Rodgers needs to step it up in January : Packers Insider

Rodgers needs to step it up in January

August 7, 2016 by  
Filed under News

~Aaron Rodgers is the highest rated passer in the history of the National Football League.

At 104.1, Rodgers is almost two and a half points higher than the next guy, Russell Wilson (101.8). After him, it’s Tony Romo (97.1), Steve Young (96.8), Peyton Manning (96.5), Tom Brady (96.4), Drew Brees (95.8), Philip Rivers (95.5), Ben Roethlisberger 94.0), Kurt Warner (93.7), and Joe Montana (92.3) rounding out the top 11.

Hall of Famer, and some say the best pure passer of all time, Dan Marino finished his record-setting career with a passer rating of 86.4.

Where’s Brett Favre? His rating finished at 86.0, currently tied with Jay Cutler.

Of course, Cutler’s will change with each interception he serves up to the Packers’ defense.

Things change in the post-season, however. Teams are better, but more often than not, defenses are better.

Rodgers still has great career passer rating in the playoffs, as his career postseason rating is 98.2, good for 5th of all-time.

However, above him are Alex Smith (99.1), Drew Brees (100.7), Kurt Warner (102.8 and owner of the biggest 3 passing yard games in Super Bowl history), and Bart Starr at number one (104.8), higher than Rodgers’ record-setting regular season rating mark. That explains all the championships that Starr and the Packers’ of the 1960’s won. Starr seemed to play better, smarter, clutcher when the ring was on the line.

There are a few things to keep in mind regarding Rodgers’ overall playoff rating, however.

The first is that his first playoff game was that historical shootout at Arizona in the 2009 season. It was the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history, with poor defenses and great offenses.

You might recall Rodgers threw for 4 touchdowns and 423 yards, for a passer rating of 121.4. But also remember that he was outplayed by Warner, who had 5 touchdowns and 4 incomplete passes for a passer rating near perfect.

Rodgers also threw an interception on the first drive of that game, and of course, you can’t forget the last play of that game, that season, in Arizona in overtime.

Rodgers also had the phenomenal game in the 2010 NFC Divisional at Atlanta. That was Rodgers at his finest. Rodgers was 31-36, for 366 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. His passer rating for that game was 136.8.

He also was great in that seasons’ Super Bowl against the Steelers with a 111.5 rating against a still-good Dick Lebeau Steelers defense.

And lastly, his 2014 playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys was fantastic. Rodgers, on the gimpy calf, had a 125.4 rating that cold day. He had 3 touchdowns, 316 yards, and 0 interceptions. Romo, on the other side, had a passer rating of 143.6, with a safe 15-19, 191 yards, and 2 touchdowns with no picks.

Of course, Dez still dropped it. But if he didn’t, that would have been 16-19 for about 230 yards and 3 touchdowns, for Romo. Anyway, those four spectacular games skew the overall number, somewhat.

Nonetheless, aside from those four playoff games, Rodgers has had too many stinkers in the playoffs. And it’s a big factor for why he still has only gotten to one lone Super Bowl in his fantastic 8-year career as starter.

Older fans will remember how early his career in just his second season, Dan Marino took his 1984 Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl, which they lost to the Joe Montana 49ers.

What a matchup between two of the best ever at the QB position. Montana would win, and end up winning three more Super Bowls after this one. Marino would never even make it back to one, despite being about five years younger.

Everyone expected Marino to be back to more Super Bowls, and sooner than later. But he never once made it back. Each year passed, and Marino never got to another. Neither did Favre after the 1997 season, despite numerous opportunities.

Yes, that’s right. Marino’s final two years in the playoffs resulted in losses by the scores of 38 to 3, and lastly 62 to 7, Dan’s overall playoff record was 8-10.

Now look, there wasn’t much Rodgers could do in the 2011 loss to the Giants, in his (or anyone’s) finest regular season ever by a quarterback. Remember that 2011 season, he was the record-setting MVP that year, and the offense seemed unstoppable.

