Rodgers looks to rally after decisive defeat

Weston Hodkiewicz
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Green Bay Packers’ offense has one week left to salvage its lost season.

The reality of Sunday’s 38-8 loss to Arizona is that the Cardinals’ defense (two touchdowns) actually outscored Green Bay’s offense. Aaron Rodgers managed a few marquee throws, including a 38-yard pass to receiver Davante Adams out of his own end zone, but it was laborious for the Packers to move the ball.

Green Bay finished with only 77 net passing yards after taking nine sacks for 78 yards. A combination of turnovers (four), penalties (seven for 59 yards) and overall offensive ineptness led to a long afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"There’s a lot of things we have to do," left guard Josh Sitton said. "We’re just not executing at all levels – o-line, receivers, running backs. ... We can’t be off like that and we kind of are right now."

As has been the case all season, the Packers’ top three receivers — James Jones (five catches for 46 yards), Randall Cobb (three catches for 15 yards) and Adams (three catches for 42 yards) — struggled to find many openings in Arizona’s secondary. Rodgers finished with a paltry 5.4 yards per pass.

The offense couldn’t even punch it in when it drove to the Arizona 6-yard line at the end of the third quarter. Rodgers went to Adams on three consecutive plays — a 4-yard pass, a catchable incompletion in the end zone and a short slant for no gain — before turning it over on downs.

Packers can't measure up to Cards

A week away from going into the record book as the most ineffective offense in Mike McCarthy’s 10 years as head coach, Adams and his teammates still see reasons for hope for league’s 26th-ranked offense.

“I think when we’re playing to our full potential, we’re the best offense in the NFL,” Adams said. “So we’re going to continue to make plays and make the ones that have been getting away from us, we’ve got to execute on those.”

The Packers frequently have spoken on the need to run the ball, but the overall running game was sabotaged by the early deficit and James Starks' fumble. Eddie Lacy gave the offense arguably its biggest spark with his 12 carries for 60 yards, and a 28-yard touchdown pass off a screen from Rodgers in the third quarter.

Rodgers was pulled with 9 minutes, 56 seconds remaining, finishing 15-of-28 for 151 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Despite finishing with a sub-70 passer rating for the second consecutive week, he was upbeat about the Packers’ playoff chances despite Sunday’s shellacking.

Next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings will mark the third consecutive year that the NFC North will be decided in the regular-season finale.

“That’s the beauty of the NFL,” Rodgers said. “Teams match up differently against different teams and find sources of inspiration along the way in various ways. We have to do that. Over the years, we’ve had ups and downs at different times in the season and galvanized over an idea or a belief.

“We’ve just got to hold serve, if you will, next week at home, and give us a chance to win a playoff game at home and come right back here and beat a good football team.” and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

Insider: Thumbs down to offensive line

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