The Green Bay Packers eked out a 27-24 overtime victory over the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field on Sunday, but MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows he needs to play better.
"This way of winning, I don't think, is sustainable because it puts too much pressure on our defense," Rodgers said after the game, via ESPN.com. "And obviously, I've got to play better and will play better."
Despite facing rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, who entered the game after Brian Hoyer went down in the first quarter with a head injury, the Packers couldn't put the Patriots away.
Rodgers had a woeful first half, earning an 11.2 passer rating while completing 4 of 11 throws for 44 yards and a pick-six late in the half. It was Rodgers' second-career pick-six at Lambeau Field and gave the Patriots the halftime lead.
Rodgers said he "missed the throw so badly" on the pick-six that Patriots rookie cornerback Jack Jones actually had to come back to make the play. "If I had thrown the ball where I was supposed to, he probably picks it in stride," Rodgers said.
The QB also took the blame for a bad throw to rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs that resulted in a fumble.
In the second half and overtime, Rodgers picked it up, earning a 124.8 passer rating the rest of the way with two TDs. The Packers were able to stretch the field in the second half. After completing just 1 of 5 passes of 10-plus air yards in the first two quarters, Rodgers went 7-of-9 passing in the second half.
"I settled in and usually don't have two terrible halves," Rodgers said. "So I kind of returned to the form I expect from myself, and we started moving the football."
The Packers escaped with a win, but Rodgers was honest about the effort. Perhaps the outcome would have been different if they weren't facing a rookie quarterback making his first appearance.
"You can't be 2-2 losing to a third-string quarterback and not playing great in all three phases, so we had to have this one," Rodgers said. "That doesn't take anything away from the joy of winning, but this was one we had to have."
Green Bay moved to 3-1 ahead of a Week 5 showdown with the 3-1 New York Giants in London.