Green Bay, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers returns under center and the Packers return to victory – Welcome back to Green Bay after a couple weeks of turmoil.
The reigning MVP can thank the Packers’ defense for more weightlifting.
AJ Dillon rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and the Green Bay defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-0 on Sunday, as Rodgers returned after losing the game with COVID-19. Seattle was shut down for the first time in a decade.
His positive test a week later lost to Kansas City, 13-7. The last nine games.
“It’s good to be back with the guys, it’s good to be back home, it’s good to be on the field,” Rodgers said at a postgame press conference via zoom, allowing him to unwind without violating league protocols. “Most of the emotions from the whole night were probably going off the field after the game. It definitely got me a little foggy.
Rodgers did not practice weekly and non-vaccinated players were allowed to play Saturday under the NFL’s protocols.
The three-time MVP said he was “immune” before the season. After his positive test, he explained the reasons for looking for alternatives to vaccination and his skepticism about the effectiveness of strokes. Rodgers later apologized for the misleading statement about his vaccination status.
“There will always be criticism in this world,” Rodgers told reporters in his first comments after the controversy broke out. “I don’t define myself by criticism, but I understand this is part of it because this issue is definitely polarizing.”
While Rodgers hasn’t been great, his return has made this all the more clear: With him, the Packers (8-2) are among the best teams in the NFC and a Super Bowl contender.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I feel like I’ve played hard enough. Obviously I had a bad decision in the red zone and probably missed a couple of deliveries.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson injured his middle finger and struggled to return after missing three games in need of surgery. He went 20 of 40 for 161 yards with two interceptions.
The Seahawks (3-6) wasted two scoring chances when Kevin King and Adrian Amos Wilson picked up passes in the end zone.
“It’s a big opportunity we missed,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Just disappointing, because it was a real blow. We could feel it and we knew it.”
Green Bay recorded its first shutout since a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills on September 30, 2018. The Seahawks have not closed since the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 24-0 on September 18, 2011, Wilson’s arrival to Seattle.
“First and foremost, it’s hard to shut someone down,” Amos said. “But then when you get a guy who can expand (plays), he has a pedigree, everything he does, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and everything, it’s a tough job.”
Green Bay’s 3-0 lead in the fourth quarter coincided with the second-lowest score of any NFL game since 2008. Dallas and Philadelphia were scoreless in the third quarter of the 2017 game, and Dallas eventually won 6-0.
After Aaron Jones was sidelined with a knee injury following the 2020 Pro Bowl, Dillon extended the Packers’ offensive line to make the game affordable. Packers coach Matt LaFleur didn’t have much details on Jones’ injury after the game.
“Yeah, when they first left the game, they looked at me and said, ‘Finish the job, finish it,'” Dillon said. “It’s like my big brother on this team, I loved him until he died, so that belief in me was great. That belief was great. Like I said, I want to finish it for him and the team and we did it as a team.
In the third and goal from 3, Dillon ran across the line of scrimmage to Bobby Wagner but basically got the six-time All-Pro linebacker into the end zone for his first touchdown run of the season. That stretched Green Bay’s lead to 10-0 with 10:37 remaining.
Dillon scored on a 2-yard run with 2 minutes remaining, setting up that TD with a 50-yard reception. He finished with 21 carries for 66 yards and two catches for 62 yards.