A late season win, in the snow and the cold, over a 2-9 non-division rival led by an error-prone rookie quarterback will not be remembered as a classic game. But for my money Aaron Rodgers had an even better technical performance on Sunday than he did in the “perfect” passer rating game against Oakland in Week 7.
Let’s get the bad out of the way. Of Aaron’s 12 incompletions, at least four must have been on those easy, but rushed, short passes to the right or left flat. Aaron simply needs to apply more concentration to these throws, and maybe get his feet set properly – he’s displayed this failing for going on two years now – it’s high time to get it fixed.
As for the 21 completions, which netted him a typical 63.6 completion percentage, most of these were hard-earned, and many of them, which resulted in a fine 125.4 passer rating, were sublime.
Starting with the three deep throws to Lazard, the first one, a 37–yard TD pass to a wide-open receiver, was easy enough, but the other two were spectacular laser throws in tight coverage and with collapsing pockets.
Next there were the two throws to the almost-forgotten Geronimo Allison. As usual, the G-man’s separation could only be measured in inches, but both times Rodgers put it right in his receiver’s hands – resulting in two critical first downs. Rodgers’ first down throw to Geronimo – on a fourth and ten no less! – as the QB was being dragged to the ground might have been his single best effort of the year.
His touchdown throw to tight end Marcedes Lewis was yet another case of a perfect throw to a well-covered target as Aaron was warding off a tackler.
Finally, there were the six completions, out of 10 tries, to Davante Adams. Adams has been mercilessly double-and triple-teamed since his return from injury against the Chargers – and the duress has gotten into his head more than a little. On Sunday, he gave it his all, and Aaron time after time threaded throws through the smallest of windows.
The standout pass to Adams took place after the Pack had gone from first and goal at the one to a third and 17. It was vintage Rodgers, as he caught New York with too many men on the field, which allowed him to try to fit a pass into a space he otherwise would not have attempted. Davante, with two TDs on the day, is back to where he was before the turf toe injury.
The Pack’s third- and fourth-down conversion rate, eight of 14, exemplifies how on his game was Aaron at critical moments.
Most of us took notice when Aaron during the week spoke to the press of his need to “get hot,” as it signified he was assuming personal responsibility for the team returning to its winning ways. Aaron took on the burden, and he delivered.
On a day when the run game was stifled, Coach LaFleur praised the defense for creating three turnovers, punter J. K Scott and the special teams for their excellent play, Lazard for his breakout show, and for the offense “doing what we needed to do.” Well said.
Aaron’s four touchdown throws put him at 22 TDs and only two interceptions on the year. This performance compares favorably to: the wonder year of 2011, when he went 45 and 6; to 2016, when he went 40 and 7, and to last season when he finished 25 and 2.
A-Rod is rounding into form. It couldn’t come at a better time.