Nov. 29: Dallas 37, Green Bay 27
This is the game that would put Rodgers on the map. The team's first-round pick in 2005 replaced Brett Favre with the Packers trailing 27-10 midway through the second quarter at Dallas. Rodgers' first series ended in a punt, but he rallied the Packers with back-to-back touchdowns straddling halftime to get them within 27-24. Dallas answered with a touchdown and Green Bay came back with a field goal to make it 34-27 with 5:03 to go. The defense, however, couldn't get a stop and the Cowboys tacked on a field goal to put the game away with 1:03 to play.
Verdict: Green Bay's defense is guilty.
Sept. 14: Green Bay 48, Detroit 25
This would be Rodgers' first career fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive. After Detroit rallied to take a 25-24 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Packers turned the game into a rout. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a 60-yard catch-and-run to set up Crosby for what ultimately was the winning field goal. Charles Woodson then put the game away with back-to-back interceptions. The first set up Brandon Jackson's 19-yard touchdown and the second was a pick-six.
Verdict: Rodgers puts together a key drive but it's the defense that won the game.
Sept. 28: Tampa Bay 30, Green Bay 21
Woodson's 62-yard pick-six gave the Packers a 21-20 lead with 13:43 remaining. Tampa Bay punted on the ensuing possession but Green Bay couldn't do anything with the ball, with Matt Flynn having replaced Rodgers (injured throwing shoulder). Tampa Bay kicked the go-ahead field goal with 2:26 remaining, capping a killer six-minute drive. Rodgers re-entered the game needing a field goal for the win but was intercepted on the second play of the drive. The Bucs put the game on ice with Earnest Graham running 47 yards and then punching it in from the 1.
Verdict: Green Bay's offense is guilty, though there are extenuating circumstances.
Oct. 5: Atlanta 27, Green Bay 24
Rodgers, playing despite a gimpy shoulder, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jennings to tie the game at 17 with 10:08 remaining. Atlanta, taking advantage of a 54-yard kickoff return, answered with a field goal. Green Bay's next drive went nowhere, with intentional grounding setting up a third-and-19 pass in which Rodgers was intercepted. That set up an easy touchdown drive that made it 27-17. Rodgers rallied the Packers within a field goal with a 72-yard scoring drive capped by a touchdown to Donald Lee. The Falcons recovered the onside kick and Michael Turner iced the game by running three straight times for a first down.
Verdict: Plenty of blame to go around but the interception was huge.
Nov. 2: Tennessee 19, Green Bay 16 (OT)
The Packers, coming off their bye, pushed the undefeated Titans to the brink. Before this game got to overtime, Rodgers — who had recently received a contract extension — threw an end-zone interception and fumbled on back-to-back series in the third quarter. Still, the Packers trailed just 16-13 entering the fourth quarter and tied the game at 16 on a 38-yard field goal with 5:30 to play. Rodgers got one more shot in regulation and got the ball past midfield but the drive stalled on two incompletions and a 2-yard completion on third-and-10. In overtime, the Titans won the toss and drove to the winning field goal.
Verdict: Green Bay's offense is guilty, with two turnovers and little to show for 390 yards of offense after going 1-of-4 in the red zone.
Nov. 9: Minnesota 28, Green Bay 27
The Packers rallied from a 21-10 deficit, thanks to a 59-yard pick-six by Nick Collins and a 65-yard touchdown on a punt return by Will Blackmon. Desmond Bishop stuffed Adrian Peterson and forced a fumble on fourth-and-1 from the Vikings' 41, but the Packers could only muster a field goal off of the takeaway after Daryn Colledge was flagged for holding and Chad Clifton for a false start on third-and-5. That made it 27-21 with 5:56 to play. With Gus Frerotte at quarterback, the Vikings drove 69 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, capped by Peterson's 29-yard touchdown run with 2:22 to go. Blackmon's kickoff return set up the offense at the 41, and a 19-yard completion to Donald Driver put the ball at Minnesota's 40 at the two-minute warning. Green Bay got conservative, with two Ryan Grant runs and a short pass to Driver setting up a 52-yard field goal, which Crosby clanked off the right upright.
Verdict: Green Bay's offense is guilty for not blowing out the Vikings on a 3-0 edge in turnovers, not to mention yielding two safeties.
