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Packers Film Room: Breaking down two of Aaron Rodgers’ three sacks in Philadelphia

Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times in Philadelphia and today’s Film Room looks two of the costlier ones.

Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In addition to throwing costly interceptions that limited the Green Bay Packers’ ability to score points and that led to points for the Philadelphia Eagles, Aaron Rodgers and the offensive line gave up three sacks that also stalled drives and prevented them from scoring the necessary points to stay in a close game.

Two of the sacks came on third down, one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter and both sacks I would primarily put on Rodgers for 1) getting nervous in a clean pocket and 2) not throwing with anticipation as the receiver is coming open on a quick game concept.

Sack #1

2nd quarter, 3rd and 5 @ GB 38, 3:01 remaining

On his first sack, Rodgers danced around a clean pocket and tried to buy time before throwing when he either should have thrown the ball to the underneath choice route to his left or just thrown the ball away.

The play call is a Shanahan tree concept called “choice stucko” with a choice route to Rodgers’s left underneath a corner route and another running back choice route out of the backfield to the opposite side.

The Eagles are playing cover-8, which is Vic Fangio’s reverse cover-6 coverage. It’s a pre-snap split safety two-high coverage that distributes like a 3-deep zone. The defense plays cover-2 to the pass strength and the nickel defender aligns to that same side. To the declared weak side, the defense plays quarters coverage. It distributes like a 3-deep zone coverage due to the quarters safety and corner plus the deep half safety playing deep match zones depending on the route distribution.

Rodgers drops back to pass, surveying the coverage and route progressions. He slides to his right and is in a pretty clean pocket but the coverage has matched the routes pretty well. He moves back into the middle of the pocket as the choice route from the left side comes open across the middle of the field but as he moves back to the middle, the pass rush is already in the backfield so he eats the sack.

His movement just outside of the pocket prevents the offensive line from picking up the stunt around the edge. Combined with Aaron Jones’s inability to get to the outside to chip the rusher coming around, and the play was doomed from the snap. Rodgers could have helped his offensive line and himself by not straying too far from the center of the pocket.

Sack #2

3rd quarter, 3rd and 7 @ 50, 13:26 remaining

This play call was a straight timing throw that needed to be thrown to the middle stick route as soon as Rodgers hit the top of his drop.

They are running a double stick concept out an empty 3x2 formation to the three receiver side on the right. To the backside, the two receivers are running a dig/spot concept.

The Eagles are in a cover-1 “dog” coverage that consists of a 5-man rush and five underneath defenders with safety help over the top.

Rodgers identifies man-to-man across the board with a potential fifth rusher. The coverage defenders over the five receivers are all playing outside leverage to funnel the receivers inside but the key here is they are playing off the release of the receivers with technique that funnels them inside. The stick routes break outside and both Lazard and Watson are open almost immediately. Rodgers needed to throw at the top of his drop back but instead he dropped his eyes to the rush as soon as the defender flashed around on the stunt.


Rodgers plans to play this weekend at Chicago after he told Pat McAfee’s show that his medical scans on his lungs and ribs showed no damage. It is worth wondering at this point if it is even wise to play him regardless of the diagnosis. The Packers have a 3% chance of making the playoffs but the remaining schedule could facilitate that type of scenario.

If they are going to have any chance though, he needs to throw these passes on time when the structure of the play dictates. Otherwise the next four games after Chicago might not even matter.