Aaron Rodgers took great confidence from the Green Bay Packers’ season-opening NFL win against the Chicago Bears after a poor offensive showing.
The first game of the new season failed to live up to expectations but the Packers emerged 10-3 winners as Rodgers threw the only touchdown to Jimmy Graham.
The Green Bay quarterback was relieved to come through with a victory that relied heavily on their defense after a dismal start in which Rodgers went two of five for five yards in the first quarter for negative-12 yards in total.
When asked for his thoughts at that stage, Rodgers said: “It can’t get any worse. The first quarter, I think we had three drives, nine plays and negative yardage.”
It was the Packers’ worst single-quarter display since 1994 but they recovered to score through Graham at the start of the second.
“I hold myself to a higher standard and I didn’t play great tonight,” Rodgers acknowledged, but he added his delight at Green Bay’s defensive performance as he was reminded he had predicted the offense would start slow.
“Foreshadowing, huh? That was fun to watch. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a performance like that.
“Obviously a lot of credit goes to [defensive coordinator] Mike Pettine and his staff. Those players… incredible effort. We didn’t do them a whole lot of favours with our performance on offense.
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“But every time we needed a stop, they came up with some really big plays. Great for Adrian [Amos], coming back to the team, to get a pick in the endzone there.
“And a lot of credit to the front. They put a lot of pressure on them. Both the Smiths [Za’Darius and Preston] looked like they were in the mix a bunch. That was just a dominating performance.
“It gives you a lot of confidence when you play like that on offense and win a game by a touchdown.”
As well as paying tribute to Pettine, Rodgers highlighted the importance of Matt LaFleur starting with a win in his first game as an NFL head coach.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due,” Rodgers said, discussing Pettine. “What Mike, his staff and the defensive guys did tonight was spectacular. So, he was the first one I wanted to go to because we put him in some tough spots.
“And then after that last kneel down, I held onto that ball because I wanted to give it to Matt. It’s a big deal winning your first NFL game as a head coach. I’m happy for him – obviously, it’s a lot of fun working with him.
“And I told him, ‘I’m going to be a lot better moving forward’. But I’m excited about the season, I’m excited about these guys.”