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Aaron Rodgers Day: The 12 Best Games of the QB's Career

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Aaron Rodgers Day: The 12 Best Games of the QB's Career

For most of the living, breathing world, Dec. 12, 2012 represents nothing more than the last repeating-number date of this century. Just a regular day with an interesting happenstance tied in.

Not so in the state of Wisconsin.

Thanks to a resolution passed by the state legislature earlier in the year, 12/12/12 has been dubbed "Aaron Rodgers Day," in recognition of the Green Bay Packers' MVP and Super Bowl winning quarterback.

To help celebrate Aaron Rodgers Day, we've put together a list of Rodgers' 12 best games as the Packers quarterback for your viewing enjoyment:

--at Dallas, Nov. 2007: The Grand Entrance 

Rodgers replaces an injured Brett Favre and nearly rallies the Packers back from a 27-10 deficit. He pulls Green Bay to within a score on two different opportunities (27-24, 34-27) but is unable to get the Packers past the Cowboys. Rodgers finishes the game 18 of 26 passing for 201 yards and one score. The breakout performance sets the stage for the events of the next summer.

--Minnesota, Sept. 2008: First Start, First Win

In the first game in Green Bay without Favre as the starting quarterback since Sept. 20, 1992, Rodgers calmly led the Packers to a 24-19 win over the rival Vikings. He hit Greg Jennings on a 56-yard bomb on the third series, which Rodgers later capped off with an acrobatic 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Korey Hall. With just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rodgers snuck in a 1-yard score that put the final nail in his first ever win as the Packers starting quarterback.

--at Arizona, Jan. 2010: Playoff Shootout

Despite throwing an interception on his first ever playoff attempt, Rodgers rallied to help stage one of the best postseason games in recent NFL history. Trailing 31-10 early in the second half, Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and helped rally the Packers to a 45-45 tie at the end of regulation. On the first series of overtime, Rodgers missed a streaking Jennings that would have ended the game in one throw. Two plays later, the game was over. Arizona scooped up a strip sack and returned it for a touchdown to stun Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers' 423 passing yards are still a franchise playoff record.

--Minnesota, Oct. 2010: Slaying the Demon, Reviving the Season

Rodgers' stats weren't out of this world (295 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions), but getting a 28-24 win over the Favre-led Vikings helped exorcise his demon (Favre won both meetings in 2009) and revive the Packers' fading 2010 season (the Packers entered the game 3-3). Green Bay would go on to win 11 of its next 13 games, including the playoffs. Had Favre bested Rodgers that October night, who knows how that season ends up.

--at Minnesota, Nov. 2010: Turning the Page

Over one afternoon's work in Minnesota, Rodgers helped turn the page on an ugly chapter in Packers history. Thanks to a 31-3 beat down of the Vikings, in which Rodgers threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns, Green Bay was able to finish off the former legend playing in rival colors. At 3-7, the Favre era in Minnesota all but ended. Rodgers was just getting started.

--at Atlanta, Nov. 2010: Setting the Stage

The Packers may not have won the first meeting with the Falcons in 2010, but Rodgers' performance—especially late—helped set the stage for what would become his finest hour. Down 17-10 late in the fourth quarter, Rodgers drove the Packers the length of the field. Facing fourth down in the red zone, Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on what remains one of the quarterback's best-ever throws. Atlanta would later triumph in overtime, but the wheels were already in motion for what the postseason would hold.

--at Atlanta, Jan. 2011: The Assault on Atlanta

Rodgers still calls his slicing and dicing of the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round the best game of his NFL career. Given the numbers, it'd be hard to argue that suggestion. Escaping the pocket with Houdini-like success, Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns, plus another rushing score. By the time triple zeros hit the Georgia Dome clock, Green Bay was celebrating a 48-21 thrashing of the NFC's No. 1 seed. Rodgers will have a hard time topping his performance that January night in Atlanta.

