GREEN BAY — Green Bay Packers’ Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Monday afternoon, October 16th confirmed that his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers will have to have surgery on his broken right collarbone — an injury suffered during the first quarter of the team’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium Sunday.
Rodgers has engineered many a last-minute comeback for the Green Bay Packers. He has a dozen victories over the rival Minnesota Vikings in 10 years as the starter.
This time? No chance. Rodgers was long gone, and so was Green Bay’s division lead.
Harrison Smith led the Minnesota defense’s thorough dismantling of the Packers, who lost Rodgers to a broken collarbone and left with a 23-10 defeat to the Vikings on Sunday that transformed the trajectory of the NFC North race.
Smith had 1½ sacks on safety blitzes, a diving interception and two pass breakups, helping the Vikings (4-2) limit the injury-depleted Packers to a season-low 227 yards.
“I don’t think we altered a whole lot,” Smith said. “We had a game plan, and we pretty much stuck to it.”
Anthony Barr, who later left with a concussion, delivered the game-changing hit on Green Bay’s second drive when he took Rodgers hard to the turf as the two-time NFL MVP followed through on a pass. Rodgers fell on his throwing shoulder, and the Packers (4-2) announced he could miss the remainder of the season.
“It was a poor performance as a football team, one I’m frustrated by,” McCarthy said, according to Packers.com. “When the mental mistakes are what they were yesterday, it’s something I take very personal from the chair of the head coach. It’s important to shift gears. We’re looking forward to playing again after our performance yesterday. My challenge is to win game No. 5. This is what we do as coaches. This is what we’re committed to as a football team. It’s unfortunate for all these guys to be hurt right now, and it’s unfortunate for Aaron to get hurt like that, but this is where we are. All the energy needs to be poured into beating the Saints.”
That energy is also fully behind Brett Hundley as the new starting quarterback, with Joe Callahan as his backup. McCarthy made that unequivocally clear.
According to Packers.com, having invested multiple years in both backup signal callers, McCarthy is calling upon himself, the QBs, and the entire offense to “turn it up” after producing a measly 118 yards on Sunday from the time Rodgers left the game until a late desperation drive.
“I have to do a better job. I have to get Brett into a flow. More importantly, we need to get our offense into a flow,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t run the ball very well, pass protection was a negative, we didn’t handle basic blitzes they came with. We have to play cleaner football.”
McCarthy noted that he “didn’t like the hit” from Barr on Rodgers, deeming it “totally unnecessary,” and calling it “an illegal act.”
“To sit here and lose any of your players to something like that, it doesn’t feel good,” McCarthy said.