Aaron Rodgers touches statistical perfection

QB Aaron Rodgers reacts after rushing for a touchdown in the third quarter
QB Aaron Rodgers reacts after rushing for a touchdown in the third quarter

GREEN BAY – One mantra of the Packers’ coaching staff has been for each player, no matter which side of the ball, to do his 1/11th at all times.

So how does Aaron Rodgers’ performance on Sunday get quantified?

“Maybe a little more than that,” Head Coach Matt LaFleur said, unable to hold back a smile. “We hold a high standard for him because he’s proven it over time.

“There’s a lot of moments, a lot of times that ball leaves his hand I’m in awe. Yeah, he’s pretty good.”

Yeah, he is. Rodgers made history in the 42-24 victory over the Raiders at Lambeau Field by posting his and the franchise’s first perfect passer rating of 158.3. He threw six incompletions (25-of-31) and five touchdown passes to go with 429 yards, his 10th career 400-yard game (including playoffs).

No one else in team history has more than one of those, by the way.

The 158.3 topped his 155.4 from 2009 at Cleveland and was his fourth career game of 150-plus. Two of those came in his second MVP season of 2014, for what it’s worth.

“I still don’t understand how they put that rating together,” Rodgers said of his max mark. “But it does sound pretty good.”

Afterward, Rodgers acknowledged he was in a groove and gaining a new level of comfort in LaFleur’s offense, but he heaped gratitude on a bunch of teammates, too.

To receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, for showing “what it means to be a professional” in gutting it out on a bad ankle and knee with no practice reps, and catching two passes for 133 yards, including a 74-yard score.

To receiver Jake Kumerow and tight end Jimmy Graham, for both executing a certain degree of difficulty on their TD grabs.

To his offensive line, for providing “the best pocket we’ve had all season,” as he was sacked only once and has gone down just seven times in the last six games.

To running back Aaron Jones, for atoning for his wide-open dropped touchdown pass six days ago with a difficult but smooth adjustment to haul in a 21-yard TD in the first quarter to get the banner day started. It was the type of on-the-fly shift of the head and torso from one side to the other that wide receivers and tight ends must make regularly.

“But for a running back to do it …,” Rodgers said. “He told me on the sidelines afterward that he kind of owed me for last week. So I guess we’re even now.”

The list of praiseworthy contributions goes on, but make no mistake, Rodgers deserves plenty of kudos, too.

Highest Passer Rating, Game (Packers)

Table inside Article
Passer Rating Player Opponent
158.3 Aaron Rodgers vs. Oak., Oct. 20, 2019
155.4 Aaron Rodgers at Cle., Oct. 25, 2009
154.9 Brett Favre at Oak., Dec. 22, 2003
154.5 Aaron Rodgers vs. Car., Oct. 19, 2014
152.1 Lynn Dickey vs. Pit., Sept. 11, 1983

He hung in under pressure and delivered the ball despite taking a couple of big shots from blitzers. A 9-yard strike to Geronimo Allison converted a key third down on the game-turning possession late in the first half.

Rodgers joked those hits make him feel like “a real football player,” but as much as the Packers would like to limit them, his courage in those moments is an underrated aspect of his game.

He also rewarded LaFleur’s aggressive plan and play calls time and time again, no better than on the opening snap of the second half, when a play-action deep shot to Valdes-Scantling gained 59 and set up the TD that put the Packers in control.

“Just love that,” Rodgers said of the go-for-broke mentality coming out of the locker room. “When we’ve been at our best over the years, it’s being aggressive and knowing when to dial it back.”

Rodgers was clearly in sync with his play-caller. Both commented on all the players’ understanding of the whole offense expanding, Rodgers’ included, and there still being room to grow.

Of course they’re going to say that, because no one has it all figured out after seven games, but the last three have been without Pro Bowl wideout Davante Adams, so the future possibilities after a game like this are intriguing to say the least.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

“I can promise you we need him, and we’re a better offense with ‘17’ on the field,” Rodgers said of his top target. “We’ve just been spreading it out a little bit more and guys have been stepping up. I think it’s given everybody a chance to see the talent that we have.”

As for what may lie ahead, intriguing wasn’t Rodgers’ word of choice.

“When you learn to win in different ways then you become a lot more dangerous offense, because you just have so many more different things you can throw at a defense,” he said. “That’s what makes you a true, dangerous offense.”

OK, then, consider the rest of the NFC warned. Because the guy taking snaps Sunday already looked pretty dangerous.

Take it from the teammate who watches him probably more closely than any other, his backup, Tim Boyle, who stepped in to finish up Rodgers’ masterpiece.

“It is incredible, absolutely incredible, what he did today,” Boyle said. “Today was one of those days where you have to trust the guys in your locker room.

“The fact that Aaron played pretty much a perfect game, it really is unbelievable. He stands in there, makes all these throws and gets hit, and he keeps plugging along. Honestly, it’s pretty awe-inspiring to watch.”

Whatever fraction gets assigned to it.