When does one pass override the previous 35?
When the the 36th goes 61 yards for a Hail Mary game-winner, that's when.
The first half of the game last night against the Detroit Lions was par for the course for Aaron Rodgers during the 2015 season. No viable feel threat, drops by Davante Adams and overall an offensive performance that was frankly, well, offensive.
Green Bay was down 20-0 by the time they got the ball for the first time in the second half and given the offense’s play the previous five weeks hope for a miracle comeback didn't seem very high.
They came back all right, in the most unconventional of ways. A fumble recovery for a touchdown by the Randall Cobb in the end zone followed by a much overdue Adams touchdown pass cut the Lions’ lead to 20-14. Detroit added a Matt Prater field goal to put the Lions up by two scores again.
Rodgers then led a surgical drive to the Lions’ 17 yard line. After that he put the team on his back for a 17 yard touchdown run. 23-21 Lions.
Then came a defensive stop. The Packers got the ball back.
It was a blur. The game was over. Then it wasn't, thanks to a facemask call.
One last chance for Rodgers and the Packers. The quarterback evaded pressure and rolled to his right and launched the ball nearly 70 yards in the air.
Then it all went dark for Rodgers. The other Rodgers on the team, tight end Richard, stepped in front of Adams and reeled in the holiest of Hail Mary passes.
Game over. Packers 27, Lions 23.
The quarterback’s reaction was priceless. He was running up and down the field with his helmet off, a scene very reminiscent of his predecessor who the Packers celebrated at Lambeau just a week before. It was joy personified. It almost looked like Rodgers’ confidence was restored with a single throw.
Not many quarterbacks can launch a ball that far, and in a season where Rodgers has looked more pedestrian than any of us are used to seeing, he reminded everybody just how special of a player he is.
That Hail Mary wasn't luck either.
Rodgers’ pocket awareness allowed him to evade pressure and roll out. His rocket arm gave that throw the distance and his accuracy in finding Adams, who actually was the intended receiver before Richard Rodgers stepped in front of him, allowed that play to happen.
It remains unknown exactly what kind of impact this win will have both for Rodgers and his teammates. Endings like this can spark a special run down the stretch or it can be just a glimmer of light as the team continues to struggle.
As for the long term implications, this game will forever be remembered for the final play of the game and rightfully so. Moments like this are what make sports and fandom so special for so many people.
Meanwhile, the 2015 Packers still have four games to play. The season is far from over and the Packers still have plenty of work to do, but for one night in Detroit they were again on top of the world.
In a season with plenty of forgettable moments for Rodgers and his team, this was one that will be remembered for a long time.