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Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers joins elite group

Nov. 28, 2010
 
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws incomplete to Donald Driver on a fourth-down play against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter of the game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It was one of only 9 incompletions on the day for Rodgers and 13 combined misfires by Rodgers and Atlanta counterpart Matt Ryan.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws incomplete to Donald Driver on a fourth-down play against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter of the game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It was one of only 9 incompletions on the day for Rodgers and 13 combined misfires by Rodgers and Atlanta counterpart Matt Ryan. / Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

On target

The seven regular-season Packers games in which both teams combined for a completion percentage of 75 percent or better.

Pct. Date Participants (Att-Com)
79.4 Nov. 28, 2010 GB (35-26); Falcons (28-24)
78.6 Dec. 13, 1981 GB (21-19); Saints (21-14)
78.1 Oct. 19, 1986 GB (27-21); Browns (37-29)
76.5 Sept. 4, 1983 GB (34-30); Oilers (34-22)
76.5 Oct. 23, 2005 GB (37-29); Vikings (31-23)
76.4 Nov. 16, 1997 GB (25-18); Colts (30-24)
75.0 Sept. 17, 1989 GB (32-25); Saints (32-23)

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Aaron Rodgers chose the most accurate aerial shootout in Green Bay Packers history to officially become one of the highest-rated passers in NFL regular-season history.

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Too bad rating points donít translate to the scoreboard.

Rodgers posted his third consecutive triple-digit passer rating of November in keeping the Packers within striking distance of the soaring Falcons for much of Sunday afternoon. But precision of the arm gave way to accuracy of the leg as Atlanta downed Green Bay 20-17 on Matt Bryantís 47-yard field goal with 9 seconds left at the Georgia Dome.

Two teams have never been more on target in a regular-season game involving the Packers. Rodgers and his Atlanta counterpart, Matt Ryan, combined to complete nearly 80 percent of their passes and break a record that had stood for nearly 30 years.

Ryan had the more deadly aim. In improving to 19-1 as a starter at home, Ryan completed 24 of 28 passes (85.7 percent) for 197 yards and a touchdown.

The third-year pro never suffered back-to-back incompletions. Three of his failed connections occurred in his first nine attempts.

After those early misfires, Ryan reeled off 18 straight completions. The streak started with a 16-yard toss to fullback Ovie Mughelli late in the second quarter and didnít end until his final throw came with 13 seconds left.

Nestled among those completions was Ryanís only fourth-down attempt. That pass, to tight end Tony Gonzalez, may have been ruled incomplete had the Packers challenged it. But Green Bay didnít and five plays later Ryan hooked up with Gonzalez on a 4-yard touchdown pass that put Atlanta up 10-3.

Ryanís run broke Joe Montanaís record against the Packers. The Hall of Famer opened with 17 consecutive successes in a 23-12 San Francisco victory at Lambeau Field in 1987.

Rodgers, too, hit the bullís-eye often. He completed 26 of 35 attempts (74.3 percent) for 344 yards and a score.

Only twice did he misfire on consecutive throws, both times in the fourth quarter. He failed to find receiver James Jones in the end zone with 9:20 to go and followed with a fourth-down pass intended for Donald Driver that skipped off the turf.

On Green Bayís next series, he followed up misses to Jones and Brandon Jackson with his most resourceful effort of the afternoon. In danger of being sacked at the Atlanta 21, Rodgers flipped a shovel pass to Jones for 18 yards on fourth down. That set up a 10-yard strike to Jordy Nelson that tied the score 17-17 with 56 seconds remaining.

Combined, Ryan and Rodgers completed 79.4 percent of their passes. That percentage broke the record of 78.6 percent set by Lynn Dickey and the Saintsí Archie Manning and Dave Wilson in the Packersí 35-7 rout on Dec. 13, 1981.

Rodgerís accuracy helped him to a 114.5 passer rating. Ryan wasnít far behind at 107.9.

With 35 throws, Rodgers surpassed 1,500 career attempts, the minimum needed for inclusion on the leagueís all-time list of highest rated passers. At gameís end, Rodgers (97.28 career rating) was No. 1 if only for a few hours as San Diegoís Philip Rivers (97.34) reclaimed the top spot in a 36-14 win at Indianapolis in the night game.

Extra points

Through the air or on the ground, Rodgers was productive. The nimble-footed quarterback led the Packers with 51 yards rushing on 12 carries securing all but one of Green Bayís 5 rushing first downs. Not since Tobin Rote rushed 15 times for 63 yards in a 24-21 victory over the Chicago Cardinals on Dec. 2, 1956 had a Green Bay quarterback carried a dozen or more times in a game.

By holding Atlanta scoreless in the third quarter, the Packers ran to eight their string of third and fourth quarters in which they held the opposition without a point. The streak started when the Vikings failed to score in the final 15 minutes at Lambeau Field on Oct. 24. In subsequent games, neither the Jets, Cowboys nor the Vikings at the Metrodome managed second-half points. The Falcons got 10 fourth-quarter points to end the string, which was the longest by Green Bay since 1940.

Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of "Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness," a statistical history of the Packers. E-mail him at aegoska@sbcglobal.net.

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