By the time Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran off the field after a 25-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday night, he'd joined an elite group by throwing his 100th touchdown pass in in his 59th career game. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Flooring it to 100
The 10 NFL quarterbacks who threw their first 100 TD passes in the fewest number of regular-season games.
No. Player Year
44 Dan Marino 1986
50 Kurt Warner 2002
53 Johnny Unitas 1960
56 Peyton Manning 2001
59 Aaron Rodgers 2011
59 Carson Palmer 2007
62 Brett Favre 1995
62 Daunte Culpepper 2004
65 Dave Krieg 1986
65 Jim Everett 1990
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been firing touchdown passes at a pace that ranks with the best of all time.
It took a while Sunday night for Rodgers to hit 100, but get there he did, connecting with James Jones and Greg Jennings for scores in Green Bay’s come-from-behind 25-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Cool and efficient, Rodgers has become well known for avoiding interceptions and generating triple-digit passer ratings. He did both again in the Georgia Dome.
But it’s time to give Rodgers credit for the many scoring strikes he has thrown. Rodgers got No. 100 in just his 59th regular-season game. Only four players in NFL history did so faster.
Atlanta didn’t make it easy. The Falcons kept the Packers out of the end zone in the first two quarters. Green Bay had only three possessions in that time, something that has happened to them just four times in the opening half of a game since 1954.
An injury to starting left tackle Chad Clifton on the Packers’ second drive only made matters worse. With the 12-year veteran out with what was reported as a hamstring injury, Rodgers was dumped twice to end that drive.
Undaunted, Rodgers came back to complete five straight passes on the team’s third possession – including one with Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud hanging on his legs – to reach the Atlanta 7-yard line. But tight end Jermichael Finley dropped a third down bullet from Rodgers with 13 seconds left and Green Bay settled for Mason Crosby’s second field goal and a 14-6 deficit at halftime.
Rodgers launched TD throw No. 100 with just under 4 minutes left in the third quarter. With cornerback Kelvin Hayden coming on a blitz, Rodgers lofted a deep throw to Jones who got behind DeCoud for a 70-yard score.
Jennings then ensured Rodgers got a second TD pass. The wide receiver took a short throw, zipped across nearly the entire width of the field before turning upfield and stretching the ball across the goal line as his airborne body headed out of bounds.
Rodgers became just the fourth Packers quarterback to throw 100 TD passes. The other members of that exclusive group are Brett Favre (442), Bart Starr (152) and Lynn Dickey (133).
Of those four, Rodgers got there quickest. Favre hit 100 in his 60th game as a Packer, while Dickey (85) and Starr (129) were less hurried.
Rodgers has spread the scoring wealth among 14 players. Jennings (29 TDs), Donald Driver (16), James Jones (12) and Jermichael Finley (10) have been his favorite targets.
As expected, more of Rodgers’ scoring passes have come at home (55) than on the road (46). He’s thrown at least one at Lambeau Field in 25 consecutive games to tie a team record set by Favre from 1992 to 1996.
Rodgers had to wait to get his chance at launching throws downfield. Drafted in the first round in 2005, he played in only seven games during his first three years and threw just 59 passes. Only one of those attempts – an 11-yarder to Greg Jennings in Dallas on Nov. 29, 2007 – reached the end zone.
Once he became the starter in 2008, Rodgers’ numbers picked up. He needed 34 games to reach 50 TD passes and another 25 to get his second 50.
That rate of speed has helped make Rodgers one of the best quarterbacks in the game today. It’s a swiftness that perhaps even an ex-quarterback residing in Mississippi might not find fault with.
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. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.