You saw it. Aaron Rodgers’ final pass of the game against the Atlanta Falcons fell harmlessly short of receiver Davante Adams. A reception would have put the Green Bay Packers in or very close to field goal range.
A made field goal would have beat the Falcons, but it wasn’t to be.
Immediately after the play, Rodgers’ body language suggested he felt Adams did something wrong on the play. It seemed he wanted Adams to break his route to the outside. Rodgers didn’t quite say that when he was asked about it postgame, though.
“He was thinking he had a step on his defender and the ball was coming over the top,” Rodgers said. “I was thinking that he might break it off to the sideline. As I was on the roll I couldn’t tell whether or not he was over the top, so in retrospect maybe a ball that’s closer to him allows him to cut off his route.”
And that would seem to be Rodgers saying he didn’t make the right throw, which is something you don’t often hear Rodgers say.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new for the Packers. Regardless of how good Aaron Rodgers is or has been, he’s never really been great at winning games late.
He has just 14 game-winning drives in his career. That’s fewer than the guy he played against on Sunday, Matt Ryan, who has 33. It’s also fewer than plenty of guys who don’t get the recognition that Rodgers gets. Here’s a sampling: Tony Romo (30), Joe Flacco (26), Jay Cutler (25), Matthew Stafford (24) and Alex Smith (18).
Rodgers is tied for 94th all time in career game-winning drives. These quarterbacks also have 14 game-winning drives — Erik Kramer, Jim McMahon, Rodney Peete, Matt Schaub and Kordell Stewart.
You could certainly make an argument that Rodgers doesn’t handle these pressure situations well, but then he never really has.
The recipe for the Packers really has to be to get a lead and hold on late.