--Super Bowl XLV vs. Pittsburgh, Feb. 2011: MVP Says 'Ring Me'

Facing the NFL's No. 1 defense, Rodgers threw for over 300 yards and three scores to help the Packers win their 13th NFL championship. He was named Super Bowl MVP for his efforts. While his three touchdowns were all big plays, Rodgers' dart to Jennings down the seam in the fourth quarter is probably the best throw of his career. On the biggest stage, Rodgers shined the brightest.

--Denver, Oct. 2011: Start of Something Special

By the time Rodgers was done tormenting the Broncos defense, we knew the 2011 season could be something special for both Rodgers and the Packers offense. In throwing for 408 yards and four scores and running for 36 and two more, Rodgers kept the Packers undefeated with a 49-23 win. Rodgers would finish the 2011 season with 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions, while the Packers would score the most points in franchise history.

--at New York, Dec. 2011: Late Drive Wins Shootout

Rodgers and the eventual Super Bowl champions engaged in one of the 2011 season's best games. Eli Manning and Rodgers combined to throw for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns, but it was the Packers who got the best of the outcome on this day. Given the ball last and with the score tied, Rodgers raced the Packers down the field to set up a game-winning kick. Mason Crosby split the uprights at the New Meadowlands, and Green Bay remained undefeated 12 games in.

--Chicago, Dec. 2011: Raining Down Touchdowns on Christmas Night

Playing on Christmas for the first time in his NFL career, Rodgers put on his best Santa Claus impression with the football. A then career-high five touchdown passes later, including two each to James Jones and Jordy Nelson, Rodgers and the Packers won their 14th regular-season game for the first time in franchise history.

--at Houston, Oct. 2012: Rising from the Ashes, A Career Day Begins

Punched to the canvas a week prior by the Indianapolis Colts, Rodgers and the Packers were back on their feet and ready to throw a haymaker or two of their own during this nationally televised bout. Despite being 5-0 and playing at home, the Texans had no answer for Rodgers. Just 37 attempts for Rodgers resulted in 338 yards and a career-high six touchdown passes. At 3-3, the Packers had cleared the cobwebs and were ready to make a run.

What's your favorite Aaron Rodgers game or memory? Share in the comments section below.

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (38) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Diane Smart's picture

Great memories! Happy Aaron Rodgers day!

bryce's picture

I'd hafta put the divisional round game in Atlanta as #1. He was on a different level that night.

Zach Kruse's picture

These were listed only by date, not by significance.

Darrin's picture

+2. Ditka said that performance was as close to perfect as any quarterback's he's ever seen.

LACheez's picture

i was at that game with a good buddy who is a falcons fan. it was a guys weekend with a quick trip across the country to see our favorite teams battle. falcons fans are great...good sports. i was worried before the game started, but with a quiet confidence. and then the game happened, and it was fantastic. the game ended with mostly packers fans left in the georgia dome chanting "go pack go", and a group gathered to give high fives to the players as they left the field. one of the greatest packer games i've been to (but is quickly overshadowed for me by my attendance at the SuperBowl later that year, which was ridiculously great). Definitely lucky to have #12. Happy 12/12/12.

LACheez's picture

also, another thing i will never ever forget about that game. sitting next to my group of friends was a guy with a purple number 4 jersey on. the guy looked like a true viking fan...

and i'll never forget what i caught him doing...he had a toothpick that he was using to: a) suck on, b) stick into his ear to scrape ear wax and then c) suck the ear wax off the toothpick.

poor minnesota.

Denver's picture

Right when I saw the headline I thought of that 1 yarder to Hall against the Vikes. Hard to believe that short of a pass is so memorable to me.
Happy you mentioned it, Zach.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

That throw to hall was great! he was nearly parallel with the ground when he released that ball.

Mojo's picture

Yes, the Sept 2008 game against the Queens comes to mind also. I remember watching with a group that included a number of people who felt Brent could never be replaced, that the Packers were scum for getting rid of him and that Brent was the only reason the Packers had success during his time there. Even after ARod had what I thought was an impressive debut in a winning effort, their nonchalant dismissive attitude about him has forever has tarnished any credibility they may have had with me. At least about the Packers.

