434 Days: Breaking down the best Statistical Stretch of Aaron Rodgers' Career

Very few quarterbacks in league history have encompassed what it means to truly be an all-around threat at the position. One that can beat the defense with his legs when all else fails. One that can fit the ball into tight windows regardless of his throwing platform.

Aaron Rodgers essentially defines all of these characteristics, including his uncanny ability to stay on his toes and always keep a watchful eye on those attempting to slow him down. Whether it be a defensive lineman or linebacker jumping offsides on the edge or a substitution, in which case Rodgers would nine times out of 10 catch the defense with 12 players on the field rather than the legal 11.

Since becoming Brett Favre's successor in 2008 and inheriting a team that was coming off of an NFC Championship defeat at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, Rodgers has gifted the state of Wisconsin along with fans watching all across the world - even division rivals - with stellar play. He's currently the highest-rated passer in NFL history. The gap between Rodgers' 104.6 rating and the next-best 99.6 rating belonging to Russell Wilson is the largest gap between any two quarterbacks on the entire list - a list that spans as far back as 1945 and names off 185 different quarterbacks, courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

While Rodgers' career has been a highlight reel since late 2010, 2015 proved as a rough patch for the Chico native.

Without star receiver Jordy Nelson, other receivers struggled to get open. 31-year old James Jones was the key dependent on the receiving end of eight touchdowns that season, including four in his first three games. However, down the final six games of the season, he had a mere 20 catches and a single touchdown to his merit. It was also the tail-end of what would be one of the worst statistical struggles of Rodgers' career. 2015 was marked as the season that plagued the Packers offense, being sole owners of a receiving corps that were dubbed as the "slowest in the league" in November 2015.

ESPN Packers Insider Rob Demovsky wrote this on the team's skill group in the same month.

"The combined average of 40 time of receivers Randall Cobb (4.55), Davante Adams (4.56), James Jones (4.6) plus tight end Richard Rodgers (4.87) ranks as a league-worst 4.65 seconds. And at age 31, Jones probably couldn't match his original time."

It came after what may go down as one of the most heavily-criticized performances of Rodgers' career. A Sunday Night Football showing in Denver in which Rodgers threw for just 77 yards against a Broncos defense that was ranked as No. 1 in the league at the time, and would eventually go on to be the driving factor behind winning the Super Bowl three months later.

As down of a year as it was, head coach Mike McCarthy still managed to guide his quarterback and less-than-ideal offensive arsenal to a 10-6 record and to two playoff games, winning one of them in Washington. Rodgers, meanwhile, entered the season on what may have possibly been the hottest statistical stretch of his career.

Since the team's home-opener against the New York Jets in September of 2014, Rodgers went on a tear. He threw just four interceptions through the remainder of the 2014 campaign, registering two multi-interception games. From week two and on, Rodgers didn't throw a single interception in 13 of his next 15 games, not counting the playoffs. His incredible streak never halted, even without Nelson and with eight months worth of rest. 

Through mid-November and after a win in Minnesota against the Vikings, Rodgers began the 2015 season with 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. Albeit, he was possessing the lowest completion percentage in a 10-game stretch to start a season of his career; 61 percent. From then on, things began trending downhill for the Packers, however, many speculate that the overdue spiral into an abyss of inefficiency began early in the 2015 campaign. 

Rodgers was missing throws, mistiming his cadences and just failed to create a connection between him and a group of receivers sans Nelson. But a box score won't illustrate that. 

Carrying over his domineering trend from 2014, Rodgers went through 15 games to close out the season and the first 10 of 2015 nearly flawless. He threw for 60 total touchdowns, just even interceptions and exemplified a 65.2 completion percentage. He was also averaging 266.9 passing yards per game. It's a stat line similar to his authoritative performance in the month of November, in which since 2010, he's replicated the 60 touchdowns and nine interceptions through 23 total games. 

The Packers, however, are 14-9 in that span.

The "window" for Rodgers' greatness to cease remains trapped in the unknown, but to be playing football at such a commanding level for so long, one simply has to question whether or not he can do it all by himself. If anything was learned from the 2011 and recent 2016 seasons, the answer is "no," no matter how well he personifies what it means to be one of the most gifted quarterbacks ever seen at the professional level.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (4)

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Bearmeat's picture

January 31, 2017 at 07:41 am

In 2011, the defense could turn other teams over, but not much else. And the offense couldn't run the ball.

In 2012, the defense was truly awful. And the offense couldn't run the ball.

In 2013, the defense was slightly below average, and ARod wasn't really in rhythm by the playoffs after breaking his collarbone.

In 2014, they choked. Offense was great. Defense was average. They couldn't really stop the run, but they were the best overall team in football and they choked.

In 2015, Aaron Rodgers, Phat Eddie Lacy, and slow-ass WR/TEs in 2015 kept GB from being a super bowl contender. Jordy got hurt, Randall isn't a #1. Adams wasn't ready. The end. Oh, but the defense was ABOVE average. Finally.

In 2016, Sam Shields went down. Randall and Q were hurt/not ready/just suck? CBs were a dumpster fire. CM3 is hurt/not that good anymore. The defense was borderline awful. Rodgers was mediocre the first 10 games, but on fire for almost all of the last 9. Oh, and they really didn't run the ball well.

The ONLY time since 2010 that ARod hasn't been the BEST part of this team was for a 22 game stretch (including playoffs) from mid 2015-mid 2016. That's in over 107 games! Meaning that GB has had all-world QB play for 85 games since 2011.

It is simply inexcusable that GB hasn't won at least ONE title since 2010 with such a HUGE advantage at the most important position in any sport.

It shows poorly on Ted Thompson, first of all. Second, on GBs coaches, and specifically, on Dom Capers and his staff. Despite high end investment on the defensive side of the ball, the defense has been below average to atrocious 4 out of the last 6 years.

And yet, calling for TTs and DCs heads is hardly universal. I just don't get it. I am one frustrated Packers fan.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

January 30, 2017 at 09:21 pm

I think you just summarized the collective confusion/agitation shared by every single Packers fan in a single comment. Well done.

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Since'61's picture

January 31, 2017 at 10:36 am

With the exception of the 2008 and part of the 2015 seasons Aaron Rodgers has played QB better than or as well as any QB has ever played the position. Actually I am hard pressed to name another QB who has played at such a high level as Rodgers has played and as consistent as he has been. You could argue for Brady or P. Manning but neither of them have Rodger's mobility or his ability to throw on the run as effectively and accurately as Aaron Rodgers. They may have more SB appearances than Rodgers (wins and losses) but neither can physically do what a healthy Aaron Rodgers does. I don't see either P. Manning or Brady making the throw to Cook on the sideline that Rodgers made to set up the winning FG against Dallas. Unitas, Montana and Marino are the only other QBs I can think of who have reached the level of excellence Rodgers has consistently attained over his career. The 8-0 "run the table" streak in 2016 may have been Rodger's finest hour as his play was impeccable. Regretably, we'll never know how many SBs the Packers would have won if he had even a decent level of support from his defense. I've been fortunate to have seen all the great QBs since the early 60s and Rodgers can play and win in any era against any of them. In Green Bay Starr won more titles and he rarely hurt his team but he could not move nor does he possess Rodger's arm. Favre had one of the best arms ever and was indestructible and all heart but even he could not throw on the run like Rodgers. Only Rodgers can beat you from the pocket, throwing on the run, with his legs and with his brain. He is the complete package because his mobility gives him an edge over any QB who has ever played. Thanks, Since '61

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LeahPayne's picture

November 28, 2019 at 09:14 pm

Good post!

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