We Packer fans in the Twin Cities get assaulted by Vikings fans week after week, year after year, with the fact that the Packers have just two Super Bowl titles to show for a quarter century of Hall of Fame quarterback play.
Never mind the fact that winning championships goes way beyond stellar QB play. Peyton Manning won just one with the Colts. John Elway didn’t win his first till he was 37. Dan Marino never won one.
My comeback is always the same: of course we’d love to have more Super Bowl titles. And maybe we will before Rodgers hangs them up. But what we Packers fans have been entitled to witness, week in and week out for more than 25 years, is exemplary quarterback play every single game. With Favre and Rodgers, you’re never out of a game and you never know what kind of artistry you’ll get to witness on any given Sunday.
On Sunday, for the first time in these heady 25 years, we saw quarterback perfection–just days after the Athletic published a story telling us that over the past few years Rodgers has basically been Andy Dalton. I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘fake news,’ but maybe old #12 caught wind of that story and decided to make a statement. He’s the first Packer QB to ever finish a game with a perfect passer rating, and of continues to be the NFL’s all time career leader in that department.
I think it’s safe to say that Rodgers is getting comfortable in Matt LaFleur’s offense. On a day when his top receiver was out and the next two were playing at less than 100%, we got a virtuoso performance from Rodgers, finding five different receivers for touchdowns, making good use of his running backs in the passing game and doing most of his damage from the pocket, staying on script and on time. For Packer fans, yesterday was NFL porn.
There were some nervous moments early. Rookie Josh Jacobs was carving up yards on the ground and the Raiders were hanging around, threatening to take a 17-14 lead late in the first half, when Derek Carr did Derek Carr things: that’s the second time he’s fumbled into the end zone trying to reach out for the pylon. It was the clear turning point in the game, as Rodgers led a two minute drive for a score and then opened the half with another and suddenly it was 28-10 and it was all she wrote.
It was not a perfect day for the defense, however. The Raiders amassed nearly 500 yards of offense, including 155 on the ground and were unable to sack Derek Carr. The Smiths’ new Halloween-themed sack celebration will have to wait another week. The secondary struggled again to contain a talented tight end and they’ll face the best in the business next week in Kansas City, albeit with a backup quarterback. It will help to get Darnell Savage back from his ankle injury–the defense clearly misses him.
The Pack will play just one home game between now and December 8th, with four of the next five on the road. And with the resurgent Vikings breathing down their necks, there’s very little room for error. Minnesota still has all three division games coming at home in December so the Pack will need to stay a step or two ahead. The Chiefs, minus Patrick Mahomes, loom next on Sunday night at Arrowhead. The Packers opened as three point favorites, but once again will face a team with extra time to prepare and have speedy playmakers like Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy to deal with.
Through seven weeks, the Pack has as many wins as they had all last season and they seem to have the chemistry in the locker room that’s been lacking of late. The NFC is loaded, but Rodgers and company appear to be getting better and better. And on Sunday, their most important player was perfect.