Rodgers looks to join Manning, Brady on exclusive list
Let's coin a new phrase: the no-pick hat trick.
What in the playbook of pigskin parlance is that, you ask? If you've been following the Packers, you've seen one in each of the team's past three games.
Aaron Rodgers has an opportunity to establish a franchise best against the Carolina Panthers Sunday at Lambeau Field. If he does, he would join Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as one of three to share what likely is an NFL record.
Which quarterbacks are most successful? We'd be wise to consider those who throw lots of touchdown passes and avoid interceptions.
Rodgers has done that in spades. He's thrown three or more touchdown passes without an interception in each of his past three games.
He's become the face of the no-pick hat trick.
Rodgers flashed this knack in his second start. He threw TD passes — to James Jones, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson — as Green Bay beat host Detroit 48-25 in 2008.
He's delivered an NFL-best four times this season. He got into the act against the Jets in Week 2 with two short scoring passes to Cobb and an 80-yarder to Nelson in Green Bay's 31-24 win.
Two weeks later, he was on a roll at Soldier Field. He fired four TD passes — two each to Nelson and Cobb — to earn a 151.2 passer rating.
His kept his hand hot in the following weeks with three TD passes against both the Vikings and Dolphins. Rookie Davante Adams got into the mix in the blowout of Minnesota and Andrew Quarless caught the game-winner in Miami.
Rodgers has 26 career no-pick hat tricks. It's the most since 2008, ahead of Manning (22), Drew Brees (22) and Brady (20).
Ninety of Rodgers' 203 scoring passes came in those 26 games. Taken together, he's earned a passer rating of 131.7 in those games.
Rodgers' favorite opponent has been the Vikings. He's hit them up six times.
But any team will do. Rodgers has performed his no-pick hat trick against half the teams.
Of course, no quarterback works magic like this alone. Fourteen players have been part of one or more of these outbursts. Most active have been Nelson (21 TDs), Jones (17), Greg Jennings (15) and Cobb (11).
The Packers are 23-3 when Rodgers is on. The three losses were to teams with quarterbacks — Brett Favre (2009), Ben Roethlisberger (2009) and Christian Ponder (2012) — who fashioned their own no-pick hat tricks.
While this type of game has become more common as teams seek to reduce turnovers, authoring three in a row remains noteworthy. Just nine players since 1960 have done so, according to the search mechanism at Pro-Football Reference, and Rodgers is the only one with three separate streaks.
Manning and Brady head the list with four straight games. That's likely the NFL record, as it seems unlikely that a player from the first four decades of pro football would have had five.
Rodgers was in this position in 2011 and 2012. In both cases, he threw enough TD passes to extend his run, but failed to avoid an interception.
Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception in his past 170 attempts, the second-longest streak of his career.
Though the term no-pick hat trick might be new, the act of throwing three or more TD passes without interception is not. Curly Lambeau delivered the Packers' first with three fourth-quarter TD tosses against the Rochester Jeffersons on Oct. 25, 1925. According to the Press-Gazette's play-by-play, he threw no interceptions in Green Bay's 33-13 win.
Brett Favre (30 games), Rodgers (26), Bart Starr (6) and Lynn Dickey (4) head the list of 18 Packers who have accomplished this feat.
The no-pick hat trick
Since 1960, the nine players who threw three or more TD passes (without interception) in three or more consecutive regular-season games.
2011, 2012, 2014
Overall: Green Bay leads 7-4.
At Lambeau Field: tied 2-2.
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (62-31 overall; 1-1 vs. Carolina).
Panthers: Cam Newton (28-25-1; 0-1 vs. Green Bay).
Once a Panther, now a Packer
Linebacker Julius Peppers (2002-09) is a former Panther. Cornerback Jarrett Bush was signed by Carolina as an undrafted free agent in 2006.
Once a Packer, now a Panther
Defensive tackle Colin Cole (2004-08) is a former Packer. Long snapper J.J. Jansen was signed by Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and spent the season on injured reserve.