Stat Pack: Rodgers feeling the heat
Pro Football Focus uses a complex system to analyze every NFL player involved in every snap in every game and assigns a grade based on how he performed on that play, with each position having its own set of grading guidelines. Plus/minus scores are given in 0.5 increments and a small normalization factor is applied to make 0.0 the average grade for a game or season. To learn more, visit www.profootballfocus.com
1. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had his second straight negative game grade (-0.8) and his sixth of the season. He finished with an overall season grade of 80.4, which ranked 12th among NFL quarterbacks. Not surprisingly given the Packers’ porous offensive line, Rodgers often was forced to pass under pressure, but responded by throwing 12 touchdown passes while being pressured, the second-highest NFL total in a season since 2007. Rodgers earned his best grade in the season opener at Chicago (+7.8); his worst grade came at Arizona (-2.8).
2. With left tackle David Bakhtiari (+8.9 pass-blocking grade this season) still sidelined by an ankle injury, the Packers inserted Lane Taylor into the lineup at left guard and shifted Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton over into Bakhtiari’s spot. The move yielded mixed results: Sitton got saddled with a -2.8 grade after being beaten for two sacks and a forced fumble by Vikings edge rusher Everson Griffen (+3.5), but Taylor performed well (+2.7, and a team-best +2.6 as a run blocker) and enabled the Packers to avoid using backup tackle Don Barclay after his awful outing (four sacks allowed) against the Cardinals.
3. Clay Matthews is credited with revitalizing the Packers’ defense by shifting over to inside linebacker during the middle of the 2014 season, and he definitely fills a need there. But he belongs outside. Against the Vikings, Matthews (-0.5 overall grade) was Green Bay’s most efficient pass rusher with a sack and four quarterback hurries (+2.3 pass-rushing grade). But he struggled to get off blocks at the second level vs. the run (-1.2 run-defense grade). For the season, Matthews finished with a +64.0 overall grade, ranking only 43rd among NFL inside linebackers.