Nov. 30: Carolina 35, Green Bay 31
When people exonerate Rodgers' for his record in comeback situations, this is Exhibit A. Rodgers hit Jennings for a 21-yard touchdown to give the Packers their first lead, 28-21, with 13:43 remaining. Carolina returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards and Jake Delhomme threw a 36-yard pass to Steve Smith on third-and-11 to get to the 1 to set up the tying touchdown. The Packers answered with an unbelievable 16-play, 79-yard drive that consumed 9:13. Rodgers converted a third-and-4 through the air and a fourth-and-1 on the ground. On first-and-goal from the 14, Rodgers was flushed from the pocket and ran out of bounds, with Julius Peppers flagged for unnecessary roughness. With his quarterback shaken up, McCarthy got conservative. Brandon Jackson ran 6 yards to the 1 but Jackson and John Kuhn couldn't punch it in from the 1, and Crosby hit the go-ahead field goal from 19 yards with 1:57 remaining. The special teams and defense coughed it up again, with a long return and a 54-yard bomb to Smith setting up a 1-yard touchdown run that gave Carolina a 35-31 lead with 1:30 to go. Needing a touchdown, Rodgers' second pass of the drive was intercepted.
Verdict: The offense needs to score on two cracks from the 1 but the defense and special teams are guilty this time.
Dec. 7: Houston 24, Green Bay 21
A team from Texas playing the Packers on a 3-degree day? This should have been a layup. Houston took a 21-14 lead with 10:05 to play but Rodgers answered, with his 9-yard pass to Jordy Nelson tying it at 21 with 5:56 to play. Rodgers got a shot to win the game and put the team in position with a 59-yard completion to Driver moving the ball to the Texans' 25. Tony Moll was flagged for holding on second down and Rodgers was sacked on third down to push them out of field-goal range. Starting from their 3, the Texans used completions of 22 yards to Vonta Leach and 25 yards to Owen Daniels to kick the winning field goal at the gun.
Verdict: The offense and defense share the blame.
Dec. 14: Jacksonville 20, Green Bay 16
After Maurice Jones-Drew's touchdown catch put the Jaguars up 14-13 with 10:39 to go, Rodgers drove the Packers to a field goal and 16-14 lead 5 minutes later. Any chance to score a touchdown, however, was doomed when Rodgers was sacked on second down from the Jaguars' 20. The defense coughed up the lead on a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that was jump-started by David Garrard's 41-yard completion to Dennis Northcutt. The Packers had 1:54 to drive 84 yards to the winning touchdown but couldn't get it done. Approaching midfield, Rodgers deep pass to Lee was intercepted by Reggie Nelson.
Verdict: The fourth-quarter blame goes to the defense but the offense went 0-for-2 on goal-to-go situations in the first half.
Dec. 22: Chicago 20, Green Bay 17 (OT)
On a miserable 2-degree night, the Packers took a 14-10 lead into the fourth quarter. DeShawn Wynn's 4-yard run on fourth-and-1 gave the Packers a first-and-goal from the 5, but they had to settle for a chip-shot field goal to make it 17-10. Collins' interception thwarted the next drive but Green Bay couldn't do anything with the ensuing possession, and Devin Hester's 24-yard punt return set up the Bears near midfield. Matt Forte had a 28-yard run, a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-1 and scored a 3-yard touchdown to tie the game. Needing a field goal to win, Blackmon returned the kickoff to midfield and a penalty on the return pushed the ball to Chicago's 35. Rodgers completed a 9-yard pass to James Jones on third-and-8 to put the Packers in position to win the game, but Crosby's 38-yarder with 25 seconds to go was blocked. Chicago won the toss and drove to the winning field goal.
Verdict: The Packers fell to a remarkable 0-7 in games decided by four points or less and Rodgers lost his eighth consecutive game when trailing by one score in the fourth quarter. It's hard to pin this one on the quarterback. Statistically, Green Bay dominated (325-210 in yards) and would have won if not for the blocked field goal.
