The Time Aaron Rodgers Got Scared

Even Aaron Rodgers is mortal.

I want to rewind to Week 9 of the 2015 season. The Packers are 6-1 and had just been handed their first loss of the season on the road in Denver. They’re on the road again in Carolina, and this game was a tough one for the Packers.

Green Bay fell behind 27-7, but rallied to trail by just eight points with under four minutes to go. Then, Damarious Randall intercepted Cam Newton deep in Panthers territory, setting the Packers up well.

Rodgers carefully maneuvered the Packers down the field and got them inside the five yard line. A couple of attempts in the end zone fell short, and so the Packers faced a fourth-and-goal from the four yard line with exactly two minutes remaining.

They run a perfectly designed play. James Jones and Randall Cobb are on the right side of the formation. Jones cuts to the inside and runs his defender directly into Cobb’s defender, and Cobb breaks open in the end zone.

But Aaron Rodgers hesitated.

He double-clutches on the throw, looks at Cobb, looks away and tries to force the ball to Jones. The pass is intercepted by Thomas Davis, and that’s that.

Here’s what Aaron Rodgers had to say after that game.

“We had an easy opportunity for a pitch and catch touchdown and I got scared by something. I can’t explain it. It’s a mistake by myself. I’ll definitely be thinking about that one on the ride home. But we got to move on tomorrow, and get ready for a divisional opponent.”

"I got scared." Those are some interesting words from a two-time MVP winning quarterback, and a comment worth remembering. Rodgers is willing to admit that sometimes he just has a brain freeze and sees something that maybe isn’t there, or second guesses himself in the process and ends up making a bad play, and it can directly affect the outcome of the game. It certainly did there.

Rodgers isn’t perfect. He’s not always going to be perfect. Coming back from a broken collarbone and expecting him to be as close to perfect as he usually is is just a little bit unrealistic.

The last time the Packers were in Carolina, Rodgers got “scared” and spooked by something he saw in coverage and didn’t make a play that was there for the taking. That was when he was coming off of a 6-0 start and had been playing pretty well.

Now, after two months on the shelf with Jordy Nelson, who’s two years older and still seemingly slowing down week-by-week, Randall Cobb who isn’t getting as consistently open as he used to, and no tight ends with any sort of explosiveness to throw to, Rodgers may not have the perfect lineup. He may not be the perfect player that we have seen in the past. There could be mistakes in the future, and even though the Packers may be better off with Rodgers under center than Brett Hundley, it’s worth remembering that he isn’t always perfect. He’s a mortal, just like the rest of us.

This is an adapted transcript from this week’s episode of Blue 58. Catch the full episode below, and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts to never miss an episode.