Aaron Rodgers will likely win his third NFL MVP award this year. Unfortunately for him, his season once again ended with NFC Championship heartbreak.
The Packers lost to the Buccaneers, 31-26, at Lambeau Field on Sunday, ending a brilliant season from Rodgers and casting doubt on his future with the organization.
“It’s got to be devastating, there’s no question – especially as well as they played [this season],” NFL on Fox analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth said on The DA Show. “As an offense, as inept as they were in the second half – you get three interceptions in the course of a half and you can’t put up double-digit points? If you get those opportunities, those opportunities don’t come around very often. You have got to score touchdowns, not settle for field goals. That part has got to be devastating for Rodgers and for that offense in general.”
Rodgers finished 33-of-48 for 346 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but the offense stalled twice in the red zone, including on the Packers’ final possession.
Faced with a 4th-and-goal from the 8, Matt LaFleur controversially opted for a field goal instead of giving Rodgers another crack at the end zone.
“I just thought it was a poor decision,” Schlereth said. “I yelled, ‘This is four-down territory! You got to go for it!’”
Schlereth was also surprised that Rodgers did not scramble for yards – and potentially a touchdown – on third down. It appeared he would tuck it and run, but he threw at the last moment.
The pass fell incomplete.
“At least get yourself four or five yards and have the ability to be 4th-and-goal on the 2 and then you’ve got everything,” Schlereth said. “The play-action comes into play, your run game comes into play – everything. I was shocked. I was shocked that they did not go for it there.”