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Aaron Rodgers' road to the record has been paved in greatness

Packers quarterback needs four more touchdown passes to break Brett Favre’s franchise mark of 442

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – As a young quarterback, Aaron Rodgers always had the same gameday routine.

He'd come into the building, put on his shoulder pads, pants and jersey, and then page through the gameday program Packers equipment manager Gordon "Red" Batty and his staff placed in every player's locker.

Rodgers often thumbed through the articles and historical lookbacks before landing on the page containing all the Packers' passing records, most of which belonged to Brett Favre. Then, after a few years as a starter, Rodgers began noticing his own name popping up in black ink, symbolizing a current player.

Even then, Favre's colossal career statistics seemed so far away.

"I remember looking at the number of touchdowns that Favrey had and thinking, 'Oh my God, I'm not even at 100 yet,'" Rodgers recalled on Wednesday. "'How could I ever play long enough to be in this same category as that?'"

Well, he did. After three MVP awards and nearly 14 years as the starting QB in Green Bay, Rodgers now finds himself just three touchdowns away from Favre's franchise record of 442.

Despite a lingering toe injury, the 38-year-old quarterback is coming off one of his best performances of the season this past Sunday during the Packers' 45-30 win over the Chicago Bears.

With 341 passing yards and four touchdowns, Rodgers extended his NFL record to seven games with four or more TDs without an interception against a single opponent, the most in NFL history. He also surpassed Favre in career TD passes vs. Chicago, with 61 in 27 games, compared to Favre's 60 in 36.

As Rodgers nears the end of an unprecedented 17th regular season with the Packers, the league's reigning MVP understands the importance of the touchdown record he's closing in on.

"That's a special one just because of the history of the franchise and how long our franchise has been around and how many great players have come through here," Rodgers said. "And the opportunity to be here 17 years, and the longevity records as Favrey I remember used to talk about when he was here, to be a part of some of those is pretty cool."

Here is a look at some of Rodgers' greatest regular-season touchdowns that have him on the precipice of achieving even more history.

Rodgers' road to 443

1: Greg Jennings, 11 yards, at Dallas (Nov. 29, 2007)

When shoulder and elbow injuries sidelined Favre for the remainder of the game, Rodgers was thrust into action just days before his 24th birthday. On Green Bay's final drive of the first half, Rodgers threw his first NFL touchdown to Jennings for 11 yards to cap an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive. While the Packers lost 37-27, Rodgers' performance (18-of-26 for 201 yards and a touchdown, 104.8 passer rating) was an encouraging sign of the former first-round pick's development and promise.

100: James Jones, 70 yards, at Atlanta (Oct. 9, 2011)

As the years pass, Rodgers' 100th touchdown pass continues to grow in legend and lore thanks to an excited Jones heaving the ball deep into the stands at the Georgia Dome after the 70-yard touchdown connection. It's easy to see why Jones got carried away. The touchdown put Green Bay ahead for the first time in the game, as the Packers scored 25 unanswered points to upend the Falcons 25-14. Rodgers became the fifth-fastest quarterback to 100 touchdown passes, doing it in just his 59th regular-season game. Rodgers remains one of only four QBs to throw 100 touchdowns in a Packers uniform, joining Favre, Bart Starr and Lynn Dickey.

103: Jordy Nelson, 93 yards, vs. St. Louis (Oct. 16, 2011)

One week after throwing his 100th touchdown to Jones, Rodgers threw what still stands as his longest NFL TD pass when he pump-faked and connected with Nelson on a deep ball. Nelson carried out the stop-and-go route down the left sideline, beating former Packers cornerback Al Harris deep while collapsing safety Darian Stewart slipped. To this day, it remains the fourth-longest touchdown pass in team history. Later that season, Nelson caught the 45th, and final, touchdown pass to cap Rodgers' first MVP season during a 35-21 victory over the Bears on Christmas. Nelson's 2-yard touchdown reception marked Rodgers' 132nd overall.

