GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers might be the most talented quarterback of all time. Green Bay’s signal caller certainly is in the conversation, a first-ballot hall-of-famer capable of making any throw at any speed.
He’s most always awesome, but rarely better than he was Sunday in a 42-21 victory over the Raiders, who could not slow him down despite their best efforts. Rodgers finished the day completing 25-of-31 passes for 429 yards, five touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He also ran for another score.
“He’s one of the best of all time,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “He made a couple of great audibles. He made a couple of great throws. He’s tough as hell, man. We hit him a few times and it didn’t bother him one bit. He did a great job, but we have to play better defensively. There’s no excuse giving up big plays like that.”
The Raiders gave up a ton. Nine, in fact, went for 21 yards or more. Three of them were touchdowns. Talk about explosive.
Gruden’s right. That’s inexcusable.
Defensive linemen will say they didn’t get enough pressure up front. They hit Rodgers hard a few times, but Rodgers largely had time to slice and dice the secondary. The defensive backs say they have to cover better, communicate better and focus better.
They weren’t interested in a simple tip of the cap to someone who’ll one day wear a gold jacket. They looked inward and believe deep down they should’ve done better.
“He’s a great quarterback and was able to will his team to a win,” safety Karl Joseph said. “He’s so smart. He’s quickly able to see what defense you’re in. He can read your cards and make the smart decisions. He can run and create and buy time and can make all the throws.
“He is a great quarterback and runs a great team, but I think we beat ourselves today.”
Most every cornerback was victimized at one point, but Gareon Conley had a particularly frustrating day defending the run and pass. Without watching tape it was tough to pinpoint exactly what went wrong allowing so many big plays.
“It was a combination of things,” Joseph said. “We just have to play better overall as a unit.”
The Raiders were upset by the result but promised to be resilient and grow from this defeat. They’ll have to do so quickly with DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans coming up next week.
“It’s frustrating because we know we have talent in the secondary and the front seven,” safety Erik Harris said. “We just have to eliminate explosive plays and have better eyes on our man. The biggest disappointment is that we did things that were uncharacteristic. Whenever you lose a game like this you have to examine why did that and why we were playing like we know we can.
"Everybody’s positive in the locker room. We’re going to learn, improve and do better next week.”