On Thursday night at San Diego, Rodgers threw incompletions on six of his eight attempts as the Green Bay Packers lost 21-13 to the San Diego Chargers.
The shaky outing left the NFL's reigning MVP feeling shaken.
"Stuff happens," Rodgers said. "You don't play as well as you want to, but it's preseason. We're missing some guys, screwed some plays up, turned the ball over. It happens. We'll watch the film, review and get better."
Rodgers, who led the NFL in passer rating, yards per attempt and touchdown-to-interception ratio while finishing second in touchdown passes and completion percentage, finished 2-of-8 for 16 yards. He threw one interception and was charged with the fumble on a botched handoff to James Starks.
The game started poorly and never got much better for Rodgers and the No. 1 offense. His first pass of the night was dropped by Starks. After moving the chains by converting a pair of third-and-7s, Rodgers misfired on his final four attempts. The first was a screen that the Chargers diagnosed, the next was a throwaway and the third was a dropped bomb to James Jones (though that completion would have been overturned by holding). The fourth was the interception, which came when explosive first-round pick Melvin Ingram ran past fill-in left tackle Herb Taylor and hit Rodgers from behind as he was throwing.
"Nah, not really," Rodgers said when asked if there was anything he'd work on at practice this week while gearing up for the home preseason game next Thursday against Cleveland. "Whether you play real well or you struggle, it's preseason. You've got to be working on things. We'll be fine. We'll just watch the film, get a nice tongue lashing, come back on Saturday and get ready for next week."
No. 2 quarterback Graham Harrell ran hot and cold. He completed 15-of-27 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown, good for a passer rating of 81.6.
On his first two series, he completed 2-of-5 passes for 2 yards. Harrell's third possession started with 2:57 remaining in the half. He navigated the 70 yards, with completions of 28 and 23 yards to Randall Cobb before hitting Cobb for a 3-yard touchdown with 32 seconds to spare.
However, his first three series after halftime ended in three-and-outs. On the first, Harrell missed rookie Jarrett Boykin, who was free by a step on a deep post route that would have gained at least 30 yards and potentially gone the distance. On the third, he short-hopped a pass to Dale Moss on third-and-11.
Harrell bounced back by guiding a 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that included a conversion on third-and-9 (17 yards to Curensky Gilleylen) and fourth-and-3 (pass interference). That pulled Green Bay within 14-13, but Harrell threw incomplete to Boykin on the two-point try.
Harrell got the ball with a chance to give the Packers the lead but a dropped pass on third-and-8 nipped that drive in the bud. That would be the end of Harrell's night. He led the Packers to points on two of his nine possessions but went three-and-out six times. Last summer, the Packers scored on four of his 17 possessions — with one of those being a drive that lost yardage.
"I think it's a real strength of Graham the way he is extremely consistent with his personality," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's an excellent trait to have and it enables him to navigate through these types of environments. Every young quarterback, every backup quarterback that plays in preseason games experiences this. This is nothing new but it's a great experience."
Seventh-round pick B.J. Coleman got one drive. Trailing by eight with 1:49 to go and 76 yards from a potential tying touchdown, Coleman finished 4-of-8 for 36 yards. He converted a third-and-4 (12 yards to Boykin) and a fourth-and-10 (12 yards to D.J. Williams) but Marc Tyler fumbled as he crossed midfield to end the game.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.