I know even if ARod wins 10 SB's they'll insist Brent was the greatest NFL player of all time.

Bugeater's picture

I have to say the NFC Championship game against the Bears was pretty great - he didn't have one of his best games ever, but he had that tackle on Urlacher after he threw the INT. That was a pretty great moment - showed the grit that we've almost come to take for granted now.

Patrick Duprey's picture

Also worth mentioning: his second game as a starter, a road win over the Lions in 09/2009. The offense was unconscious in the first half, but needed a few pick-sixes to cover for the defense blowing the lead.

He was very good in our Week 3 loss at Chicago in 2010. Fantastic showcase of taking what the defense gives you against the two-high safety look. Rushing TD to put Packers up late, and may have led a game-winning comeback drive had JJ not fumbled. (That rout of the Cowboys on SNF two weeks after the Vikings game you mention was also pretty friggin' awesome.)

That Week 1 win against the Saints was pretty impressive last year. Trying to think of others...

Zach Kruse's picture

Wrestled with Week 1 in 2011 vs. the Saints and the 6-touchdown game against the Broncos.

Tommyboy's picture

The game against the Falcons is the best play from a qb I have ever seen (I know these weren't ranked, Zach - just my little addition). That was, without a doubt, the most ridiculous dismantling of a DAMN good Falcons team that I'd ever seen. I watch highlights from that game about once every two months because it is still, and shall forever remain, one of the most entertaining displays of skill, athleticism, and epitomizes being in "the zone" more than anything I've ever seen on a football field. Just amazing.

bomdad's picture

Meanwhile Tramon was relegating "Matty Ice" to the second tier.

Isn't it great there is only one sub-par playoff performance so far? We could probably do a 12 stinkiest playoff ending QB performances and it borderline that AR is on the list.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

That game, like the others is on a DVD. BUT, that game is also still eating up space on my DVR (along with the SB). Just can't get rid of it... I watch it, and I feel... Better.

GBP 4 LIFE

Arodg's Mustache's picture

haha...
the SB and the atlanta game are both still on my DVR too. My wife always asks to erase them and I tell her its me or the 2 games on the DVR baby, take or leave it!

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Damn straight 'Stache!

mike78's picture

Agreed and have it on tape. Watched it many times. It certainly is a candidate for best performance by any QB ever.

Cole's picture

For me the Arizona game was the best performance I have ever seen. The throw to Jennings where he toe tapped on the sideline was incredible.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

He was absolutely filthy that game, as was the big fella. Still pissed no FM called in OT... That was a SB team the way they played that day. Aside from the disgraceful defense that is.

LACheez's picture

i was also at this game...it was freakin' exhilarating and then incredibly defeating. i was working that day, so didn't get in to the stadium until the packers were down two scores (14-0, i believe)...but my buddy and i were like "oh well, we'll at least see our favorite team in a playoff game" - neither of us lived in wisconsin anymore, and i wasn't getting back often then. as the game went on my heart just kept pounding harder and harder cause you could feel like something special was going on - #12 was on fire (unfortunately, so was Warner) - and some of those scores were ridiculous. we were also sitting right by the OT play that ended the game. heart broken. but great game.

Dennis eckersley's picture

Week 1, 2009 CHI @ GB.

After an entire year and offseason of "Aaron Rodgers is a great QB but can't win late"......Rodgers connects deep on 3rd and short (in what is now a signature play call) to come from behind and beat the bears with less than 2 minutes left.

That was when he grew up. that was his real coming out party. He went from Boy to Man in one throw.

Barutan Seijin's picture

Yeah, that was a good one in a really tight, tough game.

It was about the game, not the numbers.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

My fav has to be the first playoff win of his career. If only because I was at that game. It was not Ar's best game but he took what the defense gave him and came away with the W. A playoff win is a playoff win no matter how ugly. But he got hit pretty hard in that game and the crowd was as fierce as I have even heard but he just kept it together and made huge throws. The Tramon INT was right in front of my seats and as soon as he caught it my eyes found 12 on the sideline. He looked every bit like a giddy kid. And so was I. If the team had won that cardinals game then it would be #1 in my book. That game was epic.