188: Randall Cobb, 48 yards, at Chicago Bears (Dec. 29, 2013)

The Packers' 2013 regular-season finale against the Bears will go down as one of the most memorable moments of Rodgers' career. After missing seven games with a fractured collarbone, Rodgers made his highly anticipated return in a winner-take-all matchup against Green Bay's oldest rival with the NFC North title, and the playoff spot that comes with it, on the line. Trailing by 1 and facing a fourth-and-8 with 46 seconds left, Rodgers avoided defensive end Julius Peppers, thanks in part to a chip block from fullback John Kuhn, and found Cobb wide open down the middle of the field for the 48-yard touchdown en route to the Packers' 33-28 victory and the team's third consecutive division title. "It's two guys making a great, great play that'll be running on the highlights now for the rest of my time on this earth," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after that game. The Rodgers-to-Cobb touchdown was later named the NFL's Never Say Never Moment of the Year at the 2013 NFL Honors ceremony.

200: Davante Adams, 11 yards, vs. Minnesota (Oct. 2, 2014)

The Packers were nothing short of dominant in a 42-10 shellacking of the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Green Bay jumped out to 28-0 halftime lead after an 11-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to rookie second-round pick Davante Adams running a post. The excited Adams slipped at first in the end zone before handing the ball to the ref. As it turned out, it was both Adams' first career touchdown catch and Rodgers' 200th TD pass. The quarterback, knowing the importance of the catch to the young Adams, gave the rookie the football to commemorate the achievement. "At that point, I didn't even realize how much that ball would mean to him just 'cause you see Aaron Rodgers your whole college career, part in high school, and you're just used to seeing him throw touchdowns," Adams said. "I didn't really realize that hitting that 100 each time meant that much. I thought 100 maybe and then 500 would be the desired thing, but being in the league now obviously I know how much my 500th reception meant and the 600th mean the same amount, if not more. So definitely realize it more than what I did then but I'm glad he let me keep it."

252: Richard Rodgers, 61 yards, at Detroit (Dec. 3, 2015)

Perhaps no sequence in Rodgers' 17-year NFL career better encapsulates his brilliance, arm talent and innate ability to make a play than when he rolled out right and uncorked a Hail Mary that fell into the hands of the tight end Rodgers, who was supposed to be an up-blocker for Adams. Despite winning 27-23, the Packers never led in the game since the Hail Mary occurred on an untimed down after Lions defensive lineman Devin Taylor was flagged for a facemask penalty on Rodgers. "I ran down there, saw the ball and made sure I was in the end zone, and went up and caught it," Richard Rodgers said after the game. "It's written in the playbook that it's my job to box out and Davante's supposed to jump and I'm supposed to wait for a tip. I might get an MA (missed assignment) for that. I'll take it, I guess." The game marked the first time in franchise history the Packers won after trailing by 17 points in first quarter. The 61-yard game-winner was the second-longest come-from-behind game-ending TD from scrimmage in the fourth quarter in NFL history behind only Lions QB Earl Morrall's 65-yard TD pass to TE Jim Gibbons on Dec. 4, 1960.

300: Ty Montgomery, 1 yard, at Atlanta (Sept. 17, 2017)

Rodgers became the 10th quarterback in league history to throw 300 touchdowns when he flicked a 1-yard TD pass to Montgomery during the final minutes of a 34-23 loss to the Falcons. He became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to get to 300, both in terms of number of games and attempts required, and he's the only quarterback ever to throw 300 touchdowns without first having 100 or more interceptions.

351: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 74 yards, vs. Oakland (Oct. 20, 2019)

Marquez Valdes-Scantling ran an out route from the slot, leaving Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley behind him as he charged into the end zone for Rodgers' fifth touchdown pass of the day. Valdes-Scantling's catch-and-run ensured Rodgers would set a single-game franchise record (min. 15 att.) with a perfect 158.3 passer rating after connecting on 25 of 31 passes (80.6 pct.) for a season-high 429 yards, beating his own mark of 155.4 at Cleveland in 2009.

