CARSON, CA (News4usonline) – Keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers out of the endzone is a pretty tough task to ask of any defense. After dealing with the underwhelming Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Chargers were faced with trying to get a handle on Rodgers, the hottest quarterback in the NFL.
Yes, it is that same Aaron Rodgers who led a Green Bay offense that put up 31 points against the Kansas City Chiefs and 42 points against the Oakland Raiders in the Packers’ last two victories. It is the same dude who is a sure-fire Hall of Fame player the day he retires from playing professional football.
The Chargers played Rodgers like they were not overly impressed with his quarterbacking credentials, sacking Green Bay’s signal-caller three times and knocking him out of his comfort zone for most of the afternoon.
“We do the same thing each and every week,” Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. said. “I feel like we have some games where we slow offenses down like that and then we’ll stall out. We played a complete game today. The coordinator did a great job. The defense did a great job. I just feel like we played complimentary ball today.”
Playing as a complete unit, the Chargers defense was the story in the team’s 26-11 win against Rodgers and the Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park. Los Angeles held Rodgers to just 161 yards passing for the entire game. But the number that the Chargers did on Rodgers through the first three quarters is noteworthy.
Rodgers was held to only 61 yards passing by the Chargers from quarter No. 1 to the third period. Watching Rodgers go through a game where he couldn’t even hit the century mark in the first three-quarters of play is rare, Hayward said.
“Crazy, not often,” Hayward said. “You never see it. Somebody might have to go and look it up. But as a whole, I feel like we did a good job at the back end. Our guys up front did a great job. Melvin [Ingram] and Joey [Bosa] caused havoc all game. Then [Damion] Square and all those guys up front did a great job in the run game. Any time you can slow those guys down in the run, we kind of know what’s going to happen. They’ve got to pass the ball. That’s what we did a great job of today.”
In turning Rodgers into a pedestrian quarterback for the day, the Chargers defense as a whole, played lights out, especially in the first half. The Chargers held the Packers to just three first downs and 19 net yards passing. Things didn’t change much for Green Bay the last two quarters, and the Packers had to swallow a piece of humble pie from their second defeat (7-2) of the season.
“This was a good learning experience for us,” Rodgers said. “We have to come ready to play. I don’t think we were locked in from the start, unfortunately. I’m not sure exactly the reason, but I don’t think the focus was there from the start, so we have to look in the mirror and be very honest about our performance, myself first, and then our offense, our energy, attention to detail, and we have to get better.”
Green Bay’s struggles on offense weren’t entirely self-inflicted. The Chargers defense (No. 5 in the NFL in pass defense) had a lot to do with it as well. The Chargers knocked Rodgers off his block while the secondary provided security blanket coverage. With that said, Rodgers suggested that the Packers made too many out of character mistakes.
“I just think we had so many penalties,” said Rodgers. “We were in such long-yard situations or we had good plays called on some of the false starts, delay of game or what have you. We were just kind of beating ourselves. We had three possessions in the first half and it seemed like five or six penalties on offense. Look no further than ourselves and our own preparation. You know obviously, I wasn’t super comfortable in the pocket. Missed a couple throws I usually hit. We just didn’t get into a rhythm really.”
The win makes it two in a row for Los Angeles, but the Chargers are not celebrating. That’s because the Chargers now enter a stretch where they will play three AFC West Division opponents over the next month.
Beginning with their Thursday Night Football encounter with the Raiders, the Chargers will play the Chiefs on Nov. 18, take a week off and come back to play Von Miller and the Denver Broncos on Dec. 1. After taking down the mighty Packers, the Chargers (4-5) are now one game below .500 and have very little wiggle room in the won-loss column if they are to continue a push to play in the postseason.
If Los Angeles continues to play the type of defense they played against the Bears and Packers, they should be right in the mix of things. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, in discussing how the Chargers were able to stop Rodgers and the Packers in their tracks during his postgame press conference, wants his team to take it one game at a time.
“Just preparation. Just guys believing in one another and the second half of our season,” Lynn said. “We want to finish strong and today was the first game of the third quarter. We prepared to win, and we did.”
Editor’s Note: Top image of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) being sacked by Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Melvin Ingram (54) credited to: Los Angeles Chargers
Dennis is editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about civil rights, education, government, crime, and social justice. Dennis covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. He is a graduate of Howard University. HU!!