Aaron Rodgers 5 Best and 5 Worst Playoff Games
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~AARON RODGERS TOP 5 PLAYOFF GAMES
#1- 2010 NFC Divisional at Atlanta, Win 48-21
136.8 passer rating, 31/36, 366 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 1 rushing TD
This was Rodgers’ true “coming out party” on National TV, primetime, at the #1-seeded Falcons. It was a clinic. Rodgers was a surgeon.
He probably could have had 5 or 6 touchdown passes if he wanted to. It’s hard to remember, but the Falcons were a strong favorite that game, as the top seed and seemingly unbeatable at home.
Not only was Rodgers a surgeon with his pinpoint passing, he also got away from many easy sacks with his escape skills. He flustered John Abraham all game long.
Rodgers was almost perfect. Interesting to look at the stats as they are almost identical to what Kurt Warner did one year earlier to the Packers defense.
#2- 2014 NFC Divisional vs Dallas, Win 26-21
125.4 passer rating, 24/35, 316 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints
Still recovering from the calf injury sustained 3 weeks earlier at Tampa Bay, Rodgers started slow and the Packers fell behind by 8 points in the 3rd quarter and it looked like yet another early playoff exit. But he heated up like Regular-Season Aaron (was MVP again), and he led the Packers to their first good playoff win (win over Joe Webb’s Vikings in 2012 season doesn’t count) since the magical 2010 Super Season.
His best play may have come after Dez Bryant didn’t catch it, not even producing any points.
The Packers offense iced the game away as Rodgers came up with first down-clinching pass to Randall Cobb and then another to Davante Adams to seal it.
The first one, however, was lucky as it was a very fortunate catch by Cobb. Regardless, the Dallas offense never got back onto the field to have a chance to steal the game.
#3- 2010 Super Bowl vs Pittsburgh, Win 31-25
111.5 passer rating, 24/39, 304 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints
This one maybe belongs ahead of the Cowboys game for a few reasons. First, it was the Super Bowl. Second, that Steelers’ defense was still a lot better than what the Dallas defense was last year (2015 playoff game). And third, the Packers didn’t have Eddie Lacy back then. They started James Starks or Brandon Jackson.
But Rodgers was great early in the game propelling the Packers to a big lead, and good enough at the end. He didn’t quite seal the deal at the end, however, as he did vs. Dallas. He couldn’t punch it in to seal it versus the Steelers, and it allowed Big Ben a chance to win it down by 6 with plenty of time left. The defense saved the game at the end. He was named the Super Bowl MVP, deservedly so.
#4- 2009 NFC Wildcard at Arizona, Loss 51-45 OT
121.4 passer rating, 28/42, 423 yards, 4 TDs, 1 Int, 1 Fumble
This was Rodgers’ first ever playoff game. It was just his 2nd season as the starting QB. And he was simply sensational. Except. Except his first pass was intercepted. And except for overtime, when he A) missed a game-winning deep touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, and B) he did what he does sometimes, holding the ball too long, and got it stripped for the game-ending, season-ending, fumble.
That missed pass to Jennings was very similar to the pass Russell Wilson hit in overtime this January to end that game, season. Except Tramon Williams had great coverage, while Jennings was open by 2 steps. It wasn’t an easy pass as it was about 50 yards downfield. Aside from those 3 plays, it was as good as a QB can possibly play. It just wasn’t as good as Kurt Warner was on the opposite side of the field.
#5- 2010 NFC Wildcard at Philadelphia, Win 21-16
122.5 passer rating, 18/27, 180 yards, 3 Tds, 0 Ints
It really wasn’t much, 180 yards. But he was clutch, and mistake-free. Sometimes, that’s what it takes for a win. Clutch is the key, as Russell Wilson showed. It can make up for a terrible game. The Eagles should have won this game.
Had David Akers been the normal kicker he was all year, the Packers may have lost and Rodgers would have been 0-2 in his playoff career -with pressure mounting. But because of that luck, and because Rodgers didn’t give the ball away ever, he and the Packers he enough to advance to Atlanta the next round.