400: Davante Adams, 9 yards, vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 6, 2020)

Rodgers became just the seventh quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 touchdown passes on a seven-play, 99-yard scoring drive in the third quarter of Green Bay's Week 13 matchup with the Eagles. After hitting Adams on a spectacular 42-yard completion through double coverage to open the series, Rodgers went back to his trusted ally on first-and-goal from the Philadelphia 9. Rodgers rocketed a quick pass to Adams, who threw his shoulder into Darius Slay to cross the goal line. "What I saw pre-snap is there were two guys lined up real low over Davante and Allen (Lazard) in the slot," Rodgers recalled after the game. "As (Lazard) came in motion, I saw one guy running with him and the other guy backing off of Tae. So, I felt like Davante would have a one-on-one, with space, to try to get into the end zone." After Jones' snafus with the 100th touchdown and Rodgers' generosity with No. 200, Adams went around the sideline reminding all the skill-position players to hold onto the ball if they caught No. 400. Once he did, Adams knelt while presenting the football to Rodgers, the fastest to reach 400 TD passes in terms of attempts (6,462; previous low was Peyton Manning's 7,226) and games (193; previous low was Drew Brees' 205). He also established the fewest INTs at the time of his 400th TD pass with 88 (Tom Brady, 143). "I remember all the 100 notches," Rodgers said. "This will be the first out of those that I'll actually get the ball."

422: Davante Adams, 5 yards, at Cincinnati (Oct. 10, 2021)

A wild finish to the Packers' 25-22 overtime win over the Bengals in Week 5 overshadowed an historic day for Rodgers, who moved past both Dan Marino and Philip Rivers to move into sole possession of fifth place in NFL career touchdown passes. He tied Rivers at 421 with a 12-yard TD pass early in the second quarter before linking up with Adams on a 5-yard score before halftime for No. 422. Now at 439, Rodgers trails only Favre (508), Manning (539), Brees (571) and Brady (617 and counting) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.

443: Stay tuned

Now a bona-fide star with his own Pro Football Hall of Fame aspirations, Adams hopes to soon present his longtime quarterback with another keepsake once Rodgers breaks the franchise record with his 443rd TD pass.

If it's not him, Adams already plans on making sure the rest of the receivers know to hold onto the football once they score. Of course, that's assuming Rodgers doesn't warn him first.

"I'm sure he'll remind me," Adams joked. "He reminded me about the one to go up on Favre (for the career TDs vs. Chicago). He let me know about that so I wouldn't toss that one or just hang onto it."

Rodgers' 439 TDs (by 43 players, bold signifying current teammate)

  • 65 – Jordy Nelson
  • 64 – Davante Adams
  • 44 – Randall Cobb
  • 41 – James Jones
  • 38 – Greg Jennings
  • 22 – Donald Driver
  • 19 – Jermichael Finley
  • 15 – Robert Tonyan
  • 13 – Richard Rodgers
  • 12 – Marquez Valdes-Scantling
  • 11 – Aaron Jones
  • 9 – Allen Lazard, Donald Lee
  • 7 – John Kuhn
  • 6 – Eddie Lacy, Geronimo Allison, Jamaal Williams
  • 5 – James Starks, Jimmy Graham
  • 4 – Marcedes Lewis, Andrew Quarless, Spencer Havner
  • 3 – Ty Montgomery, Tom Crabtree
  • 2 – AJ Dillon, Lance Kendricks, Jake Kumerow, Brandon Jackson
  • 1 – Korey Hall, Trevor Davis, Ryan Grant, Malik Taylor, Jarrett Boykin, Justin Perillo, Aaron Ripkowski, Ryan Taylor, Jared Cook, Josiah Deguara, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jace Sternberger, Brandon Bostick, Ruvell Martin, Dominique Dafney, Jeff Janis

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