Dec. 28: Green Bay 31, Detroit 21
Rodgers gets credit for a game-winning drive in a matchup against Dan Orlovsky to finish the Lions' 0-16 season. With the game tied at 14, Crosby kicked a 36-yard field goal to cap a drive spanning the third and fourth quarters. After the Lions went three-and-out, Rodgers marched the Packers 51 yards, capping the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kuhn. Detroit pulled within 24-21 but Rodgers hit Driver with a 71-yard touchdown pass on the first play after the kickoff to put the game away.
Verdict: Sure, it was against Orlovsky and the Lions were all-time bad but Rodgers did what he needed to do. He threw for 308 yards and Grant and Wynn rushed for 106 apiece.
Sept. 13: Green Bay 21, Chicago 15
Trailing 15-13 after Robbie Gould's 21-yard field goal with 2:35 to play, Rodgers got the ball at his 28-yard line. On third-and-1 from midfield, Rodgers threw a perfect long ball to Greg Jennings for the winning touchdown. On the first play after the kickoff, Al Harris picked off Jay Cutler to put the game away.
Verdict: To this day, this play and Rodgers' pinpoint third-down pass to Jennings in Super Bowl XLV remain the clutch moments of Rodgers' career. Rodgers and the offense did next to nothing for most of the game with just 226 yards. Of Cutler's first three interceptions, the first resulted in a punt, the second a safety and the third a touchdown drive of just 1 yard. But when Rodgers needed to deliver, he did in the biggest of fashions to silence the critics who were pointing to the team's numerous fourth-down meltdowns from the year before.
Sept. 20: Cincinnati 31, Green Bay 24
The "clutch" arrived too late the next week. Seven consecutive possessions ended without scoring, including three consecutive punts following Chad Ochocinco's go-ahead touchdown catch late in the third quarter. Still, the Packers had a chance after kicking a field goal and recovering the onside kick with 44 seconds to go. A 25-yard completion to Donald Driver pushed the ball to the Bengals' 10 but Jason Spitz was flagged for a false start with 1 second to go to end the game.
Verdict: Rodgers almost pulled it out but the offense started far too slowly, with a Woodson interception setting up one touchdown and a Woodson pick-six accounting for another touchdown.
Nov. 1: Minnesota 38, Green Bay 26
In Favre Bowl II, the Vikings took a commanding 24-3 lead on the first possession of the third quarter before the Packers finally got something going. Touchdown passes of 16 and 5 yards to Spencer Havner brought the Packers within 24-20 late in the third quarter. Brett Favre extended the Vikings' lead to 31-20 with 13:35 to play but the Packers quickly answered with Rodgers' 10-yard touchdown pass to Jennings with 10:26 to go cutting it to 31-26. When Green Bay's defense finally made a stand, the best the Packers could do was a 51-yard field-goal attempt by Crosby, which he missed. Favre put the game away with his fourth touchdown on the next series.
Verdict: This was a three-phase defeat. Green Bay's lone scoring drive of the first half covered all of 2 yards. After the field goal, Percy Harvin returned the kickoff 77 yards to set up the first of Favre's touchdown passes.
Nov. 8; Tampa Bay 38, Green Bay 28
Green Bay was cruising, with Rodgers' 12-yard touchdown run giving it a 28-17 lead at Tampa Bay with 12:54 to play. Then disaster struck, starting with an 83-yard return of the ensuing kickoff. After Green Bay punted, Josh Freeman threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Stroughter to give the Bucs a 31-28 lead with 4:14 remaining. Rodgers couldn't get a first down on the ensuing possession, then threw a pick-six as the Buccaneers scored 21 consecutive points over the final 11 1/2 minutes.
Verdict: There's plenty of blame to go around but the offense's final three possessions gained just 22 yards and ended punt, punt, interception.
Dec. 13: Green Bay 21, Chicago 14
Rodgers gets the easiest fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive of his career. With Green Bay trailing 14-13, Collins picked off Cutler and returned it 31 yards to the 11. A pass-interference flag moved it to the 1, where Grant punched it in for the winning touchdown with 12:39 to play.
Verdict: There are some bogus losses on Rodgers' resume, due to special-teams gaffes and the like. This is a relatively bogus win. Though, in fairness, Rodgers mounted a strong drive that would have put away the Bears at 24-14 but Crosby missed a 42-yard field goal.
