Rodgers maintains QB edge at Lambeau

Eric Goska
For Press-Gazette Media
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady exchange words after Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21.

One week shy of his 50th regular-season start at Lambeau Field, Aaron Rodgers again outpointed the opposing quarterback on the turf he has come to dominate.

This time the quarterback he outdueled had some serious street cred.

In a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best quarterbacks in the game, Rodgers outperformed Tom Brady statistically to allow Green Bay to pull out a 26-21 win over the Patriots at Lambeau Field. The victory keeps the Packers (6-0) unbeaten at home.

With Rodgers at the helm, the Packers often go into games with a decided edge at quarterback. Factor in the advantage of playing on the Frozen Tundra and it is no surprise that in recent years, Green Bay has assembled a home-field advantage reminiscent of its Super Bowl teams of two decades ago.

Prior to facing the Patriots, Rodgers had delivered 39 victories in 48 regular-season starts at Lambeau Field. He had won 33 of his last 36 dating to early 2009.

For Rodgers, finishing on top both statistically and literally began in his first outing as a starter. In the 2008 opener, he led Green Bay to a 24-19 triumph over the Vikings while trumping Tarvaris Jackson's 59.0 passer rating with a 115.5 of his own.

In the ensuing years, that ruling of the air waves became the norm. Sunday, Rodgers finished with a higher passer rating than the opposing starter for a 42nd time.

Often the competition wasn't close. Rodgers prevailed by more than 50 points 20 times. He came out on top by more than 60 points on 15 occasions.

This season, he established a personal best. In helming a 42-10 victory over the Vikings on Oct. 2, Rodgers (138.7) bested Christian Ponder (45.8) by an astonishing 92.9 points.

But Christian Ponder is no Tom Brady. Brady has won three Super Bowls, and his regular-season record as a starter heading into Sunday's game was a lights-out 157-45 (.777).

Brady vs. Rodgers lived up to the hype. Though Green Bay never trailed, the outcome was not decided until Rodgers' final completion to Randall Cobb allowed Green Bay to run out the clock.

For the record, Brady completed 22 of 35 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns (102.7 rating). Rogers hit on 24 of 38 throws for 368 yards and two scores (112.6).

The difference between those ratings (9.9) was the smallest between starting quarterbacks at Lambeau Field this year.

Rodgers had a better first-half rating (132.9) than Brady (124.0). More importantly, he directed five drives that all resulted in points as Green Bay went up 23-14 at the break.

Rodgers passed for 282 yards in opening 30 minutes to 148 for Brady. That total was the third highest of Rodgers' career.

Six times in the opening two quarters Rodgers landed completions that stretched more than 25 yards. Brady completed two.

Three of the long gains came on third down. And it was here that Green Bay's No. 12 really had it over New England's No. 12.

Rodgers completed 10 of 13 passes for 184 yards and a TD (143.9 rating). He pegged nine in a row after two initial incompletions.

Among his throws were tosses of 45 yards to Davante Adams and 33 yards to Cobb. A 45-yard TD to Jordy Nelson with 14 seconds left in the half pushed Green Bay's lead to nine points.

Adams, Cobb and Nelson all gained yards after the catch. Rodgers didn't work his magic alone.

Rogers' streak on third down ended with a drop by Adams at the New England 3-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. The rookie likely would have scored, but Green Bay had to settle for a 28-yard Mason Crosby field goal and a 26-21 lead.

Brady had a lighter work load on third down. He went 5-of-7 for 35 yards with a TD (122.0). He also converted a fourth down with a 5-yard pass to Julian Edelman on New England's final drive.

Rodgers rating this season at Lambeau Field is an amazing 134.4. It's higher than his record-setting performance (128.5) of 2011.

Pointedly Higher

How Aaron Rodgers has stacked up against the six quarterbacks to start for the opposition at Lambeau Field this season.

Diff. GB QB (Rate) Opp. QB (Rate)

+45.7 Rodgers (109.8) G. Smith (64.1)

+92.9 Rodgers (138.7) C. Ponder (45.8)

+81.9 Rodgers (154.5) C. Newton (72.6)

+77.0 Rodgers (145.8) J. Cutler (68.8)

+40.0 Rodgers (120.3) M. Sanchez (80.3)

+9.9 Rodgers (112.6) T. Brady (102.7)

— aegoska@sbcglobal.net

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