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Aaron Rodgers was reportedly “hot” at Ty Montgomery on Sunday after the Green Bay Packers running back decided to run the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff return instead of taking a knee, as his coaches had instructed him to do, late in the fourth quarter with the Packers trailing 29-27.
Montgomery promptly fumbled on the return, ending any chances Rodgers had to potentially lead a game-winning drive for the Packers.
A number of Packers players and coaches told Silver that Montgomery had “thrown a tantrum” after being removed from the game during Green Bay’s previous series.
One player told Silver he believed that led to Montgomery deciding to return the kickoff with just over two minutes remaining, instead of following the orders of the coaches to take a knee and put the game in the hands of Rodgers.
“They took him out (the previous drive) for a play and he slammed his helmet and threw a fit. Then (before the kickoff) they told him to take a knee, and he ran it out anyway. You know what that was? That was him saying, ‘I’m gonna do me.’ It’s a f—– joke.
“I mean, what the f— are you doing? We’ve got Aaron Rodgers, the best I’ve ever seen, and you’re gonna take that risk? I mean, it’s ’12’! All you gotta do is give him the ball, and you know what’s gonna happen.”
Montgomery’s fumble wasn’t the only questionable moment for the Packers. Even Rodgers acknowledged that the offense in general could have played better.
“Our defense was playing really well and stopping them over and over again,” he said after the game. “We’ve got to get more than 10 points while that’s happening. And then to have it end the way it did, obviously, it’s frustrating.”
Another key moment in the loss came late with just under three minutes remaining in the first half, when the Packers were pinned at their own 1-yard line after a punt. The Packers chose to attempt a run, only to see Aaron Jones stuffed in the end zone for a safety.
“That hurt us,” another Packers player told Silver. “This game was a bunch of little bulls— that built up and caught up to us in the end. And (Montgomery’s decision to return the kick)—I don’t even know what that was. I’m still in shock.”
The loss dropped the Packers to 3-3-1, though the team remains in the thick of the NFC North title race, with the Chicago Bears (4-3), Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1), Packers and Detroit Lions (3-4) all within one game of each other in the division.
Beating the Rams would have been huge for the Packers and their playoff aspirations, and if the team fails to make the postseason this year, Montgomery’s fumble will live on in infamy. But with nine games remaining, the Packers remain firmly in the hunt for a playoff berth, and Montgomery has plenty of time available for redemption.