By Eric Goska
|Aaron Rodgers lost for the 10th time against the Vikings Sunday.|
(screenshot from NFL Game Pass)
Leave it to the Minnesota Vikings.
Aaron Rodgers posted one of the highest passer ratings of his career yet still came up short at U.S. Bank Stadium. Even with a second-half that qualified as perfect, the Packers quarterback could do nothing more than watch as Minnesota prevailed 34-31 on the game’s final play.
Rodgers and efficiency have gone hand-in-hand for years. In 2010, his third season as a starter, the sharpshooter became the highest-rated passer in NFL history.
Though since surpassed by Patrick Mahomes (106.3) and Deshaun Watson (104.5), Rodgers (104.1) remains in third place. He is one of just four players – Russell Wilson is the fourth – to have a career mark above 100.
Allow Rodgers to post a 110 or more in a game and it’s usually lights out. According to Pro Football Reference, prior to Sunday, Rodgers had been 71-8 (.899) in the regular season when surpassing that number (minimum 15 pass attempts).
Care to guess which Packers opponent bucked that trend most often? The Vikings, of course, who triumphed for a fourth time Sunday despite another 110-plus from No. 12.
Statistically, Rodgers shined. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns.
His rating of 148.4 was the sixth-highest of his career. In 199 previous starts, he had been untouchable (31-0) when clocking in above 132.
For as high as he finished, Rodgers had to work through a tough first half. He twice missed Marquez Valdes-Scantling on deep routes. He was almost picked by cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a throw intended for Davante Adams. Three times he chucked the ball away to avoid pressure.
In the opening two quarters, Rodgers completed 13 of 22 passes for 188 yards, a touchdown and a rating of 102.1. The TD arrived on his final throw of the half, a 25-yard dart to tight end Josiah Deguara that cut the Vikings’ lead to 16-10.
That connection was a preview of coming attractions.
In the second half, Rodgers directed three scoring drives and capped each with a TD throw. A 10-yarder to Adams pulled Green Bay to 17-23 late in the third quarter, an 18-yarder to Adams put the Packers up 24-23 midway through the final period and a 75-yard bomb to Valdes-Scantling knotted the score at 31 with two minutes, eight seconds remaining.
Rodgers's lone second-half incompletion occurred on the play before Adams’ second touchdown. With safety Harrison Smith draped around him, Rodgers threw into the turf with Randall Cobb the closest to the ball.
In completing 10 of 11 passes for 197 yards and three scores after the break, Rodgers maxed out with a passer rating of 158.3. It was the 10th time he has thrown three TDs in the second half of a game without an interception.
Five players have chalked up a perfect second-half passer ratings (minimum 10 attempts) in Packers history. Rodgers became the first to do so in a losing cause.
From Tobin Rote to Bart Starr to Brett Favre and Matt Flynn, Green Bay had always won when buoyed by such a strong second-half showing. And the Packers might have continued that run had Darnell Savage hung on to an interception just before the two-minute warning.
But he didn’t and the Packers went down with him. Minnesota ensured Rodgers’ afternoon was over when it used seven plays and Greg Joseph’s 29-yard field goal to burn up the remaining time.
Since 1932, the 5 Packers passers who compiled second-half passer ratings of 158.3 (minimum 10 attempts).
Nov. 21, 2021 Aaron Rodgers 11-10-197-3 Vikings GB lost, 31-34
Oct. 20, 2019 Aaron Rodgers 12-10-228-2 Raiders GB won, 42-24
Dec. 23, 2012 Aaron Rodgers 13-12-190-2 Titans GB won, 55-7
Jan. 1, 2012 Matt Flynn 15-12-200-3 Lions GB won, 45-41
Dec. 26, 2010 Aaron Rodgers 14-11-188-2 Giants GB won, 45-17
Dec. 5, 2010 Aaron Rodgers 10-9-142-2 49ers GB won, 34-16
Nov. 11, 2007 Brett Favre 15-13-196-3 Vikings GB won, 34-0
Nov. 4, 2007 Brett Favre 15-12-207-2 Chiefs GB won, 33-22
Nov. 3, 1996 Brett Favre 12-10-152-2 Lions GB won, 28-18
Sept. 19, 1965 Bart Starr 11-9-150-2 Steelers GB won, 41-9
Dec. 4, 1960 Bart Starr 10-9-148-2 Bears GB won, 41-13
Oct. 17, 1954 Tobin Rote *16-13-221-2 Rams GB won, 35-17