If History Means much, Rodgers, Packers Should hit Their Stride

There wasn't much to fawn over with Aaron Rodgers in 2015, and so far, 2016 is telling a similar story despite his four-touchdown (in the first half) performance in the Packers' home debut. Albeit a small sampling size dating back to just last year, his career numbers show a different story. Especially in the month of October.

Any of the mid-season months would be a bad time to face a quarterback with generational talent the likes of which Rodgers possesses. The ability to beat schemes designed to stop him with his arm, legs, mental sharpness - all of these factors amalgamate into who many deem as the best quarterback in football today. However, historically, October is when he kicks his performance into second gear. 

October houses some of Rodgers' best individual stretches and games over his career. In 2014, he engineered a three-game stretch in October where he threw nine touchdowns through just three games, ultimately leading to a 130.96 rating in those games. Even with those astonishing numbers, he failed to beat out the three-game stretch he formulated two years prior, which included what some would call the "shh" game in Houston. 11 touchdowns through three games, including a 342-yard passing showcase against the Rams that was his then-season high. He would later topple that mark with 365 against the Vikings in the season finale. 2011 included an October game which to this date, can be debated as one of Rodgers' best individual performances. In the midst of what would eventually go on to be a 15-1 campaign and an MVP season for Rodgers, he slung four touchdowns against the visiting Broncos as well as rushed for two on the ground, accounting for six total scores all from no. 12.

The month of October holds Rodgers' personal single-game record for highest passer rating at 155.4, set in his sophomore NFL season. Seven years later, it's a feat he has yet to better. 

It would be fitting that Rodgers and the Packers' offense begins finding its rhythm and acclimating to having Jordy Nelson back at its disposal. After hauling in four touchdowns through his first three games post-ACL surgery, the timing couldn't be better.

Many were agitated and some outsiders were calling for change in the coaching staff that inhabits the sideline every Sunday, but the cool, calm and composed Green Bay organization quickly settled that dispute. A high-powered offensive display in the first half of the win against the Lions before the Packers momentously steam-rolled into their bye week silenced the critics for now. 

To continue the trend of success would mean tackling the visiting Giants from the east on the primetime stage this Sunday. It would be the second of four straight home games for the Packers and obviously, their first here in the month of October. Their only road game through this month falls a day before Halloween in Atlanta - a team that Rodgers, not the Packers as a whole, finds success against. For a team with Julio Jones at its disposal, who put up 259 receiving yards against the Packers' secondary on a wintry Monday Night two seasons ago, it'd be a necessity to be functioning on all cylinders as a cohesive team.

For now, the Packers will have to worry about the trio of Odell Beckham Jr., who seems to carry the angst of a 16-year old, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. Receivers who are coming off of a subpar performance in Minnesota on Monday. But let's be realistic and put the bias aside, that Vikings defense is capable of making any quarterback look silly right now.

Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy wanted to run the ball more, and that's precisely what they did against the Lions. Weakening the Giants' front seven could be useful for the passing game, and given Rodgers' overall historical numbers in this month, that's the last thing a battered New York secondary could handle. 

In perspective, Rodgers' career numbers in October contain his highest rating (110.3), highest completion percentage (67.08%), most passing yards (8,464) and his highest yards per-attempt average (8.71). Not to say he isn't anything to marvel over in any of the other months considering through September, November and December, he's averaging a 102.3 rating and 64 career touchdowns in those months, but October is one step above for the two-time MVP.

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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 (32)

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sheppercheeser's picture

October 06, 2016 at 06:14 am

As a GB fan, I know it's not a good idea for the Packers to peak too soon, but that sure isn't a problem this year. We've got a long way to go, so the hope is to steadily get better, see how the revamped O-Line gels and hope our secondary continues to improve in time for the home stretch.

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NickPerry's picture

October 06, 2016 at 07:15 am

I'd like to see Rodgers play at that level this October but Randell Cobb has got to start performing. Whether he can't get of jams at the line or he's not creating any space between him and the CB, this offense isn't going to take off until Cobb starts producing. As nice as Nelson has come along each week, Batman needs his Robin for the offense to start to resemble 2014. Giving Abby and Monty some time this week might be a good idea too. With all of the injuries in the Giants secondary, getting the other receivers involved would be nice. Get them some reps and build some chemistry and confidence between them and Rodgers We'll need them ALL to get this offense to where we thought they'd be at the beginning of the season.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:00 am

I don't think Cobb is playing as poorly as some think. He has gotten open a quite a bit but either Rodgers has thrown it to someone else or hasn't made good throws to him. Against the Jaguars he would have had a long TD if Rodgers doesn't throw high. Against the Lions he breaks open to the inside where Rodgers tries to hit Nelson in the end zone.