Dec. 20: Pittsburgh 37, Green Bay 36
Speaking of bogus losses on Rodgers' fourth-quarter resume, there's the unbelievable game at Pittsburgh, where Rodgers went blow to blow with Ben Roethlisberger in an all-time shootout. Ryan Grant's 24-yard touchdown run with 7:49 to go gave the Packers their first lead of the game, 28-27. Pittsburgh answered with a go-ahead field goal to make it 30-28 with 3:58 on the clock. The Steelers, with no answers for the Packers' offense, went for a surprise onside kick, which they recovered illegally before the ball went 10 yards. That set up the Packers at Pittsburgh's 39. On third-and-14 from the 24, Rodgers hit Jones, who did the rest for the touchdown. A two-point pass to Jackson made it 36-30 with 2:06 remaining. Roethlisberger, however, converted a fourth-and-7 and a third-and-15. Finally, on third-and-10 from the 19, Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for the winning touchdown as time expired.
Verdict: There's no gray area on this one, with the defense getting all the blame. Rodgers couldn't have played any better, with 383 yards and three touchdowns. Amazingly, the Packers got the ball just four times in the second half. They punted the first time and scored touchdowns on the other three possessions. Roethlisberger, however, was unstoppable. He threw for 503 yards and three scores.
Jan. 10, 2010 (wild card): Arizona 51, Green Bay 45 (OT)
Rodgers was brilliant, leading the Packers to three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The first was a 30-yard pass to Jones on fourth-and-5. The second, which tied the game at 38 with about 11 minutes to go, was 1-yard run by Kuhn that was set up by completions of 38 yards to Jermichael Finley and 28 yards to Driver. Arizona answered with a touchdown to go ahead 45-38, but Rodgers responded with a 71-yard touchdown drive punctuated by his 11-yard pass to Spencer Havner. The game went to overtime, and it ended quickly when Rodgers was sacked and fumbled — with the aid of an uncalled facemask penalty by Mike Adams — with Karlos Dansby scooping up the loose ball and running 17 yards to win the game 51-45.
Verdict: It's hard to blame Rodgers but he overthrew Jennings for what should have been an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime. Rodgers finished 28-of-42 for 423 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. It wasn't good enough, with Kurt Warner throwing more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four).
Sept. 27: Chicago 20, Green Bay 17
Devin Hester's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown put the Bears in front 14-10 just 21 seconds into the fourth quarter but the Packers responded with a 12-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that Rodgers capped with a 3-yard scoring run. Chicago tied the game on Robbie Gould's 25-yard field goal. On the ensuing possession, Rodgers completed a pass to Jones, who was stripped by Brian Urlacher. The Bears took advantage for the winning field goal with 4 seconds to play.
Verdict: Rodgers played well to give the Packers a chance to win. There was no pretense of a running game (Kuhn had a team-high 31 rushing yards), the Packers were guilty of a franchise-record 18 penalties and Crosby's 37-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter was blocked.
Oct. 10: Washington 16, Green Bay 13 (OT)
Crosby missed two field goals, including a 53-yarder off the left upright as time expired in regulation. Still, the offense did next to nothing before that miss with three consecutive punts and just one first down. In overtime, the Packers went three-and-out on the first series and Rodgers was intercepted by LaRon Landry to set up Graham Gano's game-winning field goal.
Verdict: Rodgers mounted an impressive final drive in regulation to move the ball from Green Bay's 21 to Washington's 35 in about a minute. Still, how were the Packers in that position? How did they get just 13 points out of 427 yards of total offense? It's been an all-too-often occurrence under McCarthy in which the team simply doesn't get enough clutch plays in key situations.
Oct. 17: Miami 23, Green Bay 20 (OT)
Miami took a 20-13 lead with 5:20 remaining, a touchdown drive kept alive when Robert Francois was flagged for illegal formation on a Miami punt. Rodgers was plenty clutch on this drive. On third-and-10, Rodgers hit Nelson for 24. On fourth-and-7, he connected with Jennings for 20. On first-and-goal from the 9, Rodgers scrambled to the 1. Kuhn was stuffed on second- and third-and-goal. On fourth down, Rodgers scored on a quarterback sneak with 13 seconds to go. Both teams got a possession in overtime, with Green Bay going three-and-out, before Miami took advantage of good field position to kick a winning field goal.
