By: Will Burchfield
If the Lions end up in a must-win game versus the Packers on New Year’s Eve, they can rest easy knowing Aaron Rodgers won’t stand in their way.
The Packers placed Rodgers on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending his season. He had returned on Sunday from an eight-week absence due to a broken collarbone.
The comeback didn’t go as planned for the two-time MVP. He threw three interceptions in a 31-24 loss to the Panthers, and the Packers (7-7) were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night.
“It’s not the fairy tale that we were hoping for,” Rodgers told reporters after the loss. “As I lay in that surgery bed eight weeks ago thinking about this moment, I obviously saw it going differently.”
Rodgers also threw three touchdowns and finished with 290 yards in the air, but it was clear he was rusty. He hadn’t thrown three picks in a game since 2009.
“I felt good, I just missed some throws. Missed some ones I’m used to hitting. Just uncharacteristic plays. I’m disappointed in my performance today,” he said. “Obviously I hold myself to a high standard, and this comes in well below.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t say after the game whether or not Rodgers would finish the season. Rodgers, for his part, said his shoulder felt fine and he wanted to play in his team’s final two games.
“I’m a competitor,” he said. “Until they tell me otherwise, I’m expecting to play.”
But with the playoffs now out of the question, the Packers saw no reason to risk further injury to their franchise quarterback. Rodgers had returned from his surgery four weeks ahead of schedule.
To make the playoffs, the Lions need to win their final two games and have the Falcons lose out.