Mojo's picture

To me the best game ARod ever played was SB45. After re-watching it a couple of times (this time sober), I couldn't help but notice that the Steelers for the most part outplayed the Packers. Outside of three Steeler turnovers and the play of Jennings and ARod the Pack probably lose. The third and 10 pass to Jennings in the fourth quarter was the stuff of legends.

It may have been the most impressive game played by any QB in the SB if you ask me.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

That throw was so precise, and sooo clutch, best throw of his career imo. If he'd of hit that same throw to Jennings in Zona, in OT, well, that wouldn't have sucked... So close.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

Yep Fitz, Hit the throw to Greg and end the wild card game and that might have been a SB team too. I have a love hate relationship with that game.

LACheez's picture

totally forgot about that throw...hot damn...what could have been!

Patrick Duprey's picture

Zach could've put like 10 other games on this list, and nobody would've complained. Hell, we threw them all in the comments. That's how good this guy is — as fans, we're fortunate.

Barutan Seijin's picture

For me it's the 26 December 2010 game vs. the Gints. 45-17. Rodgers: 25 for 37 attempts, 404 yds, 4 TDs 0 INT in a must-win game.

Eli throwing 4 INTs made the game even more enjoyable.

Oppy's picture

I treated myself and 3 of my old childhood friends to tickets for that game (thanks to Kyle for the tickets!), and it was a horrible football game, but an absolute BLAST for a Packers fan.

I really think the previous week's near-win with Flynn starting vs. the Pats at the almost-impossible-to-win-at Gillette stadium was the catalyst for the Packers Superbowl run (We're nobody's underdog", but that Giants game was a definite statement game. I am very happy to have been in attendance that night.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

How about the Game in Pittsburg in '09. I know they lost that game but thats the game when you really saw the gunslinger come out of AR. He got pummelled to open the game but the u see those wild west gunslinger eyes and he smiles at the defense and throws a TD pass to Greg.

Oppy's picture

I don't ever want to hear anyone romanticize a Packers' QB as a gunslinger ever again.

We Packers fans have seen a gunslinger, and we're now seeing what an intelligent QB does for a team.. I don't ever want to see Rodgers become a "Gunslinger". It's a dirty word in my book, and I think it should be for all Packers fans.

Give me a guy with an arm who knows patience and makes smart decisions over a guy who makes stupid, risky throws for his own glory anyday.

some guy's picture

great stuff. I'd add Giants regular season game in '10 after the concussion. Rodgers was an absolute monster in a must-win game.

ricky's picture

We were at the Dallas game in 2007. During the warmups, before returning to the sidelines, Rodgers went to the back of the endzone just yards away from us, stood on the Dallas star in the corner, feet together, arms outstretched. Several Dallas fans nearby went a little crazy, and asked me (I had on a Packers shirt and hat) who Rodgers was. I provided his name, and said he was the backup QB. They sneered, "You mean he's not even a starter?!"
This was during the time that Favre hadn't missed a start since 1992. No wonder they were cheering for the Cowboys- clueless and classless.

Point Packer's picture

If he plays good and beats the Bears on Sunday, it will automatically be one of my favorite A-Rodge performances.

woodson4president's picture

To all of u who get to go to games every year....suck it haha jk. I live in wv and have seen Brent play in one game at home (a loss to the saints in 07). But I have seen Aaron play away twice. Once in Cleveland 3 years ago and once in 2010 against the Eags game 1 of THE season. The game where the Eagles were wearin the throwbacks and clay destroyed Kolb and gave him a concussion and also sacked Vick. Best play was between 12 n 85 though. Decent pass to Greg a little behind him n high and he leaps and makes a sick one handed catch remember? Better than that was when the game was over the players ran off the field to the tunnel (exactly where our seats were) and Cwood threw my ex his gloves.....pretty sweet.

Glblank's picture

One not mentioned was the 2011 NFC championship game in Chicago when Rodgers came out pitching to Greg Jennings on the first drive and embarrassing the Bores at home.

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