Make a bold statement and people will listen.
Turn those words into reality and the proclamation can outlive its author.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ensured his late November claim will go down in Packers’ lore. The face of the franchise threw four touchdown passes to lead Green Bay past Detroit 31-24 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The win was the Packers’ sixth in a row. Along with the victory came the NFC North title and the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs.
A month-and-a-half ago, Green Bay looked anything but postseason worthy. On Nov. 20, the team dropped its fourth consecutive game, 42-24 to Washington at FedEx Field, to fall to 4-6 on the season.
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“I feel like we can run the table, I really do,” Rodgers declared to the surprise of many.
That surprise has morphed into hopeful excitement. The Packers won six in a row to close the regular season for the first time in 75 years.
Rodgers backed his talk with excellent play on the field. If the league MVP were chosen based on the final six games, Rodgers would be the odds-on favorite to win.
Even before galvanizing his teammates, the veteran signal caller was in the midst of a respectable season. In the weeks that followed, he upped his play to the point that it’s worth taking a look at his before and after numbers in three categories.
Through 10 games, Rodgers' rating on third down was 102.4. He threw for 11 touchdowns with five interceptions.
In the final six games, his rating was a league-best 146.5. He threw five TD passes and was not intercepted.
His rating for the season was 116.2. That was good for second place behind Tom Brady (127.7).
Rodgers' favorite third-down targets were Randall Cobb (22 catches) and Jordy Nelson (19). He connected with 10 different receivers on third down.
Rodgers has compiled a third-down rating of better than 100 in seven of his nine seasons as a starter. He led the league in 2009 (133.5), 2012 (110.8) and 2014 (121.7).
Through 10 games, Rodgers' rating in the fourth quarter was 105.6. He threw for eight touchdowns with two interceptions.
In the final six games, his rating was a league-best 134.4. He threw four TD passes and was not intercepted.
His rating for the season was 114.4, which led the NFL. He edged Ben Roethlisberger, who took second at 113.9.
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Rodgers' favorite fourth-quarter targets were Nelson (21 catches) and Davante Adams (18). He connected with 11 different receivers in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers has compiled a fourth-quarter rating of better than 100 in six of his nine seasons as a starter. He led the league in 2011 (114.3), 2013 (114.0) and in 2016.
Through 10 games, Rodgers' rating in the red zone was 107.7. He threw for 21 touchdowns and no interceptions.
In the final six games, his rating was 107.5. He threw 10 TD passes and was not intercepted.
His rating for the season was 107.6. That was only good for ninth place, but he led the league with 31 red-zone touchdown passes, three more than second-place Drew Brees.
Rodgers' favorite red-zone targets were Nelson (19 catches) and Adams (12). He connected with 11 different receivers in the red zone.
Rodgers has compiled a red-zone rating of better than 100 in seven of his nine seasons as a starter. He never has led the league, coming closest in 2012 when his rating of 109.9 trailed only the 112.7 of Drew Brees.
Best six-game finish in team history
After that 18-point loss at Washington, Rodgers went on a tear. In Games 11-16, his passer ratings were 116.7, 108.9, 150.8, 87.0, 136.6 and 126.0.
His overall rating for the final six games was an NFL-best 121.0. He and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (120.8) were the only two passers with a rating above 105 for that period.
Rodgers’ rating down the stretch was the best in team history for any quarterback in the final six regular-season games. Brett Favre compiled the previous high of 117.2 in 1995 when he and the Packers captured the team’s first division title in 23 years.
Since the 16-game schedule was introduced in 1978, Green Bay has started 4-6 six times. Twice the team finished 9-7 and three times it wound up 8-8.
This season was the first in which the team opened 4-6 and then won six straight to reach the playoffs. It was also the first time their quarterback publicly declared the team could run the table and then backed his words with a final flourish that won’t soon be forgotten.
pro-football-reference.com was used as a source for this article.
Highest passer ratings in Packers history over the course of the final six regular-season games (minimum 84 pass attempts).
Rate Player Year
121.0 Aaron Rodgers 2016
117.2 Brett Favre 1995
114.4 Aaron Rodgers 2010
110.3 Aaron Rodgers 2011
109.3 Aaron Rodgers 2012
107.2 Bart Starr 1963
106.3 Brett Favre 1997
104.3 Aaron Rodgers 2009