Rodgers sets team mark with 5 TDs in 18 pass attempts
Cecil Isbell was the first. Aaron Rodgers is the fastest.
Rodgers unleashed the third five-touchdown passing performance of his career Sunday night at Lambeau Field. He became the first Packer to toss five scoring passes in the first half of a game, and he needed fewer attempts to reach that milestone than any player in team history.
Rodgers threw six first-half TDs. But we'll stick with his first five, because that number isn't so out of this world as to not invite comparison.
Green Bay jumped on Chicago early, mounting a 42-0 halftime lead on the way to a 55-14 rout. It was the biggest halftime deficit ever faced by the Bears in the rivalry.
Rodgers has thrown five touchdown passes before. He did it against the Bears three years ago on Christmas Day, and he launched six against the Texans on Oct. 14, 2012.
But never has his smoking gun been more deadly so early. He needed just 18 attempts to get to five, breaking by three the record established by Isbell in 1942 and tied by Lynn Dickey in 1981.
Isbell was the first Packer to throw five. On Nov. 1, 1942, he whipped three scoring passes to end Don Hutson and two to running back Andy Uram.
His first three scores came on successive throws. He connected with Hutson for 38 yards on his sixth throw, hit him for 73 on his next attempt, then found Uram for 64 on his eighth pass attempt.
Isbell launched his final two TDs on his 20th and 21st attempts. Green Bay easily beat the Cardinals 55-24.
Nearly 40 years later, Dickey equaled the speed of Isbell. He got to five on 21 attempts in defeating the Saints 35-7 on Dec. 13, 1981.
Dickey's targets were running back Gerry Ellis, receivers John Jefferson and James Lofton and tight end Paul Coffman. Dickey had but two incompletions in the rout of New Orleans.
Sunday night, Rodgers bested them both. He fired five TD passes in a span of just more than 18 1/2 minutes in the first and second quarters.
His first went to Brandon Bostick with 6 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first quarter. His 1-yard dart to the tight end was his eighth attempt, and it capped a 12 play, 71-yard drive to put Green Bay up 7-0.
Micah Hyde's first career interception gave Rodgers his second opportunity. No. 12 bought time by hustling away from defensive end Willie Young, then fired to tight end Andrew Quarless on his 10th throw for a 14-0 lead with 3:53 to go in the opening period.
Rodgers had his eye downfield the next time out. Facing third-and-11 from his 27-yard line, he zipped a pass to Jordy Nelson. The receiver put a move on safety Brock Vereen then raced the remaining 40 yards to turn Rodgers' 12th attempt into a TD and a 21-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
The duo again worked magic on Green Bay's fourth possession. No. 12 rolled right, then let it fly for Nelson in the end zone. Nelson tapped both feet down to turn Rodgers' 15th attempt into touchdown No. 4 and a 28-0 advantage.
Nearly the entire offense seemingly threw a block on the next score. Rodgers flipped a short pass to Eddie Lacy who, with center Corey Linsley and guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton leading the way early and Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams creating interference late, went the distance on a 56-yard play.
The throw was just the 18th of the game for Rodgers. It came with 4:48 left in the quarter.
In throwing five touchdown passes, Rodgers joined Brett Favre as the only Packers to do so on three occasions. Favre had five against the Bears (1995), Vikings (1997) and Panthers (1998).
But Rodgers wasn't satisfied with five. He found Cobb in the end zone on his 24th throw to extend Green Bay's lead to 42-0.