Verdict: This falls on the offense. The Packers had three possessions in the second half before the game-tying touchdown. They ended in an interception, a third-and-3 failure from the Miami 8 and a three-and-out punt.
Nov. 28: Atlanta 20, Green Bay 17
Trailing 17-10, Rodgers and Co. took the ball at the 10-yard line with 5:59 to play. Sixteen plays later, the Packers were in the end zone and looking toward overtime. Moving the ball in small increments, Rodgers' biggest play was an 18-yard completion to Jones on fourth-and-1 from the 21. Rodgers was sacked on first down and a false start set up a fourth-and-goal from the 10, from which Rodgers hit Nelson for the tying touchdown.
Verdict: There would be no overtime, though, as the special teams coughed up this one. A long kickoff return and a face-mask penalty on the tackle set up the Falcons at Green Bay's 49 with 49 seconds remaining. Four short completions by Matt Ryan set up the winning field goal.
Jan. 2, 2011: Green Bay 10, Chicago 3
With Green Bay needing to beat the rival Bears to get into the playoffs, the defenses engaged in a slugfest. Tied at 3, the Packers took possession at their 25 with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Rodgers' 46-yard pass to Jennings moved the ball to Chicago's 1, and Rodgers hit Donald Lee for what would be the winning touchdown with 12:42 remaining. The defense would clinch the game on Collins' interception in the final moments.
Verdict: It's a game-winning drive and fourth-quarter comeback for Rodgers, but this victory belongs to the defense and special teams. In the third quarter, an interception by Rodgers gave the Bears the ball at Green Bay's 15, but Charlie Peprah picked off Cutler. Meanwhile, Tim Masthay pinned the Bears at their 3- and 2-yard lines for their final two possessions. The offense, meanwhile, couldn't punch it in on first-and-goal from Chicago's 1 in the third quarter. And after the touchdown, Green Bay's next two possessions were three-and-out punts.
Dec. 4: Green Bay 38, N.Y. Giants 35
Nursing a 28-27 lead, Rodgers hit Driver, who made a remarkable catch in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. The defense, however, couldn't stop Eli Manning and the Giants, who got a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game with 58 seconds left. Boom, boom, boom: Game over. Rodgers hit Finley for 24, Nelson for 27 and Jennings for 18. On the final play, Crosby drilled a 30-yard field goal.
Verdict: Rodgers and Co. were exceptional after a slow start. The first five possessions resulted in a touchdown, an interception that set up an easy touchdown and six first downs. The final seven possessions were turned into three touchdowns, a missed field goal, the winning field goal and 23 first downs.
Dec. 18: Kansas City 19, Green Bay 14
Green Bay's run at perfection ended at lowly Kansas City. The Packers entered the final quarter trailing 9-7 and were down 19-7 before Rodgers' 8-yard touchdown run with 2:04 to play. The defense couldn't get a stop to give Rodgers one more chance.
Verdict: One of the great offenses in NFL history punted four consecutive times in the first half. Rodgers completed less than half of his passes. That's happened just four times in his career as a starter. Only the defense, which held the Chiefs out of the end zone on four of five red-zone possessions, kept this close.
Jan. 15, 2012 (divisional): N.Y. Giants 37, Green Bay 20
The Packers trailed 20-13 entering the final quarter. With New York up 23-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Grant fumbled as he was approaching midfield and the loose ball was returned to the Packers' 4. Eli Manning's touchdown pass on the next play essentially put the game away.
Verdict: There's plenty of blame to go around. The offense had four turnovers, including fumbles by Grant, Rodgers and Kuhn. On the Rodgers fumble on the first possession of the third quarter, Jennings was wide open for what probably would have been a touchdown had Rodgers not been stripped from behind by Osi Umenyiora. The defense, of course, gave up the Hail Mary before halftime.
Sept. 9: San Francisco 30, Green Bay 22
Randall Cobb's 75-yard touchdown on a punt return brought Green Bay within 23-15 with 11:16 to play. The defense forced a three-and-out but Rodgers was picked off on the first play of the following possession, and Frank Gore scored from 23 yards on the first play of the ensuing possession. Rodgers made it a one-score game again with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jones. The defense gave Rodgers one more shot from the 16 with 3:37 to play. Rodgers got the ball past midfield but a sack by Ahmad Brooks made it third-and-17 and essentially ended the game.