I completely agree about getting Montgomery and Abbrederis more playing time. I liked that they got Davis more time, but would like to see them using all their WR's. Especially with Cook injured now would be a good time to get them more involved.
Also like you said the Giants secondary is beat up. Now would be a good time to spread them out and attack them.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:29 am

I think we'll see a lot of 3 or 4 WR, single back sets against the Giants this week. I really liked the use of the FB early against the Lions, and Ripkowski should be ready to go this week, but I suspect that's not going to be what they do.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 09:58 am

I think we will see more 4 WR sets. Especially with the Giants banged up secondary, and Cook out.

I loved that they started the game with Ripkowski. Lacy simply runs better with a FB in front of him.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2016 at 07:29 am

"momentously steam-rolled into their bye week silenced the critics for now."

Really?

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

October 06, 2016 at 07:47 am

Have you heard any Rodgers slander/criticism at all the way you did after the week two loss? No? Point stands. Not sure what the problem is.

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Hematite's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:23 am

Beating the hapless Lions by 7 at Lambeau should not be described as "stream rolling" into t bye week.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:32 am

The offense did its part. People might get on them for only scoring 3 points in the second half, but in retrospect, the offense did fine. Given that this article is about Rodgers, the issues of the defense in that game really don't fit here.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:39 am

Precisely.

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rdent's picture

October 06, 2016 at 07:55 am

Lmao,I agree ,walking out of Lambeau with a 7 point win is far from" steamrolling," too much caffeine?

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:05 am

There's a reason the sentence says "first half".

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Hematite's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:30 am

The end of the game is what counts and hanging on by your finger nails at the end of the game to get a win doesn't constitute "steam rolling".
It was more like limping into the bye week..

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2016 at 03:24 pm

Exactly. I guess some people want to ignore the second half.

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marpag1's picture

October 06, 2016 at 11:08 am

Regardless of its context, the expression "momentously steam-rolled" makes me giggle.

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Finwiz's picture

October 06, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Tundra....EXACTLY! Steam-rolled.....hilarious. People in Packer land spinning cartwheels about a 7 point win over a crap team. People sure like to delude themselves into thinking everything's roses in GB.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 07:47 am

One of the biggest things for the offense is to stay balanced. Balanced in the run game and passing game.

Against the Lions (especially in the first half) they had a balanced passing attack. They used multiple players and spread the ball around. Not targeting just 1 to 3 people.

Nelson should receive the most targets, and Cobb the 2nd most. Beyond that, it should be pretty even.

The other thing to help the offense the most is to keep the offense from being predictable. To change personnel and formations more often. Getting more speed on the field really helped last week. Hopefully they can continue to find ways to do so. They have a talented group of WR's who all offer something different. So why not use them.

With Cook out, I hope they start to use more 4 WR sets. Using Abbrederis and Cobb in the slots would be a really nice look. I would like to see some 5 WR sets. With Montgomery and Cobb they can use him in the backfield or split out wide. Most secondary's don't have that many skilled players. I would trust our 3rd-5th WR's to be able to beat the opposing teams 4-5th CB.

Now is the time that the offense (McCarthy) needs to start figuring out what is best with the current players on offense and how to use them.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:21 am

Here, Here RC!

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pacman's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:32 am

Never quite understood the need for balance. You go with what the D gives and what works. That might mean balance or it might not.
Nor do I fully agree with Nelson getting most targets, Cobb next - unless your talking about AR's progressions. But if they are doubling Nelson, then he earns his keep just drawing double coverage and the others have to catch the ball or get out of the way (Adams).

