Aaron Rodgers took a beating for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers frequently forcing him to throw under pressure and taking him down for five sacks, but one hit, in particular, didn’t sit right with his head coach.
Matt LaFleur told reporters Monday afternoon he would be seeking clarification from the NFL on why a flag thrown for unnecessary roughness against his quarterback was picked up following another change to the result of the play.
The play in question occurred in the first quarter when Rodgers took a hit from Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. after diving into the end zone for a touchdown, one that drew an immediate flag. Officials picked up the flag, however, after the scoring review determined Rodgers had given himself up at the 1-yard line and was down before crossing the plane.
So, if Rodgers was considered “given up” when he took the hit from Winfield, why was the flag picked up after the adjustment?
“That’s one of the questions that we intend to get answered,” LaFleur said. “I don’t understand that rule. I don’t understand how if you’re going into the end, you’re giving yourself up, and you get hit that it’s not a flag. But, you know, that’s something we’ll get clarification on.”
Before his hit, Aaron Rodgers was 12/16 for 118 yards 0 TDs and 0 INTs vs. Tampa Bay. After this hit he went 4/19 for 42 yards 0 TDs and 2 INTs.
— Steven Cheah (@StevenCheah) October 19, 2020
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Retracted Flag Didn’t Hurt Packers’ Scoring Drive
The entire sequence of Rodgers rushing in for a 7-yard touchdown — and proceeding to do the Hingle McCringleberry celebration — ended up feeling disappointing for the Packers when the play was called back, but it only delayed them taking a 10-0 lead by one play. Aaron Jones charged up the middle on the next play and scored the Packers’ only touchdown of the day.
The problem is the Packers never crossed back into Bucs territory again, looking sluggish on both sides of the ball for the rest of the afternoon. The Bucs defense did more with Rodgers’ two interceptions (69 yards, a touchdown) than the veteran quarterback managed to do with his remaining 19 passing attempts, which went for just 42 yards on four completions.
The Packers also punted as much against Bucs as they had in their previous four games combined with J.K. Scott being asked to rip off seven punts for a combined 325 yards (average of 46.4 yards with a long of 55). He hadn’t been asked to punt more than three times in a single game this season thus far.
Rodgers said in the postgame he never felt the Packers offense got into a rhythm even before they stopped scoring. Some of that was surely the enormous pressure the Bucs applied against Rodgers and his blockers, whether they be running backs or offensive linemen. According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers allowed 21 total pressures on their quarterback with him taking more than a dozen hits.
“He is definitely a little bit sore today, but I don’t see anything too significant going forward,” LaFleur said when asked Monday how Rodgers’ body was holding up after the loss.