Verdict: The Packers were outclassed, especially with their offense. Of the 61 offensive snaps, only nine carries by Cedric Benson didn't involve Rodgers throwing, running or being sacked. A streak of five possessions ended in four punts and the interception.
Sept. 24: Seattle 14, Green Bay 12
Rodgers was sacked eight times and yet the Packers took the lead on a 16-play, 81-yard drive that took 6 minutes off the clock. Rodgers twice kept the drive alive with third-and-10 completions. Benson's 1-yard run made it 12-7, but Rodgers couldn't connect with Jones for what would have been a critical two-point play. We know how this game ended: Jerron McMillian's interception on the first play after the kickoff was voided by a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty on Erik Walden. After Seattle couldn't get in the end zone on fourth-and-3 from the 7, the backed-up Packers went three-and-out. That set up the Fail Mary.
Verdict: Seattle's defense is great but Green Bay's offense couldn't function until McCarthy discovered the running game after halftime. In the first half, the Packers had 82 yards and seven first downs. On the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, the Packers had 81 yards and seven first downs. Seattle had just 197 yards before the winning touchdown.
Sept. 30: Green Bay 28, New Orleans 27
The Packers led 21-7 in the second quarter but found themselves trailing 27-21 on a field goal with 13:04 remaining. After an exchange of punts, the Packers drove 57 yards, the final 11 coming on a go-ahead touchdown pass to Nelson with 7 minutes remaining. The Saints appeared to take the lead but were flagged for holding on a field goal. The re-do was wide left. The Packers ran off the final 2:49, thanks to a brilliant Rodgers-to-Jones connection on third-and-3.
Verdict: For all the late-game failures noted in this piece, it's a feather in Rodgers' cap to outduel Drew Brees, one of the game's great comeback kings. Just as impressive is how it was done: With Green Bay hanging in there amid the Fail Mary hangover and a second-half stretch that ended in a fumble, interception and punt.
Oct. 7; Indianapolis 30, Green Bay 27
The Packers were rolling, up 21-3 at halftime, before the roof caved in. While the Packers' offense went interception, punt, missed field goal in the third quarter, Andrew Luck led the Colts to a touchdown, field goal and touchdown. The Colts took their first lead, 22-21, with 8:04 to play. After an exchange of punts, Green Bay took over at the Colts' 49. Alex Green ripped off a 41-yard gain and Rodgers hit Jones for the go-ahead touchdown. The two-point play failed, leaving Green Bay in front 27-22 with 4:30 remaining. Luck hit Reggie Wayne for 15 on third-and-9 and for 15 on third-and-12. Luck converted a third-and-7 with a 7-yard scramble to the 4, and he hit Wayne for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds to play. Rodgers did his job, with completions of 7 and 26 to Cobb and 14 to Driver. That set up Crosby's 51-yard attempt with 8 seconds to go, which he missed wide right.
Verdict: Of Luck's 362 yards, 212 came from Wayne. It's easy to finger the defense, but the offense went in a funk. Along with the aforementioned third-quarter possessions, the Packers punted three consecutive times to start the fourth quarter. As a rookie, Luck had seven game-winning drives and four fourth-quarter comebacks. He's added one win to those tallies this season, leaving him one short of Rodgers' career marks. Interestingly, in Luck's eight game-winning drives, he's had a passer rating in the 50s once, 70s twice, 80s twice and 100s three times. So, Luck hasn't always been great but he's been great when it's counted. Rodgers consistently has been great but not always great when it's counted.
Nov. 18; Green Bay 24, Detroit 20
Green Bay's offense was bad for most of the day. M.D. Jennings' pick-six gave the Packers a 14-10 lead in the third quarter but the Lions were in front 20-14 after Jason Hanson's field goal with 4:25 remaining. Starting from the 18, Starks ran for 11. On second-and-10, Rodgers threw a short pass to Finley, who broke one tackle and ran up the right sideline for a gain of 40. On third-and-1 from the 22, Rodgers fired a pass to Cobb for the touchdown. Detroit went four-and-out — with disgruntled Titus Young infamously lining up in the wrong spot intentionally — and Crosby tacked on a field goal.
