It's Rodgers, Over and Out!Posted:Oct 3rd, 2011 1:20 am
This one obviously didn't represent the magnitude of the near perfect game in the Georgia Dome last January. But against the Broncos at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers played the finest game of his career.
Rodgers is the first QB in history to throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for two additional scores--in one game. Rodgers is in such a zone right now that it feels like Ed Donatell could be the defensive coordinator and this team would still be 4-0.
I said on my radio show that I believe Aaron Rodgers is playing at a higher level than Favre ever did. He needs to sustain it over many months and seasons for it to mean anything, but Rodgers is playing like Peyton Manning from the waist up and Steve Young from the waist down--not a bad combination.
Against the Broncos, all of his receivers got into the act. Denver boasts pretty good linebacker and safety play, so it figured that Jermichael Finley would not be the target he was against the Bears. The Broncos paid extra attention to Finley, creating mismatches all day for the wide receivers. Jennings, Driver, Jones and Nelson all scored once, while rookie Randall Cobb also pitched in with two catches for 75 yards.
Rodgers' final numbers: 29-38 408 yards, four touchdowns and one pick (on a deflection). His passer rating was 134.5. The Broncos have a nice pair of pass rushers in Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller; they had Rodgers on the run a bit--a main reason he had nine carries for 36 yards (and the two scores).
We wondered about complacency and we saw a bit, when the Pack's 21-3 lead was cut to 21-17. But Rodgers engineered a precision drive for a TD to close out the first half, then took the team down the field to start the third quarter and it was curtains for the Broncos.
It certainly wasn't the shut down defensive effort many of us were looking for. Orton threw for 273 yards and Willis McGahee had a rare 100 yard rushing day. Despite the fact that Orton really only had two legit weapons in the passing game, Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker were able to get open, make catches and pad their stat sheet. It's going to take a much stronger effort in Atlanta next Sunday night.
But for now, we enjoy the fact that the Pack is off to only its third 4-0 start in the last 45 years (that's after the Lombardi dynasty). There's no wiggle room because they share the NFC North lead with the Lions, whose second consecutive ginormous second half comeback has them and the rest of the football world believing. Thanksgiving Day can't come soon enough (come to think of it, I can wait. Golf season isn't over yet...). But what an epic game we have in store on turkey day.
That's a ways off. We all witnessed a performance unlike any ever before by a Packer quarterback, or any quarterback for that matter. Aaron Rodgers was absolutely magnificent on this day. And for that reason, the defending champs continue to sit atop the football world.
Check back for the Tuesday Morning Podcast for my review of the game...I'll use your emails and comments below.