5-Game COMPOSITE: 17 TDs, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble
(the Int & Fumble occurred in same game, the lone loss at Arizona. Also missed wide open Jennings deep in OT, 2 plays before game-ending losing fumble)
AARON RODGERS BOTTOM 5 PLAYOFF GAMES
#1- 2014 NFC Championship at Seattle, Loss 28-22 OT
55.8 passer rating, 19/34, 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints
There are many reasons why this is the worst of the worst. First off, the rest of the team played well in this game. The OL blocked great. The defense produced tons of turnovers.
This game should have been a rout along the lines of 41-10 at the closest, if Rodgers play was good this game.
Rodgers’ two interceptions were both terrible and left points on the table. He also missed an early touchdown on a simple pass at the goal line to Nelson, which led to settling for one of those early field goals. The OL pass-protected as well as any team has at Seattle in a long time. Yes Rodgers was playing on a gimpy leg. But he was the week earlier as well, in colder weather, and had no trouble carving Dallas up.
#2- 2010 NFC Championship at Chicago, Win 21-14
55.4 passer rating, 17/30, 244 yards, 0 TDs, 2 Ints, 1 rushing TD
This was a good Bears defense, and January Chicago weather. It was an ugly game for Rodgers, but the defense saved the game feasting on Cutler and then picking off the backup QB late to seal the game.
Rodgers’ best play of the game was his tackle on Urlacher (above) after the terrible interception right to him in the end zone. That shoestring-tackle by Rodgers saved a touchdown.
#3- 2011 NFC Divisional vs New York Giants, Loss 37-20
78.5 passer rating, 26/46, 264 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int
This was the incredible MVP Rodgers and the almost undefeated Packers, laying an egg in their first playoff game after the bye. Rodgers also had a bye in week 17 as they let Matt Flynn play that game at the Lions, which as it turns out was a mistake for the team to let Rodgers build up almost 3 weeks of rust.
That game wasn’t all his fault as the receivers dropped passes left and right, the OL had breakdowns even on simple 3-step drops when Rodgers was about to throw to a wide-open Jennings for a touchdown, and guys fumbled. Kuhn, Grant, Jennings all fumbled. That was supposed to be a Super Bowl repeat, and it all fell apart in an ugly fashion. Rodgers timing was also off right from the beginning. That game kind of reminds me of what happened last year in Buffalo.
#4- 2013 NFC Divisional vs San Francisco, Loss 23-20
97.8 passer rating, 17/26, 177 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int
Both of these 49er games were not terrible, but had he played great or even good, the Packers would have won this game, not necessarily the other one when Kaepernick embarrassed Capers’ defense. Rodgers, here at home, just couldn’t get anything going. He still had James Jones to go along with Nelson and Cobb.
Remember both Cobb and Rodgers missed a ton of time that season and were barely back in time for the week 17 last-play win at the Bears. But they were not sharp in the Wildcard game, and Jordy didn’t pick up the slack either. The defense did enough to slow down Gore & Kaepernick that the Packers should have won the game. However, they next week they would have been at Seattle so it didn’t matter in the end.
#5- 2012 NFC Divisional at San Francisco, Loss 45-31
91.5 passer rating, 26/39, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int
This was the Super Bowl 49ers. They almost won the Super Bowl, and the Packers defense seemed like they were preparing for a QB like Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, or Tom Brady (immobile) instead of a QB like Robert Griffin or Michael Vick.
Rodgers was actually decent in that game, especially the first half.
But the great Niners’ defense shut him and the offense down in the second half, while Kaepernick kept running and running through and around the Packers’ defense all night long.
Rodgers was not at all to blame for this game, and for this being in anyone’s top 5-worst, that says a lot about his greatness. Hopefully, this game remains as his 5th worst as no other game in the future playoffs bumps it off the list.
5-Game COMPOSITE: 6 TD passes, 6 Interceptions