Rodgers and the Packers rebounded from their pitiable outing in a season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints in Jacksonville, Fla., eight days earlier. That performance had produced plenty of public fretting and widespread criticism by a variety of observers. Rodgers had taken note.
“I think that there’s even more now than when I started playing,” Rodgers said in his postgame news conference Monday. “There’s so many overreactions that happen on a week-to-week basis. So it’s nice to come out, have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week.”
Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, three to tailback Aaron Jones and one to tight end Robert Tonyan. He completed 22 of 27 passes for 255 yards and had a handsome passer rating of 145.6. Wide receiver Davante Adams had eight catches for 121 yards. Jones added a rushing touchdown.
“I think we maybe tried to show that we cared a little bit more tonight,” Rodgers said.
Asked later to elaborate on that comment, Rodgers said: “I just think people like to say a lot of [b.s.], and it’s nice to come back in here after a game like that.”
The Packers outscored the Lions 21-0 in the second half while welcoming fans back to Lambeau for a regular season game for the first time since the 2019 season. Rodgers gave way to second-year backup Jordan Love for the game-ending kneel-downs.
“It feels great, just to get that ugly taste out of your mouth,” Jones said in his postgame news conference. “We had to wait an extra day to get that taste out of our mouth. I wish we could have played on Thursday night. But I’m glad we came out and handled business and [got] back to playing Packer football.”
Jones was playing his first regular season game at Lambeau since the death of his father, Alvin Jones Sr., in April from complications related to covid-19, according to the family. Aaron Jones said that Packers officials were searching in an end zone following Monday’s game for a necklace that Jones lost on one of his touchdowns. The necklace held a tiny football, Jones said, containing his father’s ashes.
“It’s super special,” Jones said. “My dad always taught me as a man, it’s how you respond to adversity. How you respond is what makes a man, really. I think we came out and we did a good job of responding. And we played well. We played at a high level.”
If Rodgers had struggled and the Packers had lost Monday, the panicking could have commenced.
All the offseason drama surrounding Rodgers and his discontent with the franchise was supposed to have been set aside once Rodgers reported to training camp, finishing expressing his views about the ordeal publicly and then got down to the business of what potentially could be his final season in Green Bay. But after Rodgers and the Packers opened their season with a dreadful performance in the 38-3 defeat to the Saints, there had been plenty of room to wonder what the fallout from that soap opera ultimately would be.
Rodgers threw two interceptions in the opener, had a passer rating of 36.8 and was lifted by Coach Matt LaFleur in favor of Love with the game out of reach. LaFleur said after that game that the Saints had “absolutely embarrassed” the Packers. Rodgers said then that he’d leave such characterizations to LaFleur and played down the impact of a single game, much as he famously once told Packers fans to relax during a set of trying football circumstances.
It wasn’t entirely stress-free Monday for the Packers. The Lions had leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 17-14. Quarterback Jared Goff threw a pair of touchdown passes while connecting on 26 of 36 throws for 246 yards. The Lions, with their three-point halftime advantage, didn’t amount to the virtual homecoming-weekend opponent they were supposed to be. But Goff committed a pair of second-half turnovers as the Lions unraveled.
“The first half, it wasn’t looking too great for us,” LaFleur said in his postgame news conference Monday. “But I was happy with how we finished…. We’ll enjoy the win tonight, but we know that there’s a lot to improve upon.”
Rodgers said the Packers were “disjointed” on offense in the first half Monday, just as they’d been in the opener.
“I think we simplified a few things on offense,” Rodgers said, “and it allowed for all of us to play a little bit faster and smoother, I think. So that was a big thing. We had some plays where you can just get up and run it, instead of a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage. So I think that helped.”
For the Packers, the offseason Rodgers saga and the opening-day loss could be put aside, at least for one victorious night.
“I think that’s what I didn’t do well last week was throw the ball in rhythm,” Rodgers said. “And when I did tonight, I was pretty accurate, which I feel like I should be.”
More live coverage from the Monday night game follows: