With just one hit, the Green Bay Packers' hopes for the 2017 season were put on the shoulders of a largely unknown quantity.
Green Bay's nightmare scenario came to fruition on Sunday when Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone as he was bundled to the ground by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr in a 23-10 defeat that dropped them to 4-2 on the season.
The loss of Rodgers cannot be overstated. Along with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, he is the gold standard of modern-day NFL quarterback play, a man whose mere presence has seen even the most injury-ravaged Packers teams remain contenders, with his remarkable proclivity for Houdini acts rescuing Green Bay time and again.
Even the most optimistic of estimates gives Rodgers only a slim chance of returning this season and his absence has already led most to write off a Packers team that will now be led by backup Brett Hundley.
Hundley will be unfamiliar to those who are not regular viewers of the questionable spectacle of preseason football or ardent fans of the UCLA Bruins.
But, while it would evidently be foolhardy to expect the 2015 fifth-round pick to fill the chasm left by Rodgers, Hundley's performance in a losing effort provided indicators that a quarterback who led UCLA to a Pac-12 South title and two Bowl Game victories can at least keep them competitive.
Though Rodgers has consistently been able to make an impact with his legs as well as his arm, Hundley is the far superior runner and offers the Packers a legitimate dual-threat option.
His mobility was quickly on show in Minnesota, with Hundley successful in making a number of throws on the run.
Rodgers' leadership and composure in the biggest moments, which was on display eight days ago as he led another stunning late game-winning drive to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, will be understandably tough for the inexperienced Hundley to replicate.
However, there was reason to be encouraged by the poise Hundley demonstrated against the Vikings, as he showed a willingness to hang in the pocket and the awareness to know when to step up and avoid the pass rush, doing so on his sole touchdown throw to Davante Adams.
It would be unfair to expect Hundley to be able to reproduce the astonishing feats that have become almost routine to Rodgers, yet he has the arm to push the ball downfield and demonstrated some chemistry with top receiver Jordy Nelson, hitting him on a perfectly timed back shoulder throw to the sideline.
For all the positives in Hundley's showing, a glaring failing that inhibits many young quarterbacks was also evident when he stared down his target on a pass intercepted by Harrison Smith.
Smith took advantage as Hundley failed to scan the field properly and look the safety off.
Now the Packers have quickly made the decision to stick with Hundley rather than bring in a free agent who would have to learn the offense, these are the growing pains they are going to have to live with.
And they will have to do so while losing Rodgers' flair for the unimaginable and an ability to catch defenses off guard mid-substitution that is unmatched throughout the league.
But head coach Mike McCarthy believes the offense can work with Hundley at the helm.
"I have confidence in Brett Hundley, but more importantly it's how it all fits together," McCarthy said in his post-game media conference. "So we're going to have strengths as an offense, we're going to focus on those, look at the matchup of our opponent and then we're going to go get it."
Such forthright confidence may bring ridicule, but McCarthy is right. Hundley has strengths that, utilised by other quarterbacks, have confounded NFL defenses before and which are possessed by a man the Packers have opted not to sign in Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick's potency with both arm and legs has tormented the Packers in the past, beating them twice in the play-offs with the San Francisco 49ers. Now McCarthy and the Packers may have to produce a gameplan that would be perfectly tailored to him.
Hundley will never be Aaron Rodgers, but he doesn't have to be. The onus is instead on McCarthy to change the offense into one that has beaten him many times before. The Packers are not done, they just have to be different.
