Packers quarterback Rodgers awes even the Giants : Packers Insider

Packers quarterback Rodgers awes even the Giants

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under News

By Gary D’Amato, Journal Sentinel

~Green Bay — He froze safeties with play-action fakes, beat blitzes with audibles, extended plays with his feet, threw the ball with pinpoint accuracy and even remembered to slide at the end of a scramble.

Aaron Rodgers was a video game come to life Sunday, pushing all the right buttons in the Green Bay Packers’ 45-17 dismantling of the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.

In the biggest regular-season game of his career – the Packers had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive – Rodgers completed 25 of 37 passes (67.6%) for 404 yards, four touchdowns and a 139.9 rating.

Aaron Rodgers celebrates the final touchdown by Packers running back John Kuhn on Sunday. Rodgers had the biggest regular-season game of his career - throwing for 404 yards, four touchdowns and a 139.9 passer rating.

His 404 yards were the most by a Packers quarterback in the regular season since Lynn Dickey threw for 418 against Tampa Bay on Oct. 12, 1980.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves,” said Packers guard Daryn Colledge. “It’s hard to critique a guy like that.”

Given good protection from his offensive line and enough production from the run game to make play-action effective, Rodgers shredded the NFL’s second-ranked passing defense.

He completed passes of 80 and 38 yards to Jordy Nelson; 36, 26 and 24 yards to Greg Jennings; 33 yards to Donald Driver, and 21 yards to Tom Crabtree. He spread the love to nine receivers, and Jennings (142) and Nelson (124) both topped 100 yards.

Heck, most quarterbacks can’t even dream that good.

“Yeah, this was without a doubt my best performance,” Rodgers said.

He got no argument from the Giants, whose own playoff hopes were put on life support by Air Rodgers.

“He is a great quarterback all around,” said safety Deon Grant. “He can run. He has a great arm, and he has one of the fastest releases you can get, so he wasn’t allowing our defensive line to get there. He has a great coaching staff, and he has weapons.”

Anything else? “That guy is just a lot of fun to play with,” said Packers rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga.

All but forgotten was the fact that Rodgers’ streak of 45 consecutive starts ended last week because of lingering effects from his second concussion of the season. He was inactive and watched from the sideline as backup Matt Flynn played well in a 31-27 loss to the New England Patriots.

“I was teasing Matt that I had to get my job back,” Rodgers said. “He played so well last week.”

He said the time off might have been a blessing in disguise.

“I think the positive thing is it was like a week off late in the season,” he said. “I had a lot of energy. My arm felt like it was live. I felt good in practice, so I had a lot of confidence I could perform this way.”

On the first play of the Packers’ second possession, Rodgers threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Nelson, who ran past safety Antrel Rolle on a seam route and outraced the Giants’ secondary.

“That was a good call, something we work on a lot with the play-action,” Rodgers said. “I felt like it was going to be some kind of two-high (coverage) look. I just wanted to make a decent fake. We pulled Antrel just enough to get a good throwing lane there and Jordy took off.”

On the next possession, when all his receivers were covered, Rodgers tucked the ball and ran. He apparently learned from the concussion he suffered Dec. 12, when he neglected to slide and was slammed to the turf at Ford Field in Detroit. This time he slid after gaining 15 to the Giants’ 6-yard line, then got up and gave baseball’s “safe” sign.

“I got a lot of texts the last two weeks from friends and family: ‘Slide,’ ” Rodgers said. “I basically was teasing Dr. (John) Gray. We talked about being smart outside the pocket, so I slid and kind of did the ‘safe’ thing and pointed at Dr. Gray. I was thinking about what he told me.”

Three plays later, he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to James Jones.

And he was just warming up.

In the second half, Rodgers showed how devastatingly effective he can be when an opponent chooses to blitz and the Packers pick it up.

A 33-yard completion to Donald Driver made it first and 10 on the Giants’ 37. New York brought pressure, and Rodgers knew Jennings was matched with cornerback Corey Webster on the outside. He waited for Jennings to get a step on Webster and just before being knocked to the ground threw a beautiful ball; Jennings made a fingertip grab and was tackled at the 1.

On the next play, Rodgers connected with tight end Donald Lee for a touchdown.

“He did a good job getting the ball out of his hands quickly,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. “We knew coming in that they were going to try everything in their power to not let us hit him.

“We had some good rushes against him, but a lot of credit goes to him for reading our coverages and getting the ball out of his hands.”

Rodgers’ fourth touchdown pass, a 5-yarder to running back John Kuhn, made it 38-17 with 6:58 left.

“First of all, I had a good week of preparation,” Rodgers said. “That’s kind of where it started. I felt good throwing the ball all week. I liked the game plan; I liked the things we were trying to do.

“Once we got into the game, I liked the rhythm (coach) Mike (McCarthy) got our offense in. The offensive line gave me a lot of time, and I think that kind of frustrated them a little bit.”

Rodgers wore a shock-absorbing helmet to reduce the risk of concussion but otherwise, his teammates said, there was nothing different.

“It didn’t even seem like he got nicked up a couple weeks ago,” Bulaga said. “Still running the ball when he sees opportunities to run it. At least he slid today. He played a great game. One of the best.”

Full story HERE

Help Us! Comment about this Packer Article

This is a community of fanatical Packer fans. Please tell us what you think about this post....