But against the Giants, because of poor blocking on the edges protecting Rodgers, and fumbles from Ryan Grant and John Kuhn, Rodgers’ offense was short-circuited and a one-and-done exit from the playoffs for the defending champion Packers. Everyone thought that Packer team would repeat, as they almost had gone undefeated coming off the Super Bowl XLV victory.

Rodgers passer rating in that home loss to the Giants was a terrible 78.5.
His regular season rating that year was the best ever, 122.5.

Rodgers also has played small in the post-season against the 49ers and Seahawks. You can’t blame Rodgers for the loss to Arizona to end last season. He finished the game with none of his top 3 WR’s as Nelson, Cobb, and Adams all were or went out injured.

But he was outplayed by Colin Kaepernick, two straight seasons (2012 & 2013), one in San Francisco and one in Green Bay. He did play pretty well the first one (91.5), but the Packers defense seemed surprised that Kaepernick (181 yards rushing) could run fast, and Rodgers’ work wasn’t enough against a very good 49ers defense.

The next year, the Packers got San Francisco in frozen Lambeau Field for the playoff game, and Rodgers and the Packers were eliminated yet again. This time, the Packers defense held Kaeperick to a 56.3 passer rating, but it wasn’t enough as Rodgers put up a Ryan Leaf-like 52.1 rating, despite a healthy Nelson, Cobb, and Jones plus rookie stud Eddie Lacy at running back.

The Nightmare Choke in Seattle with the Super Bowl on the line is the one that haunts, forever. That was the Packers Super Bowl to win, and that team was loaded.
Dom Capers’ defense that day had a great gameplan, and they executed it brilliantly for about 55 minutes. Had Rodgers been regular-season Rodgers, that game would have been about 37-0 Packers.

Another

Favre always had trouble down in Dallas. Rodgers has trouble in Seattle. 

Rodgers plays scared in Seattle. He just does.

Aaron Rodgers sees, and feels, ghosts in Seattle.

Aaron Rodgers sees, and feels, ghosts in Seattle.

I think it stems from the Fail Mary game where the Packers called nothing but passing plays, and the Seahawks defense just teed off on him with 7 sacks the first half, almost breaking him in two many times.

He sees ghosts there, which can be expected even from the best of quarterbacks.

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Look how Rodgers rushes this as if he’s about to get sacked. He actually has a nice “pocket” over there and has some time to wait, with nobody close to him.

In that NFC Championship collapse, Rodgers didn’t throw a last-second interception to break hearts and end dreams, like the ole Gunslinger was prone to do.

But Rodgers did make three passes earlier in the game that cost the Packers, most likely, a minimum of 10 points, and as many as 21 points. Those three passes are among the FIVE THROWS RODGERS would like to have back. With a Super Bowl on the line, he only needed to play well, not necessarily great. But he played poorly, and the result was the most devastating loss in Packers history. I still have scars.

That’s the thing about the playoffs. All it takes is one poor performance and you’re done. Rodgers is used to the feeling that he has to “carry” the Packers by himself, as he seemingly did in the 2010 playoff run, and the 2011 regular season.

But this defense is better, and has a chance to be really good with that great young defensive backfield, and a bunch of stars, first-round picks up front in Matthews, Peppers, Perry, Datone, Daniels, and another first rounder in Kenny Clark.

The great thing is that he Packers make the playoffs all the time. Don’t take that for granted young Packer fans. Ask the 1970’s and 80’s Packer fans about that.

But once in the playoffs, Rodgers will have to win two or three games against good NFC defenses to get to the Super Bowl. He can’t be outplayed by the Kaepernicks, Wilsons, Mannings, Palmers, Bridgewaters, or Newtons. He can’t play scared of the Seahawks pass rush.

Remember, this is Rodgers’ 12th season in the NFL. He’s not getting any younger. It’s only early August, but in five months, when the playoffs get here, it’s time Rodgers rises to the occasion, and leads his team back to the Super Bowl. The window doesn’t stay open forever.

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