Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' return marred by turnovers

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 17, 2017 at 8:22 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One game into his return from a two-month absence, Aaron Rodgers isn't about to give up on the season even if the Green Bay Packers are pretty much out of the NFC playoff hunt.

Rodgers picked apart his performance in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers, figuring his three interceptions were devastating at Bank of America Stadium.

The quarterback also isn't ready to dismiss the remaining two games of the regular season, particularly with the home finale coming Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

"I'm a competitor," Rodgers said. "Until they tell me otherwise, I'm expecting to play."

Rodgers missed seven games after sustaining a broken collarbone in an Oct. 15 road loss to the Vikings.

Green Bay (7-7) had a two-game winning streak end with the loss to Carolina.

Rodgers was 26 of 45 for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards on six carries, including one that resulted in a fourth-down conversion.

"The shoulder felt fine," Rodgers said. "I felt good all week. Just missed some throws and obviously I hold myself to high standards and this comes in well below in those standards."

But the three interceptions were bothersome, particularly when he said he had strong protection for most of the game. He was sacked three times.

The Panthers said they were focused on making it difficult on Rodgers.

"Throughout the course of the game, we started to figure out where he wanted to escape," Panthers defensive end Wes Horton said. "It took a lot of adjusting throughout the game to figure out when he didn't see someone downfield and he wanted to escape."

Green Bay running back Aaron Jones said there was comfort in having Rodgers back in the huddle and taking snaps.

"It makes it easier," Jones said. "He calls out the defense and protection, just makes it easier for us."

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said he would discuss Rodgers' status for the remainder of the season during the week.

"I think he did a lot of good things," McCarthy said. "I think he competed like he always does. When you look at that stat line, it's hard to overcome the obvious (with the turnovers)."

Rodgers, 34, is in his 13th NFL season.

The Packers have been in the playoffs for the past eight seasons and reached the NFC Championship Game in two of the last three.

"We have had a great run around here," Rodgers said. "As long as I'm here, I'm confident that we'll be in the mix every single year."

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