Did QB Come of Age in Drive against Dallas : Packers Insider

Did QB Come of Age in Drive against Dallas

November 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

By Greg A. Bedard of the Journal Sentinel
Nov. 19th, 2009

Let’s just get this out of the way: Aaron Rodgers has done a lot more right than wrong in his 25 games as starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

His statistics are gaudy. He’s fourth in the National Football League with a 101.8 passer rating. Rodgers’ 134.9 rating on third downs is far and away the best in the league. He has thrown 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions. 

Aaron Rodgers is fourth in the National Football League with a 101.8 passer rating. His 134.9 rating on third downs is far and away the best in the league. He has thrown 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions

Aaron Rodgers is fourth in the National Football League with a 101.8 passer rating. His 134.9 rating on third downs is far and away the best in the league. He has thrown 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions

And he certainly has the smarts and the physical tools needed at the position.

But has Rodgers really made the throws or the plays when the team needed him to? You know what we’re referring to: tough throws into impossible spots in gotta-have-it moments? The kinds of plays that separate the good quarterbacks from the elite?

It’s a small sample in a such a young career, to be sure, but perhaps not. It might be part of the reason, despite the stats and talent, that Rodgers owned just a 10-14 record as a starter heading into Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

And then “The Drive” happened against the Cowboys. And it might have changed everything.

Fifteen plays. Eighty yards. Eight minutes, 36 seconds off the clock. And two throws (and catches) that were described by Rodgers’ coaches and teammates as “big-time.”

And now as a result, maybe Rodgers’ time has truly arrived.

“The two big third-down throws, you talk about your quarterback making three or four plays a game, those two right there are huge plays,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday in a Lambeau Field office right off the media auditorium. “And those kind of plays win games. Those plays can change a game. And that’s when you talk about prime-time players. Your prime-time players win big games because they make those one or two plays. Those definitely fit in that category.”

Up to that point, Rodgers had made two clutch throws that were in the same ballpark: the late third-quarter, thread-the-needle touchdown pass to Greg Jennings last year at Tampa Bay and the game-winning throw to Jennings in the season opener against Chicago.

But the Packers lost to the Buccaneers, and Jennings was wide open when the Bears busted a coverage.

There’s no denying what happened against the Cowboys, however.

 

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