Not a MUST WIN game this week but pretty close.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:35 am

Looking forward to seeing how Nelson has progressed through the bye in terms of getting his legs back under him. A beat-up Giants secondary (just like a beat-up Detroit defense) might be good continued therapy for this offense.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 09:59 am

Nelson is a big time key to the offense. The more attention he draws the more open our other WR's will get.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:58 am

When I say balance I am referring to throwing deep, throwing over the middle, throwing short throwing, left, throwing right. If you attack the entire field its very tough for defenses to defend. Yes if you find a weakness you keep attacking it until they show they can defend it, but as a whole keeping balance is a big thing.

Nelson is our best WR. Is it a coincidence that the offense looked the best it has in a long time and Nelson had his first 100 yard receiving game in a long time on the same day? I don't think so. Nelson opens up the offense.

No you don't want to force it to Nelson, but at the same time, he needs to be heavily involved in the offense.

The offense has suffered when Adams is one of the most targeted WR's. Where he actually had one of his best games in a while when he was targeted 2 times. That's another area where balance comes in. Spreading the ball around more keeps the offense balanced and hard to stop.

Very important game.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:34 am

"Most secondary's don't have that many skilled players. I would trust our 3rd-5th WR's to be able to beat the opposing teams 4-5th CB."

The Packers lived on this for years. The fact that they were as dangerous throwing to their #3 or #4 WR as they were to Jennings or Driver made things easier for Jennings and Driver.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:45 am

You know Dobber, I still think they might be almost that good at 3-4 WR, IF THEY BLOODY USED THEM.

Why Adams continues to get snaps in a 3-1-1 package, I'll never understand. Either go 4-1-0 or 5-0-0, or 2-2-1 (with Cook on the field). It's clear that our 3-1-1 package isn't good enough to just run over teams like it was in 2014. Use the good depth we have and things will open up for everyone.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 09:41 am

I agree. They are younger, but they have the talent. They need to be used more.

Adams played one of his best games of late against the Lions. The biggest reason is was his snaps was greatly reduced. He was playing like 80% of the snaps the first 2 games. The last game he played like 40% or something.

With the weapons they have i completely agree. They need to mix up the formations a lot more. Use 4 and 5 WR sets more often. They still have the option to run the ball with Cobb or Montgomery if they choose to.

This offense I believe will be at its best when its mixing and matching its personnel and formations, much like they used to do.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 09:00 am

Exactly... I really don't know why they haven't used more 4 WR sets with the weapons they have.

I would trust our 3rd-7th WR against the opposing 3rd-5th CB. Plus we have enough versatility that if the mix and match personnel they will find the right combination of players.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 06, 2016 at 08:59 am

Well, I think the greatest performances we saw from Packers offense was when Aaron Rodgers was distributing balls all over the available players, making opposing DC to think who will be the guy who will receive the ball next... I remmeber how people was excited when Aaron has, lets say 12 passes completed to 8 different players... Somehow I feel that kind of production and performance will bring back Packers O we all knew in the past!

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2016 at 09:59 am

A key to defeating the Giants will be keeping Eli Manning and his 3WRs off the field. Therefore I am expecting the Packers to take a similar approach to the 1st half of the Lions game. If they achieve similar results (i.e., a big lead) then I will expect time consuming drives in the second half with Lacy leading the way, hopefully with better execution than the second half of the Lions game. I would really like to see the Packers come out firing on all cylinders after their bye week. Thanks, Since '61

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Finwiz's picture

October 06, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Problem is, Giants defense is better than Detroit, so I expect more "three and outs" in this game than against Detroit.

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 06, 2016 at 10:17 am

I forgot about the "shhh" game from Rodgers...

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Rossonero's picture

October 06, 2016 at 12:18 pm

I had a dream that Abbrederis scored a touchdown last night, so hopefully that is a sign of McCarthy opening up the playbook.

Rodgers and Co. must take advantage of a banged up Giants secondary.

From bigblueview.com: "The Giants seem likely to once again be short-handed in the secondary. Cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring) and safeties Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) did not practice. There had been some chatter that Berhe, who missed Monday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, would be cleared from the concussion protocol. Apparently, that has yet to happen.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) dressed but did not play Monday. He was listed as limited. Rashad Jennings, who practiced for the past two weeks but did not play with a thumb injury, was again listed as limited."

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Allan Murphy's picture

October 06, 2016 at 12:26 pm

You can't go bye the # just play the game hoping the D comes back better every thing else will work it's self out Go Pack Go.......

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