LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

GREEN BAY - It was a startling sight when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took off with the football, with receiver Randall Cobb serving as a pitchman to his right.

The Packers are among the NFL’s fortunate few to have an elite, franchise quarterback. The last thing coach Mike McCarthy wants is to expose Rodgers to unnecessary hits. So it was surprising when Rodgers ran a triple option in the first quarter Monday night at the Philadelphia Eagles.

The play, McCarthy said, is called “Bazooka” in the Packers playbook. He didn’t say on which page it can be found, but the only way it’s near the front of the book is if McCarthy sorts his plays in alphabetical order.

“It’s a situational call,” McCarthy said, “and obviously you have options, and the lowest possible option is for the quarterback to keep it.”

That’s precisely what Rodgers did.

On third-and-1, receiver Ty Montgomery faked an inside dive. Rodgers then carried the football around the right end, keeping it for 4 yards and a first down.

“Aaron can be spiteful sometimes as we know,” McCarthy said, “so it was a great read by him. We’re looking to get the pitch there. But the end of the day, it’s about getting the first down and him being smart with it. I thought it was well-executed.”

The best part of that execution: Rodgers dove to give himself up before any Eagles defenders hit him.

rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE