Packers' rookie WRs put together big afternoon in losing effort

-- Down Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison entering Sunday's divisional showdown with the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers needed a little help from their rookie wide receivers.

They got it.

157 of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' 442 passing yards went to either Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Equanimeous St. Brown -- drafted in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively -- and helped surge a second-half comeback before the Lions pulled further away in the fourth quarter.

"We put a lot on them this week," Rodgers said after the 31-23 loss. Valdes-Scantling caught his first career touchdown pass and nearly had a second if he wasn't downed at the one-yard line while trying to outstretch for the goal line.

"I thought they were prepared, I thought they were ready to play. But there’s some things to clean up for sure."

While there was an obvious emphasis on getting tight end Jimmy Graham and starting receiver Davante Adams involved in the second half, just as obvious was how comfortable the duo of Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown began to get. 

45 of Valdes-Scantling's 68 receiving yards came in the second half -- along with his touchdown -- and 72 of St. Brown's 89 came in the second half as well. St Brown also drew a 21-yard defensive pass interference flag on Lions cornerback Teez Tabor on his first target.

"Overall, you gotta say MVS played really nicely and EQ made a couple plays that he needed to make for us," Rodgers said. "And obviously, he showed his ability on that last 20 seconds left in the game. He took the little seam route and almost scores.

"He has big-play potential. I was proud of both of those guys with the way they played."

Sunday marked a monumental stepping stone towards gaining Rodgers' trust for Valdes-Scantling. The same could be said for St. Brown, but the former has been well ahead of the team's rookie wide receiver trio, and that's been the case since training camp.

Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed after the loss that Allison is still in the concussion protocol as of Saturday, so there's still a chance Valdes-Scantling could be looking at an expanded role next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

If so, the Packers could have an extra day this week to patch their offense together and figure out how to find a sense of consistency and fluidity with how they operate. Because as of the last few weeks, almost everything they've implemented schematically has seemed forced.

Rodgers is mindful of where the Packers are at in terms of their 2-2-1 record and stagnant offense. It's just a matter of what can be done in the meantime to help mediate any of the deficiencies facing the offense before the Packers enter what may be their toughest stretch of the season after the bye week.

"I’m aware of where we’re at, and we have to play better. Myself included. I have to start faster like we’ve done before. Maybe if we get going as an offense, I can start faster, play better early on and give us some momentum."

Rodgers said of the rookies during the week that when they step in the game, there's the expectation that they'll make plays. Against the Lions, both rookie contributors made the most of their 17 combined targets.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (51)

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2018 at 06:12 pm

I'm glad Rodgers is giving a nod to the young WRs in a tough loss.

However, as a fan reading this article, I feel like someone is asking me to appreciate the nice shoes on their feet as they kick me in the balls.

I'm being a bit facetious, sure. ESB is a guy I have high hopes for, so of course I'm happy he and MVS made plays.. but I think I need at least a day before I read about it. :)

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Lare's picture

October 07, 2018 at 06:28 pm

Agreed, too bad the rookie WRs can't get Rodgers to get the ball out sooner and quit fumbling as he's tackled.

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Chuck Farley's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:04 pm

Nothing Rodgers hates more then man coverage. That is what causes him to hold the ball and fumble dumb it away twice. Again one of the worst qb performances of the day.

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Bure9620's picture

October 07, 2018 at 06:57 pm

Hilarious

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PAPackerbacker's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:19 pm

The shoes comment was funny as all hell. I'm still laughing about it 15 minutes after reading it.

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Royalty Free GM's picture

October 08, 2018 at 02:31 am

This was a good game from the Packers. Don’t change anything. Back to fundamentals and keep grinding.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 08, 2018 at 04:12 am

Well, did you contact Mark Murphy yet, for the job. it seems that you know all the answers. Go for it. i'm your fan for the job!

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fastmoving's picture

October 07, 2018 at 06:37 pm

just a good post Zach, and I like to point at the bright spot now, is just the right time.

there were some good things and a lot of reason for hope as well. If AR gets a little bit better in the red zone and over 60 minutes, we should be fine.

the season and the Pack just getting started, even if it feels sometimes just the other way.

Im routing for the WR Rookies and like all three of them a lot.

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NickPerry's picture

October 07, 2018 at 06:53 pm

"If AR gets a little bit better in the red zone and over 60 minutes, we should be fine."

Sorry friend but I don't think that's happening, not this year. I think this could be an even LONGER year this year than last because we have Rodgers and still BLOW CHUNKS!!! Rodgers doesn't seem to be able to cover it ALL up any more.

Mike McCarthy IS a good HC. He's just not a good HC in Green Bay any longer. He's stayed a few years to long and I'm concerned we may have him after this year if our GM can't FIRE him.

Mark Murphy needs to stay the hell out of the football part of the Packers and focus on building more giant slides.

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Royalty Free GM's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:29 pm

Mark Murphy needs to be fired, in order to fire Gute and MM.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:29 pm

RED ZONE: If I was the coach J.Graham and Marcedes Lewis would be leading the league in TDs. Disgusting - 6'7 and 6'6 TE going agains 6'0 CBs. MM has no clue how to use TE. Why do we keep Kendricks? When J. Kummero comes back I woukd cut Hendricks and start using Tunyon.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:34 pm

SuperBowl? This year quite frankly was and is picked to be a transitional year. Packers were and are basically picked to go 9-7 at the very most. So, they are fairly on target.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 08, 2018 at 07:12 pm

Exactly, watching how Golloway played so well, couldn't help thinking thinking,wouldn't it be great if we had a 6'5 receiver.

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:32 pm

RED ZONE? Graham= TD between his hands. Adams - dropped at the goal line. MVS dropped at the goal line. Went to Hendricks for the 1/2 yard TD . Kendricks wide open for 2 points , not seen. No touch! A-Rod throws it high/long when ST BROWN HAS DEEP SEPARATION IN THE RED ZONE. THESE GUYS CAN CATCH IN THEIR BASKET. But the screw -up is still A-Rod. The expectations were the super-Bowl. Yet were playing Rookies more than starters. Thats rebuilding. And we now have a veteran kicker that just can't kick.? If anything I would send this team a message. A new kicker should be brought in for a try out ASAP. The screw ups are in the RED Zone. A-Rod. The safeties. That the free agent list solves your problems. And Thinking rookies are all-pros?

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splitpea1's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:11 pm

The old Madden saying that your tenure gets stale after 10 years certainly applies here. I don't think anyone will confuse MM with Belichick.

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2018 at 10:24 pm

The announcers seem to think The offense is tipping their hand. Monty was lined up wrong for a Run. Graham and lewis, pass and blocking tip offs. The backs per hole. Jones outside. The shot gun. Belichick has lived off Brady. It's about winning and making the fans happy. The packers are a business. Get a grip. The solution is A-Rod.

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splitpea1's picture

October 07, 2018 at 11:12 pm

Belichick also hires some of the best assistants around. Look how well-designed their offense is. Their line is always solid and Brady usually has plenty of time to throw his darts. The Pats have still managed to win most of their games when Brady has been injured or suspended. Ten years ago, they won 10 of 15 games when he was out.

The solution is to corral AR and make him play within structure.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 08, 2018 at 04:15 am

We saw Belichick offense against Lions. It looked similar to Packers... Regarding how well-designed their offense is.

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splitpea1's picture

October 08, 2018 at 11:17 am

Patricia was the defensive coordinator in NE for 6 years, so I think he was a little familiar with their offensive schemes and tendencies!

Also, one game does not reflect a career--Belichick has won 74% of his games. Come on! He must be doing something right.

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Rak47's picture

October 09, 2018 at 01:23 am

And every coach who's come out of his system to lead a team has bombed. If they were that great at least one would have had some success. These guys come out of N.E. and try to emulate Belichik's system, demeanor, and approach. The problem is none of them have his credibility nor his football IQ so they end up failing just as Matt Patricia will as well.

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:02 pm

There will be many an article coming to CHTV over the next few days, telling many everything they want to hear but not what needs to be heard. Allow me to do so.

The half full glass of optimism has been siphoned empty.

Please be more diligent to what you use to replace what was obviously false hope.

Kudos for hanging on this long but please be more accepting of what you see and not what you don't.
: )

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Bedrock's picture

October 07, 2018 at 10:37 pm

If you’re choosing pessimism, why bother watching the games?
It’s optimism that brings me back every week.
It’s Aaron playing like we know he can.
It’s the offense realizing and utilizing its talent.
If it clicks, this team can be dangerous. It is possible. It just is so tantalizingly close...and seemingly so far away.
CAN it happen? Yes.

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 08, 2018 at 12:46 am

Why does it always have to come to the bs of optimism vs pessimism?
I watch the Packers every week like many but I can watch it through both lenses. I enjoy the good and hate the bad. The difference is I don't sugar coat the crap with amorous affection of blind love. I don't get over infatuated with the good because it doesn't last. The problem is there has been very little to be infatuated with for a while but the failures have been openly displayed for a while and very little has changed.
I'm old school from Jersey and the first thing I learned was how to smell bs and I can still do it well. The Packers have been selling bs to the fans for 6+ years and Division titles or the if only's laden with excuses don't cover up the stink. Try blowing your nose clean of it and smell how bad it really is with a clean nostril.
Look at the rosters over the last 6= years and tell the FO has endeavored to field a winning team. No they haven't....what they have done is sell you that Rodgers is all they need and all it takes for the blind optimist to buy into the charade.
I'll watch again next week and the sad thing is,so likely will the turd that this team is and Rodgers stats is the perfume prostitutes spray on for covering the stink.

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fthisJack's picture

October 08, 2018 at 10:00 am

ok....glad you have informed everyone on how great your sense of smell is. maybe you should allow your nostrils to get plugged so you don't have to endure the stink or breathe throw your mouth.

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splitpea1's picture

October 08, 2018 at 11:28 am

Try reality instead of optimism. How exactly is the offense realizing and utilizing its talent? In three of five games so far, team has managed to dig itself in a huge hole because they don't run an intelligent selection of plays.

If, if, if...lots of things are possible, but not likely. When I see this team consistently march the ball down the field when it matters (not when the opposing defense if playing loosely because of a fat lead), then we can talk about optimism.

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Rak47's picture

October 09, 2018 at 01:39 am

Since you're into heavy doses of reality how about a dose yourself. First off the Packers are in a learning curve to be dominant whether you choose to accept that or not. You may choose to feel that they should be consistent if not downright dominating from the first game but in "reality" {there goes that word again} they need time to learn and get comfortable within new schemes and playbooks. The reality is the team is looking for improvement in increments, philosophically, and fundamentally. The reality is that this is a long season and the Packers are only slightly past 1/4 mark. To make matters worse Rodgers got injured and has only practiced 3 times since week 1 against the Bears. These rookie receivers have the biggest learning curve as they only had to run 5-10 varying routes in college but now must master 100 or more combinations. So in "reality" while many fans will be running in circles screaming "the sky is falling" the team will keep plugging away in an attempt to do what they have done every year AR is healthy and that is to come on strong to close out the season and earn a berth in the Playoffs where anything can happen. Good luck to anyone who actually thinks they are going to dump MM this year or even fail to make the Playoffs with this team.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:36 pm

I hope this game is an important stepping stone for the rookie WRs. I think there is an excellent chance that their performance helps us later in the season.

That said, I think it would have been even more important if more of the receiving yards had occurred in the first half.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:31 pm

The young players are doing well. It's the older players at the top end of the roster who are not:

Rodgers, Graham, Adams for 2/4 games, Cobb, HHCD, etc...

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Archie's picture

October 07, 2018 at 07:47 pm

Aside from top 2 CBs being injured, CB gets no help from S or pass rush. That will spell repeated defensive disasters.

MM still can't figure out how to use his RBs. Rotate them play by play to keep defense off balance and find ways to have 2 in game at same time. AROD not seeing open receivers is a new problem. Has anyone checked to see if he is going blind? OL did well today as did Adams and the two rookie WRs that played. Unfortunately it looks like we wasted a great deal of money on another over-the-hill TE.

Top 4 picks in 2019: 2 pass rushing OLB, a top talent at WR with speed and size and ditto TE. Must find S somewhere too. What was wrong with Eric Reid again???

But most of all - a new HC.

I like Gute & Pettine.

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CAG123's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:16 pm

Eric Reid isn’t a coverage safety which is more of what they need think Earl Thomas not Kam Chancellor they already have Jones and Brice for big run stopping thumper safeties. They need a sideline to sideline type safety that can make plays on the ball which is why I still believe they would have drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick if he hadn’t gone to the Dolphins.

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CAG123's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:22 pm

Eric Reid is more in the mold of Kam Chancellor and the Packers need a Earl Thomas a sideline to sideline safety that can make plays on the ball. They already have run stopping thumper safeties in Jones and Brice which is why I believe they would have drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick if he hadn’t gone to the Dolphins.

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CAG123's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:11 pm

Can I just say UFA corner back Tony Brown drawing a taunting penalty irked the hell out of me, like who the hell are you to be taunting ANYONE!?

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Bearmeat's picture

October 07, 2018 at 08:29 pm

Still was a BS call

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 08, 2018 at 06:35 am

I have seen a lot worse not being called.

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Barazinho's picture

October 08, 2018 at 10:36 am

Apparently staring = taunting now.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 10, 2018 at 03:24 pm

Looked like an idiot doing what he did

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Tundraboy's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:17 pm

Going to watch game now,so I'll reserve judgement. Sounded Ugly.

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PackfanNY's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:45 pm

If I were you I'd skip the 1st Half. It will make you sick.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:50 pm

Bring alchohol

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4thand10's picture

October 07, 2018 at 10:07 pm

J’mon Moore not grasping the playbook or something?? Does Aaron Jones not get certain things in the playbook or is McCarthy not using him correctly or has him on a snap count?? He runs well obviously...so what’s the issue? What’s up with 2 receivers in the same area multiple times and you can’t tell which one is supposed to get the ball?? Multiple times this happened.
How in the hell did the refs not see the ball hitting the Detroit player on the Special teams play?? They reviewed that and still messed it up? Our Packers don’t look good enough to Taylor game plans to specific opponents...they need to figure out what they do well and what they don’t IMO. Get a fricken identity. The defense is improved...perfect no, but this game is not on the D. The rookies WRs... some plays were good, yes. Why the hell was Montgomery not used as the slot receiver? Why the crap are the plays developing so slow? And what in the hell happened to the Green Bay slant pass? The route design sucked, Rodgers being off didn’t help....but I don’t see ANY effort on coaching to establish a rhythm...veteran or not...all QBs need to get into a groove early.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 08, 2018 at 05:30 pm

Aaron Jones can't pass block worth a damn, that's what's holding him back.

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I bleed green more's picture

October 07, 2018 at 10:27 pm

They did much better than I thought they would.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 08, 2018 at 06:48 am

I thought the rookie WR's played like rookies. They showed their talents and made mistakes.

I thought the Game Plan/play calling whatever you want to call it in the first half, allowed the Rookies to play like rookies. The 2nd half they just went into a hurry up offense which put more pressure on the defense.
Speaking of which, why are we not going to this style of offense for the full 60 minutes. Up tempo. 2nd half against Chicago and 2nd half against the Lions is the best the offense has looked all year. Go to that style of offense and just put all kinds of pressure on the defense.

IMO, they tried treated the Rookies like 10 year veterans. Obviously some of the things they wanted them to do they weren't doing. How many times did they have multiple WR's in the same spot. And how many times did Rodgers have to redirect the WR's before the snap.
I don't think they did a good enough job coming up ways to use them.

MVS for example has a ton of speed. How about trying him on a jet sweep or something?

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fthisJack's picture

October 08, 2018 at 10:03 am

MM only does that when he's down by 3 scores.....go figure!

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nostradanus's picture

October 08, 2018 at 07:07 am

Let's get real here, this is not a good team

Remember when the Packers would almost always score on the first drive. Then McCarthy would go into his conservative mode?

Remember when the Packers would just go up tempo and let Rodgers run the show to get himself in a sync?

Remember when Crosby was money on FG's and extra points?

Remember when the Packers didn't waste timeouts? Oh what that has never happened under McCarthy, scratch that one.

Remember when every big play made by the Packers wasn't followed by a penalty flag.

The Packers need to:
Beat the 49ers somehow and limp into the bye at 3-2-1
Re-evaluate "what the hell is going on out there"... to quote Lombardi

Take the headset away from the bungling, conservative, unimaginative McCarthy and just let Rodgers run the show.

It is still a long season but again, this is not a good team

We all hope this changes but by judging the talent of teams like the Rams, Bears, Vikings, Eagles, Chiefs, the Packers as I keep repeating are........a re-building team with an aging and injured QB who can't do the things he once did and this team is being exposed for what they are, below average.

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badaxed's picture

October 08, 2018 at 07:14 am

Why is it that our opponents receivers are wide open yet our receivers seem to be covered all the time? It seems the opponents know our routes so well they can mirror our receivers. Stake offense or poor execution? I also noticed that receivers slow down or stop their routes instead of trying to break free when Rodgers is scrambling .

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Green Bay Shareholder's picture

October 08, 2018 at 09:29 am

So glad we got rid of Jordy Nelson, signed the difference maker Jimmy Graham, didn't sign Khalil Mack or any other name of note. Brilliant assessment of talent we were putting together for the 2018 season by some executive management All Stars who I am so glad are being compensated handsomely to put this juggernaut on the field every week.

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Barazinho's picture

October 08, 2018 at 10:38 am

Did anyone else think that holding call on JJones on the kick return was dubious too? It looked like just another block to me.

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4thand10's picture

October 08, 2018 at 12:20 pm

It was a bad call, he squared his guy up front, there was no hold, no block in the back ...anything. I watched it twice.

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Barazinho's picture

October 08, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Even the announcer made it sound dubious - "he held on a little too long" - i.e. sustaining your block.

That, and the punt biff really put the team in a hole. Tomlin said the reffing "sucked" in his post game - it's not just us (semi) biased Packers fans...

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ILPackerBacker's picture

October 08, 2018 at 12:21 pm

The take away from the game is that both rookies are now as good as Cobb. Cobb has zero upside he is what he is. Time to dump Cobb and see if one of the rookies can develop into a real WR.

You can hate on Rodgers all you want. Most NFL TE's catch the pass in the end zone, they don't wave at it.

A real # 1 WR can get open without a defender falling down and will also make the play at the end of the game. Rodgers only has the tools on the field. And who was on the field?

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