Sunshine State woes: Rodgers struggles in loss to Saints

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers has rarely had an NFL performance like this.

It was nearly a new Sunshine State low for a quarterback with plenty of Florida woes.

The league’s reigning MVP completed 15 of 28 passes for 133 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 38-3 drubbing to hurricane-displaced New Orleans on Sunday.

He spent the final 11 minutes on the sideline, having given way to second-year pro Jordan Love. Rodgers mostly sat on the bench and chatted with teammates.

The Saints looked like geniuses for choosing to play in Florida, where Rodgers has been less than stellar over his 17-year NFL career. This one, though, made the others look good.

Rodgers finished with a 36.8 passer rating, tied for his fourth worst in 191 starts. And it came against a defense supposedly thin in the secondary.

His biggest issue was Green Bay’s offensive line, which started two rookies and had another guy playing out of position because All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari is recovering from a knee injury.

The unit did little to open rushing lanes and even less to give Rodgers enough time in the pocket.

Rodgers was sacked once and hit on his first interception. The second one was a bad overthrow. He completed just one pass longer than 20 yards, a perfectly placed ball to Davante Adams that gained 31.

That led to Green Bay’s lone score, a 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby on the final play of the first half.

Nothing changed after the break. And Rodgers ended the day like few others in his illustrious career.

The only passing games worse for the three-time MVP were at Buffalo in 2014 (34.3 rating), at Detroit in 2010 (34.7) and at Tampa Bay last season (35.4).

Rodgers fell to 3-5 in eight starts in Florida, including back-to-back losses.

The Saints, who spent two weeks practicing in the Dallas area after Hurricane Ida made landfall near New Orleans on Aug. 29, had their pick of any of Florida’s three NFL stadiums. They chose Jacksonville in an effort to make it tougher on Packers fans trying to get tickets, and partly because they didn’t want Tampa Bay fans cheering against a fellow NFC South team.

They also looked at Rodgers’ record in the Sunshine State, which wasn't good and just got worse.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Mark Long, The Associated Press

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