Verdict: This goes back to the Luck comment from the previous game. Rodgers wasn't great but he was great when it counted. When the Packers absolutely needed a touchdown, he delivered.
Dec. 9: Green Bay 27, Detroit 20
The Packers were stuck in a 17-17 tie until DuJuan Harris' 14-yard touchdown run with 10:45 to play. The seven-play, 59-yard drive was accomplished entirely on the ground with Harris, Grant and Ahman Green. After a Detroit punt, Rodgers hit Cobb for 38 yards to set up Crosby's 41-yard field goal that wrapped things up.
Verdict: When the offense had to deliver, it did, and the defense dominated after giving up touchdown drives of 80 and 79 yards to open the game.
Dec. 30: Minnesota 37, Green Bay 34
Rodgers and Adrian Peterson traded blows throughout the second half before the Vikings won on the last play of the game. After Crosby's 40-yard field goal tied the game at 27 with 12:21 remaining, Christian Ponder hit Jarius Wright for 65 yards to set up Ponder's third-down touchdown to Michael Jenkins. Green Bay answered with an 11-play, 78-yard drive. On third-and-21, Rodgers hit Finley for 20, then connected with Jarrett Boykin on fourth-and-1. Later, Rodgers moved the chains with a 14-yard completion to Jennings on third-and-4. Finally, Rodgers hit Nelson for a 2-yard touchdown with 2:54 remaining to tie it at 34. Minnesota, however, won the game as Ponder hit Jenkins for 25 on third-and-11 and Peterson ran for 26 to set up a chip-shot field goal as time expired.
Verdict: The defense is 100 percent guilty. What was worse? Ponder's 120.2 passer rating or Peterson's 199 rushing yards? Green Bay's final three possessions ended in a touchdown, field goal and touchdown, and Rodgers threw for 365 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. That should have been good enough.
Sept. 8: San Francisco 34, Green Bay 28
With Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick trading touchdown passes for the first three quarters, San Francisco took a 24-21 lead with 14:17 remaining. After an exchange of punts, the Packers finally broke through. Nelson's brilliant sideline catch for 37 yards set up the Packers at the Niners' 13. Two runs by Eddie Lacy moved the ball the 2, and Lacy scored on second-and-goal. The defense gave it up, though, when an 18-yard completion to Anquan Boldin turned into a gain of 43 when he broke two tackles. The defense had smothered the Niners' running game all day until Kendall Hunter ran for 23, Gore ran for 8 and Gore scored from the 1. This is where the Packers needed a big drive. Instead, they went three-and-out, with Rodgers rushed into a third-down incompletion. The 49ers then ran out most of the clock, with Green Bay's Hail Mary foiled when Aldon Smith split a double-team block by Don Barclay and Kuhn.
Verdict: The loss goes on Rodgers' ledger but this was an all-around breakdown. The defense couldn't hold onto the lead. Jeremy Ross didn't have a prayer on the return and was tackled at the 9. And Rodgers just couldn't make a play. Then the defense led the Niners burn off 4:26 of the remaining 4:52.
Sept. 22: Cincinnati 34, Green Bay 30
Green Bay was in control 30-21 and driving for more when Rodgers threw an ill-advised pass to Cobb on first-and-10 from the Bengals' 27. Leon Hall intercepted, and Cincinnati turned the turnover into an unlikely 95-yard touchdown drive, with Tramon Williams allowing a third-down conversion, committing a 15-yard penalty and yielding the touchdown throw. Green Bay answered with another strong drive but Johnathan Franklin fumbled on fourth-and-1, with Terence Newman ultimately scooping up the loose ball and scoring. Rodgers had 3:47 to drive the Packers to the winning score. Using one short pass after another, he led the Packers to Cincinnati's 20 but his passes on third and fourth down were batted down.
Verdict: It's another fourth-down failure, but the Packers never should have been in this position. The defense forced four consecutive turnovers. M.D. Jennings returned one of the fumbles for a touchdown. Of the other three, Green Bay took possession at Cincinnati's 26-, 37-, and 21-yard lines and managed just two field goals.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.