers have had Favre and Rodgers for all but nine games.

Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace were forced to fill in while Rodgers was out in 2013 and the Packers went 2-4-1 in that stretch. Flynn started once in 2010 when Rodgers sat out with a concussion and again in 2011 when he rested during the regular-season finale with the Packers having clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

Favre never sat at all.

Hundley had only thrown 11 passes over the course of his first two-plus seasons in the league before jumping in on Sunday.

"I hope (at)AaronRodgers12 is OK!" Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted. "The league is better when he's healthy. Praying for you."

Injury-riddled Packers cruise to victory over rival Bears

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Injury-riddled Packers cruise to victory over rival Bears

BOX SCORE

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers keep finding ways to win despite more key injuries.

The Chicago Bears never recovered from a miserable start by quarterback Mike Glennon.

Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, and the injury-riddled Packers converted three turnovers into scores in an eventful 35-14 victory over the mistake-prone Chicago Bears on Thursday night.

Rodgers connected with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb on short touchdown passes to help build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter of a game delayed 45 minutes by lightning between the first two periods. The Packers overpowered the Bears down the stretch to slog out a win as intermittent rain fell at Lambeau Field.

"We knew were going to get into a grind of a game. The turnovers were huge for us," coach Mike McCarthy said.

The Packers (3-1) lost two more key players to injuries. Adams left the field on a stretcher after getting hit in the head during a tackle by Danny Trevathan in the third quarter. Running back Ty Montgomery was knocked out in the first quarter with a chest injury.

But the Packers capitalized on an awful start by Glennon, who accounted for four turnovers.

"The number one thing I obviously have to fix is the turnovers," Glennon said.

He fumbled on his first snap on a strip sack by Clay Matthews. Rodgers hit Cobb for a 2-yard touchdown pass three plays later for a 7-0 lead.

The rout was on.

Glennon fumbled on his next series, too, but the Packers couldn't score on that drive.

It was only a matter of time because the mistakes kept mounting.

Glennon threw his second interception with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Six plays later, receiver Jordy Nelson caught his second touchdown pass, an 8-yarder from Rodgers, to make it a 28-point lead.

"This was a big character win for us," Rodgers said. "It's been a next-man-up, no-excuses policy."

Rodgers was 18 of 26 for 179 yards. He picked apart the Bears (1-3) on short, quick passes, a game plan in part necessitated by a patchwork offensive line. The Packers played without starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, and their three backup tackles are already on injured reserve.

The injury to Adams cast a pall late in the third quarter. The game was delayed for about 5 minutes while medical personnel tended to the receiver, who gave a thumbs-up signal as he was wheeled off the field.

The Packers said Adams was conscious and taken to a hospital for evaluation for possible head and neck injuries, and that he had feeling in all of his extremities.

"The news I was given on Davante -- everything looks positive. That's a great sign," McCarthy said.

Green Bay at least gets a long weekend to rest after another costly week on the field. Both the Packers and Bears were coming off overtime wins Sunday.

For Chicago, questions from Bears fans will persist about whether coach John Fox should turn to No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback following another lackluster night for Glennon. He finished 21 of 33 for 216 yards and one touchdown.

"Obviously a very poor performance. I think it starts at the top. We got outcoached, we got outplayed in every area," Fox said.

Milestones
The Packers are 95-94-6 against the Bears, their first lead in the series since 1933. It's the oldest rivalry in football, dating to 1923. ... Matthews' sack on Glennon in the first quarter was the 75th of his career, breaking the franchise record since 1982 held by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

Run it up
Bears: Jordan Howard ran for 53 yards on 18 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Packers: Rookie Aaron Jones, a fifth-round draft pick, had a team-high 49 yards on 13 carries and a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He was the only active running back left on the roster with Montgomery and backup Jamaal Williams (knee) both knocked out of the game.

National anthem
Players, coaches and other staffers locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem. Many fans at Lambeau Field cheered and chanted "USA! USA!" while a large American flag was unfurled at midfield before the anthem.

Packers players released a statement this week saying they would intertwine arms before the game as a show of unity. They asked fans to join in the stands and at home, though it didn't appear that many fans locked arms. Many people in the crowd held up small flags during and after the anthem.

Up next
Bears: Host the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 9.

Packers: Visit the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 8.