The Green Bay Packers gave up 364 rushing yards to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. That was the highest number in a game for any team on the 2022 season, and was a major reason why the Eagles won a 40-33 decision in week 12. That sent the Packers to 4-8 and put any semblance of hope for the playoffs to bed for this season.
Just as deadly to Green Bay’s postseason hopes as the final score on Sunday was the loss of Aaron Rodgers to injury. Rodgers left the game early in the fourth quarter with what was described as an oblique injury, giving way to Jordan Love late in the game. Love played well in his limited duty late in the game, throwing a 63-yard touchdown to Christian Watson for the Packers’ longest score of the season, but it was not enough to overcome the best team in the NFC.
A chaotic first half ended with a 27-20 Eagles lead after both teams traded massive momentum swings in the first 30 minutes. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdowns as well as a pair of interceptions before the break, while the team managed three touchdown drives of five or fewer plays.
But the Eagles’ rushing attack was far too much for the Packers. Quarterback Jalen Hurts hit 100 yards on the ground before the first quarter ended, finishing with over 150 yards on the day. Miles Sanders went 21-for-143 and two touchdowns as well, as the Eagles averaged more than seven yards per carry on the day.
Rodgers’ injury will loom over this team for the rest of the season, and it may send him to injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Look for Jordan Love to get significant playing time down the stretch with the Packers’ playoff dreams all but over.
Here’s how it happened.
As has been the case so often this season, the Packers won the coin toss and deferred their choice to the second half. On the Eagles’ opening possession, the defense got two incompletions to start but gave up a huge run to Jalen Hurts on 3rd and 10. Quay Walker was lined up to spy Hurts but he missed a tackle on the quarterback up the middle, as Hurts took off for a 24-yard gain. Hurts scrambled again for 28 yards on third down a few plays later before Kenneth Gainwell plunged into the end zone for a short touchdown and an early 7-0 Eagles lead.
On that drive, safety Darnell Savage was in for just one play, giving way to Rudy Ford in the starting lineup. However, he injured his foot on that single play and did not return to the game.
Keisean Nixon dropped the ensuing kickoff in the end zone and slipped at the ten-yard line, being touched down to start of an abysmal first drive for the Packers. After an incomplete pass on first down, Aaron Rodgers managed to escape instant pressure on second down, throwing the ball down the field to Allen Lazard. His throw was behind his receiver, however, hitting cornerback Darius Slay in the helmet, leading to an interception by Josiah Scott. Three plays later, Miles Sanders broke a tackle from Kenny Clark and scampered 15 yards into the end zone to give the Eagles a 13-0 lead (following Jake Elliott’s missed extra point) less than six minutes into the game.
Green Bay’s offense got moving on its second series, following a big return by Nixon on his second attempt. He brought the ball out to the Eagles’ 41, and the Packers’ running backs did the rest. Aaron Jones broke off a run of 10 yards on the first play, then took a screen pass 30 yards to the Eagles’ 20 two plays later. On the next snap, AJ Dillon burst through the line for a 20-yard touchdown, his first score since week 1 and only his second run of 20 yards all season.
Here’s a look at the TD:
The Packers’ defense got a three-and-out on the next series, thanks largely to Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare. He made a stop for a short two-yard gain on 2nd-and-3, then stopped Hurts on a QB sneak attempt on 3rd-and-1. The Eagles decided to keep the offense on the field for 4th-and-inches at their own 37-yard line, but Jason Kelce’s snap to Hurts was not handled cleanly, and Miles Sanders snagged the football. However, the Packers managed to bring him down just short of the line to gain, and the offense took over with excellent field position.
The Packers picked up five yards on their first three plays, but then Rodgers hit Christian Watson over the middle for a big gain on 4th-and-5 from the 32. That came as Matt LaFleur passed up a 50-yard field goal attempt, with winds affecting Mason Crosby’s range. On the next play, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb with a dart for an 11-yard touchdown, and Crosby hit the extra point for a stunning turnaround and a 14-13 Packers lead.
Hurts struck again on the next drive, however. After a few passes to A.J. Brown to midfield, Hurts broke out for another huge gain with his legs, picking up 42 yards to give him more than 100 in the first quarter alone. He got pushed out of bounds at the 3-yard line, and two plays later, Miles Sanders pushed his way into the end zone to give the lead back to Philadelphia at 20-14.
Rodgers threw his second interception of the game on the next series. After a few powerful runs from Dillon and a 17-yard pass to Robert Tonyan over the middle, Rodgers tried to hit Tyler Davis up the seam but was intercepted by Reed Blankenship. But the Packers took the ball right back a few plays later, as Rudy Ford stripped the football from A.J. Brown. Quay Walker scooped up the football and returned it to the Eagles’ 10-yard line. Three plays later, Rodgers found a wide-open Aaron Jones in the end zone to tie the game at 20.
Mason Crosby missed the extra point, however, keeping the game tied. Green Bay’s defense forced the first punt of the game with a three-and-out, led by a sack from recently-claimed linebacker Justin Hollins on Hurts. Rodgers took a pair of sacks on their next series, however, giving the Eagles a chance to score before the end of the first half.
They did just that, driving down the field to cross midfield in a few plays. With a few ticks left in the second quarter, Hurts lofted a back-shoulder pass to Quez Watkins in front of Rasul Douglas for a 30-yard touchdown, giving Philadelphia a seven-point lead going into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Nixon returned another kickoff a long way, gaining 50 yards to set up the Packers near the 50. Rodgers took a third-down sack to go three-and-out, and the Eagles set off on their longest drive of the day. They ripped off an 11-play, 91-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock, and it culminated in a six-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown to extend their lead to 14 points.
The Packers fought back on offense to put some more points on the board, but it came at a high cost. Rodgers took a big hit to the ribs early on the next series and the Packers leaned on their running backs to drive down inside the red zone. Although Jones and Dillon helped the Packers drive down the field, the Packers stalled out and kicked a field goal to close back within 11 points, and Rodgers went to the locker room immediately following that attempt.
The Eagles would restore their 14-point lead with a field goal before Jordan Love took the field in relief of Rodgers with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Love delivered almost immediately, hitting Christian Watson over the middle on a crossing route. The rookie receiver did the rest, turning on the jets as he got to the corner and burning the Eagles’ secondary for a 63-yard touchdown:
That pulled the Packers back within a touchdown, but the Eagles got going on the ground once again. They drove down and managed to kick a field goal, going back up by ten points with the Packers having just over two minutes remaining. Love led a field goal drive to close to within seven points at 40-33, preserving all three of their timeouts with a minute left, but a failed onside kick and a first down from the Eagles’ running game sealed their victory.