Even quarterback Aaron Rodgers qualifies, putting together a solid 90.0 passer rating (24-of-39, 283 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) despite working with a young, depleted receiving corps and a handful of drops. LaFleur counted six in all, one of them causing just Rodgers’ second interception of the season.
LaFleur lauded his two-time MVP not just for the “pinpoint accuracy” on the 35-yard TD pass to Allen Lazard in the fourth quarter, but for his ball placement on several scramble drills as well.
“I thought his performance was as good as he’s played,” LaFleur said. “He’s got to get help. I don’t care what quarterback (it is) in this league, you’ve got to get help from your supporting cast as well. I thought he threw some just unbelievable balls with tremendous accuracy. Our guys gotta make the catches.”
The drop-INT fell on undrafted rookie Darrius Shepherd, who slipped on a route at the goal line and couldn’t catch Rodgers’ throw, inadvertently deflecting it right into a defender’s arms. It added to Shepherd’s rough night, which included a muffed punt earlier in the game when he misjudged the ball, ended up trying to catch it with his hands over his head, and paid the price.
LaFleur didn’t directly say the miscue would cost Shepherd the punt-return job, but he did confirm it’s open for competition.
“If you get in a bad spot, you have to let the ball go or worst-case scenario fair-catch it and give yourself a chance,” LaFleur said. “He’ll learn from it. He’ll bounce back. He’s tough-minded. All you can do is move forward.”
If Shepherd is anything like the rest of the team, he will recover as LaFleur said. Resiliency was the name of the game in rallying to win when two deep balls allowed, a dropped third-down pass, a controversial fourth-and-goal call and a fumble all went against the Packers in the game’s first 11½ minutes, leading to a 13-0 deficit.
“The game couldn’t have started much worse for us,” LaFleur said. “Our defense answered the bell when we put them as a team in bad situations. When you look at it, we had three turnovers and they kicked field goals on all three of those turnovers.
“Like I said, I liked our guys’ fight, their resolve and they stuck together and we didn’t blink.”