Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in the Green Bay Packers’ preseason game on Saturday night.
That might have been coach Mike McCarthy’s best move.
With three-fifths of the starting offensive line out of the lineup due to injuries and rookie Brett Hundley starting at quarterback, the Philadelphia Eagles dismantled the Packers 39-26.
Even with McCarthy playing it safe with his two-time MVP quarterback, the Packers were hit hard by injuries. Less than a week after losing Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL, receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and defensive back Micah Hyde (neck) were taken to the locker room on a cart. In between, right tackle Bryan Bulaga injured an ankle. Cobb spent the second half on the sideline while Bulaga spent the rest of the first half on the bench but didn't return from the locker room after halftime.
Adding insult to injury was the performance of the defense. The Packers had their entire starting defense on the field but that unit was demolished. Eagles starting quarterback Sam Bradford went 10-for-10 for 121 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay’s No. 1 defense, and backup Mark Sanchez went 13-of-19 for 150 yards and two more scores against a mix of starters and backups as the Eagles piled up 325 yards of total offense en route to a 39-14 halftime lead.
Hundley was 10-of-17 for 207 yards in the first half. Most of that production came on a 52-yard catch and run by Ty Montgomery, a 29-yard deep ball to Jeff Janis that set up the first touchdown and a 36-yard touchdown on a screen to Rajion Neal for Green Bay’s second score. Hundley also threw a pick-six to Walter Thurmond as part of Philadelphia’s 25-0 first quarter.
The first half was an all-around disaster for Green Bay. Offensively, along with the injuries to Cobb and Bulaga, the Packers averaged only 1.8 yards per carry. Defensively, the Packers gave up a 92-yard touchdown drive on a possession that started with just 56 seconds remaining left in the half. And the special teams gave up a 67-yard return on the opening kickoff and was penalized four times in the first half and eight times in the game.
As it became backups vs. backups in the second half, Hundley settled in and Green Bay played better. The Packers pulled within 39-20 late in the third quarter on Hundley’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Kennard Backman. The big play on that drive was a one-handed circus catch by Myles White as he was being pulled to the ground. Hundley’s night ended after three quarters, as he went 22-of-31 for 315 yards.
Matt Blanchard played quarterback in the fourth quarter. On his first series, he hit Janis for a 27-yard touchdown on third-and-11. Janis lined up in the slot and ran past E.J. Biggers, with Blanchard throwing a perfect ball against the blitz. That cut the margin to 39-26 with 9:10 remaining. Blanchard had the Packers on the move again but was intercepted on a deep ball to Larry Pinkard; Blanchard and Pinkard weren't on the same page as Pinkard stopped his route.
Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.