Quick release, quick decision-making, quick feet.
Aaron Rodgers, a quick study, doesn’t waste time on the field.
Rodgers recorded his 75th regular-season win as a starter Sunday at Lambeau Field. It’s no surprise the veteran quarterback got there faster (108 starts) than anyone in Packers history.
Credit Green Bay’s defense — especially its pass defense — with a huge assist in helping attain the milestone.
Green Bay improved to 5-0 with a hard-fought 24-10 decision over a Rams team that didn’t back down. St. Louis, too, played stout defense and made the Packers earn every yard.
Rodgers’ latest win was different from many of his others. The turnover-averse quarterback threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. He — not Eddie Lacy or James Starks — led the team in rushing.
Rodgers’ passing numbers weren’t as sparkling as they can be. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was a pedestrian 82.8 in part because of the picks.
Yet Green Bay never trailed. Rodgers hit rookie receiver Ty Montgomery with a 31-yard touchdown pass on the team’s opening drive to secure a 7-0 lead.
After St. Louis pulled to within four late in the second quarter, Rodgers connected with veteran receiver James Jones on a 65-yard excursion early in the second half. Jones extended his 6-foot-1 frame to reach the end zone and give the Packers a 21-10 advantage.
Playing with a lead happens more often than not with Rodgers at the throttle. Green Bay has not trailed in 42 of Rodgers’ victories, and has won its last three games in that manner.
Unexpected were three turnovers. This was just the ninth time in 108 starts that Rodgers had to deal with three or more.
Fortunately for the Packers, only one — the questionable interception (it hit the ground) by cornerback Trumaine Johnson — led to Rams points. Greg Zuerlein kicked a 42-yard field goal with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the first half to narrow the gap to 14-10.
Rodgers is 3-6 as a starter when Green Bay turns the ball over three or more times. He has a similar record (3-4) when he leads the team in rushing.
With Lacy (27 yards) and Starks (17) held in check, Rodgers accounted for nearly half the Packers’ 86 rushing yards. He gained 39 on eight carries and picked up three of the team’s four rushing first downs.
Bart Starr and Brett Favre are the other Packers quarterbacks to win 75 or more games. Starr got there in 115 games; Favre needed 110.
Clay Matthews and a swarming defense chipped in to get this win. The Rams’ Nick Foles was hit 12 times and sacked on three other occasions. His final numbers reflected a quarterback under siege.
As an Eagle, Foles beat the Packers 27-13 at Lambeau Field in November 2013. Sunday, it was all he could do to stay upright.
Foles completed 11 of 30 passes for 141 yards and threw four interceptions. His passer rating was an abysmal 19.9 before tossing a 68-yard pass to receiver Stedman Bailey with less than a minute left in the game.
Green Bay’s opponents have compiled a collective passer rating of 62.8. It’s the lowest allowed through five games by the team since the 33.1 of the 1996 club that won Super Bowl XXXI.
The Packers have been especially stingy in the opening two quarters. They have given up 250 net passing yards, the second-lowest total by the team in the 16-game era (245; 1978).
Third down has been well-defended. Green Bay has permitted 10 completions in 22 attempts for 123 yards with two interceptions (25.4 rating) in five first halves of play.
The two interceptions came against the Rams. Safety Micah Hyde grabbed the first and rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins returned the second 45 yards for a 14-0 Packers’ lead.
Clearly the defense deserved this “W” as much as Rodgers. But as so often happens, the quarterback gets the laurels.
Next up for Rodgers: 100 wins. Starr retired with 94 victories; Favre reached 100 in his 153rd start.
The Packers will have to win 25 games or more in their next 44 outings for Rodgers to hit triple-digits faster than his predecessor.
Rodgers is 45-9 as a starter in regular-season games at home. At the time of their 75th wins, Starr was 38-17-2 (22-8-2 at Lambeau Field) and Favre was 49-6 (42-4).
Eric Goska is a Packers historian. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just win, baby!
Quarterbacks who have won 65 or more regular-season games since 2008.
Quarterback ... W ... L ... Pct.
Peyton Manning ... 79 ... 22 ... .782
Tom Brady ... 78 ... 23 ... .772
Aaron Rodgers ... 75 ... 33 ... .694
Joe Flacco ... 73 ... 44 ... .624
Drew Brees ... 71 ... 44 ... .617
Matt Ryan ... 71 ... 44 ... .617
Ben Roethlisberger ... 69 ... 37 ... .651
Philip Rivers ... 65 ... 52 ... .556