|All Blacks winger Savea confirms Toulon switch|
|Free Fall available for France after red card rescinded|
|South Korea can progress from wide-open group, says Park Ji-sung|
|Gordon called up by Wallabies to replace injured Genia|
|Germany can still win World Cup, insists Werner|
|Man United & Real Madrid talk not affecting Milinkovic-Savic|
|Out-of-contract Ruiz focused on Costa Rica|
|Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions|
|Muller: Germany under extreme pressure|
|Rangers score four runs in ninth to pick up walk-off win over Rockies|
|U.S. Open champion Koepka happy to continue being ´overlooked´|
|Pogba: I´m the most criticised player in the world|
|Maradona: Sampaoli´s game plan against Iceland was a disgrace|
|De Gea will bounce back from error – Marchena|
|Slater named for Maroons return|
|Woods, Faldo, Harrington and Koepka – U.S. Open champion joins fine club after successful defence|
|Fleetwood positive despite falling short at U.S. Open|
|Jesus: I had no reason to play for a penalty|
|Hernandez admits to exaggerating fouls against Australia|
|Koepka says winning two U.S. Opens not even in his ´wildest dreams´|
|Hernandez: Griezmann an idol at Atletico|
|Sri Lanka take charge despite Gabriel exploits|
|U.S. Open final-round timeline: How clinical Koepka kept his crown|
|Koepka fights off challengers to successfully defend U.S. Open title|
|´Aching´ Neymar urges referees to intervene|
|BREAKING NEWS: Koepka holds on to defend U.S. Open title|
|Lozano goal causes artificial earthquake in Mexico|
|Djokovic: Mental battle will be Murray´s biggest|
|Hummels criticises Germany tactics in Mexico loss|
|Brazil the latest favourites to stumble, but Tite and Neymar won´t panic|
|Magnificent Fleetwood matches U.S. Open record with closing 63|
|Brazil 1 Switzerland 1: Zuber pegs back below-par Selecao|
|Warrington hold off Wakefield fightback, Tigers held despite Hitchcox heroics|
|Germany follow trend of poor starts for World Cup champions|
|Reed on the charge as U.S. Open race hots up|
|Milinkovic-Savic can play for any team in Europe, says Crespo|
|Southgate keen to unleash his bold new England|
|Konta fumes as Barty takes Nottingham title|
|Kante hails Pogba´s match-winning contribution|
|Germany struggle with generation gap|
|Neymar to make first competitive start since February in Brazil´s World Cup opener|
|Kane gunning for Ronaldo hat-trick heroics in England opener|
|Balotelli would fit in at Marseille - Raiola|
|Captain Ki happy to get tough on South Korea|
|Senegal call up Mbengue with Ciss ruled out|
|Mickelson celebrates at scene of Saturday meltdown|
|Germany 0 Mexico 1: Lozano stuns woeful reigning champions|
|Chandimal to face hearing after pleading not guilty to ball tampering|
|Griezmann ´must do more´, says Deschamps|
|Gasquet shows his class on grass to end Chardy´s chances|
|Courtois: Belgium outsiders not World Cup favourites|
|You can´t compare Ronaldo and Messi – Adrien Silva|
|Kiwis name seven uncapped players for England Test|
|Lorenzo tells critics: Remember MotoGP wins next time I struggle|
|Maaloul singles out ´future of English football´ Alli as main threat|
|Poland v Senegal: Nawalka waits on Glik|
|All Blacks draft in Riccitelli and Hemopo, Barrett not risked for third Test|
|Palermo to appeal play-off result after ´illegal game´|
|Once a year is not enough! - Alonso loved Le Mans bow|
|Colombia v Japan: Kawashima eager to right the wrongs of 2014|
|Russia v Egypt: Salah poised to derail hosts´ juggernaut|
|South Korea swapping kit numbers to confuse Sweden|
|Neuer, Ozil start for Germany in World Cup opener|
|Costa Rica and Serbia serve up plenty of the spectacular in sunny Samara|
|Alonso edges closer to ´Triple Crown´ with Le Mans glory|
|Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1: Kolarov stunner seals points|
|Belgium are better than Argentina – Gomez and Panama ignoring Iceland result|
|Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar would keep the goal - Evra defends Pogba|
|Two in a row for dominant Lorenzo in Barcelona|
|Maradona denies racism claim|