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Eric Goska column: Rodgers sets winning pace

Dec. 7, 2012
 
GPG_ES_Packers vs. Vikings_12.2.12
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers notched his 49th career victory last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

50 Wins Made Before Turning Gray

Number of starts needed by Packers quarterbacks to reach their 50th regular-season victory.

No.QBDateOpp.
75 *Aaron RodgersDec. 9, 2012Lions
77Brett FavreDec. 22, 1996Vikings
82Bart StarrNov. 29, 1964Cowboys

* Should the Packers defeat Detroit Sunday night.

More

He’s 29 going on 50.

Aaron Rodgers enjoyed his 29th birthday by fending off the Minnesota Vikings 23-14 last Sunday.

Rodgers could extend the celebration by claiming his 50th regular-season win in his 75th regular-season start this Sunday if he and the Packers can defeat the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

This is the fifth season Rodgers has been Green Bay’s starting quarterback. He’s been such a good fit it sometimes seems he’s been in the role much longer.

Rodgers’ early career was one of waiting. On draft day 2005, he idled until the Packers finally selected him with the 24th pick overall. Then, for three years, he served as understudy to one of the most popular quarterbacks in the history of the game.

Since taking over as starter in 2008, Rodgers has been doing anything but sitting still. Last season, he became the fifth quickest to 100 touchdown passes in NFL history. This year, he required far fewer attempts than any player to create a gap of 100 between the number of TD passes and interceptions he’s thrown.

Should he get win No. 50 against the Lions, he will do so faster than the two other Packers quarterbacks (Bart Starr and Brett Favre) before him.

Rodgers, obviously, has been on the go. But what, exactly, has he been up to?

Since 2008, the California native has been the highest-rated passer (105.0) in the league. He and Tom Brady (103.6) are the only two with a rating above 100 (minimum 500 attempts).

Rodgers ranks high in other categories. He’s fifth in attempts (2,468) behind Drew Brees (2,956), Eli Manning (2,543), Philip Rivers (2,511) and Matt Ryan (2,484). He’s third in yards (20,161) trailing Brees (23,227) and Rivers (20,566). With 160 touchdown passes, he’s second only to Brees (178).

There’s more. One glance at the Packers Dope Sheet (a weekly publication to aid the media in its coverage of the team) reveals there’s plenty more.

Since 2008, Rodgers’ average per attempt (8.17) is second to that of Rivers (8.19). The yards he’s rushed for (1,338) are more than any quarterback other than Michael Vick (1,667). His 170 completions of 25 or more yards rank second to the 178 of Brees.

And that’s only the tip of a mind-boggling array of statistics. But what about the bottom line: winning?

Rodgers is among the leaders there as well. His 49 wins are fourth most in the regular season since 2008. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (54 wins), Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (53) and Brees (50) occupy the top three spots.

In winning nearly two-thirds of the games he starts, Rodgers has shown a knack for throwing multiple touchdown passes and compiling passer ratings of better than 100. He has had 29 games in which he has thrown at least three touchdown passes, and his record in those contests is 24-5 (.828). He’s produced a triple-digit passer rating in 43 of 74 starts, and his record in those games is 36-7 (.837).

By winning so often, Rodgers is hewing out a spot next to Starr and Favre on the Packers’ Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks. Starr was the first to win 50 regular-season games, doing so against the Cowboys in 1964, his 82nd start. Favre got there in the 1996 season finale, the 77th time he opened at quarterback.

Lynn Dickey, with 43 regular-season wins, is the fourth-winningest quarterback in team annals.

Both Starr and Favre went from victory No. 49 to victory No. 50 without a loss in between. In the Lions, Rodgers faces a team he has defeated seven times, but that, of course, guarantees nothing.

Should Detroit win for the first time in 21 years on Wisconsin soil, Rodgers will regroup, then head back to work. It’s what he does, and he does it better than most.

Regular-season series

Overall: Packers lead 92-65-7.

At Lambeau Field: Green Bay leads 28-10-3.

Starting quarterbacks

Packers: Aaron Rodgers (49-25 overall; 7-1 vs. Detroit).

Lions: Matthew Stafford (17-24; 0-4 vs. Green Bay).

Once a Lion, now a Packer

There are no former Lions on the Packers’ roster.

Once a Packer, now a Lion

Cornerback Pat Lee (2008-11) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (2004-07) are former Packers.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
573 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
853 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1011 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1268 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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