Aaron Rodgers shares record, credit
By Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com
GREEN BAY, Wis. — At the end of the locker room in which the Green Bay Packers offensive linemen change, left guard Josh Sitton wasn’t initially aware of just how many yards Aaron Rodgers threw for in Sunday’s 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field.
When told it was 480 yards, that number sounded familiar to Sitton.
Still, he had to be reminded that Rodgers’ prodigious passing total only matched the franchise record that Matt Flynn set in the season finale of the 2011 season, when Rodgers was resting for the playoffs.
“He tied him?” Sitton said. “I’m going to text Matty tonight and tell him he’s the champ around here.”
Rodgers would have likely owned the mark all by himself had Packers coach Mike McCarthy not instructed his quarterback to take a knee on the final three plays of the game. Either way, it will go down as one of the greatest performances of Rodgers’ career.
Except if you ask him.
“I don’t think this was my best game,” Rodgers said. “I’m very happy with the accuracy and the way things went in the passing game, but we definitely have things to work on.”
The Lambeau Field record crowd of 78,020 would be hard-pressed to name any of them.
Rodgers completed 34 of 42 passes on the way to his 480-yard performance. He threw four touchdowns, was not intercepted and finished with a 146.0 passer rating. By halftime, when the Packers led 24-0, Rodgers had already thrown for 335 yards and 26 completions, both of which were career highs for a half.
We could go on and on, so we will.
Rodgers became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 480 yards or more, four touchdowns or more and no interceptions and the first since New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle did so (505 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions) against Washington on Oct. 28, 1962.
Rodgers became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 335-plus yards and three touchdowns in the first half since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Week 6 of the 2009 season against Tennessee.
Combined with 132 yards rushing from James Starks, who snapped a streak of 44 straight games without a Packers running back going over the century mark, the Packers had a 400-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher for the first time in team history.
And Rodgers did it all with a stiff neck. He awoke at the team hotel at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday and had trouble turning his head. Some treatment from the trainers and chiropractic adjustment apparently did enough.
So did the Packers receivers, who Rodgers said deserved the credit.
James Jones, who didn’t catch a single pass in last Sunday’s season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, caught 11 passes for 178 yards — both career bests. In fact, he bettered his previous career highs in the first half, when he caught nine passes for 152 yards.
“I actually checked on him Monday and Tuesday, made sure he was doing OK knowing that it’s a long season,” Rodgers said of Jones. “There were times over the last couple years where he didn’t get the ball in some games. I was talking to him at the end of the game, saying, ‘Hey, just practice this week like you did last week,’ because he really had a great focus last week, and I think it says a lot about the kind of person he is.”
Jones didn’t catch a touchdown, though. Randall Cobb, who had his second straight 100-yard game with nine catches for 128 yards, caught one of them on a gutsy fourth-and-3 call from the Redskins’ 35-yard line in the first quarter when it was it only a 3-0 Packers lead. Jordy Nelson (three catches for 66 yards) caught two touchdown passes. Tight end Jermichael Finley (six catches for 65 yards) had the other one.
“We had a lot of yards after catch,” Rodgers said. “It was 480 yards, but how much of that was YAC?”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was 283 yards — the most YAC by any team since the start of the 2008 season. Also, the Packers averaged 8.3 yards after the catch per reception on Sunday, the best rate for any team with at least 30 receptions in a game since the start of the 2008 season.
Of Jones’ 178 yards, 90 came after the catch, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Cobb had 78 of his 128 yards after the catch, while Finley had 59 of his 65 after the catch. Perhaps the best example came in the third quarter, when Finley caught a short pass at the line of scrimmage and took it down the left sideline for 27 yards, breaking tackles along the way.
“If you let the first guy tackle you, you get no respect when you come to the sideline,” Jones said. “I don’t care if it’s a 70-yarder or whatnot — you’re not getting any respect. You’ve got to make somebody miss to get a chest bump from your teammates.”
It was the kind of complete offensive performance the Packers lacked in their 34-28 Week 1 loss at San Francisco, in which they had four touchdown drives but five three-and-outs.
“Aaron spoils you,” McCarthy said. “He makes it look easy. He was on point all day.”
For their part, both McCarthy and Rodgers claimed they were unaware that the quarterback had 480 yards passing when they hit the two-minute warning, and McCarthy decided to take a knee.
Not that it would have changed anything.
“I don’t mind sharing that with an old buddy of mine, Matt Flynn,” Rodgers said. “I’m sure I’ll get a text later about that from him.”
Original story HERE