Aaron Rodgers was phenomenal again in the Green Bay Packers‘ Week 13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and we take a look at his very best throws from the victory.
Another win, another fantastic offensive performance and another positive performance for Aaron Rodgers’s MVP campaign. That was the total package in Week 13, which saw the Packers handle the Eagles to improve to 9-3 on the season.
As for that MVP case, it’s getting stronger by the week for Rodgers, who continues to perform as if it’s 2011 all over again. It doesn’t look quite the same as that historic season, given his lessened mobility and the different offense, but there’s a strong case to be made that once again he’s playing like the best quarterback in the NFL.
He delivered the goods in numerous ways against the Eagles last Sunday, shredding a porous defense with precision underneath and over the top, moving the offense in big chunks and letting the receivers make plays after the catch when necessary. Rodgers didn’t have otherworldly numbers in the win, but his highlights include some of his best passes of the whole season.
Oh, and he made NFL history in the process, too.
Not every throw can make a list of just five, and we don’t include incomplete passes, even ones that were well-thrown. To let us know what throw was your favorite or which one missed the list, feel free to tweet them to Game On Wisconsin or to yours truly.
3Q: Davante Adams, 9 yards, TD
We start this week with history.
In over 100 years of NFL football, there are just seven quarterbacks who have thrown 400 touchdown passes. Aaron Rodgers reached that mark faster than any of them, taking just 193 games to reach that incredible plateau. In fairness, it was Adams who did most of the work here, making sure he fought his way to the end zone to get his quarterback that historic score. Not the world’s most amazing throw, but when you reach a milestone like 400 touchdown passes it has to be the lead story.
Adams knew history was up for grabs on Sunday, and he was committed to making sure Rodgers reached the mark against the Eagles.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) December 7, 2020
3Q: Davante Adams, 42 yards
While the third-quarter touchdown pass was the most iconic play of the day, the most impressive came earlier in the period.
Obviously, Adams deserves a mass quantity of credit for making this catch between two close defenders. Rodgers couldn’t even believe his favorite target made the play. That’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Adams, making crazy plays against any coverage, any time. But Rodgers made a great throw here as well, not just threading it between a pair of Eagles defensive backs but to get it there in general. Watch the delivery in particular on this throw.
The protection holds up well so he’s got time, and he uncorks a semi-sidearm throw from eight yards deep in the end zone to nearly the 40-yard line. That’s a long throw with an unorthodox delivery, but it works perfectly to connect on the deep crosser.
1Q: Davante Adams, 1 yard, TD
Let’s just get the entirety of Adams’s part of the program out of the way early.
One-on-one matchup for Adams, which means the ball is absolutely going in that direction. The Packers run a simple switch outside, with Adams getting open behind the crossing Nickell Robey-Coleman (31) and in front of Darius Slay (24), the latter of whom WR1 bullied all game. From there it’s all about the quarterback placing this ball properly and he does exactly that. Get it up and away so only the receiver can make the play on it. Great goal line execution.
2Q: Robert Tonyan, 25 yards, TD
This next touchdown pass features Tonyan with a million yards of space (felt that way, anyway), but Rodgers’s escapability is what makes it all work.
Philadelphia bluffs with a blitz before just bringing four here. Malik Jackson (97) is able to get a swipe in at Rodgers’s leg as he’s down on the ground, but QB1 is able to shake free and keep the play alive. Rodgers keeps his eyes up and watches everything unfold in front of him, so he’s able to connect deep with Tonyan for the touchdown. It definitely helps to have a wide-open target, which Rodgers has seen consistently this year, but it was hard to even get the throw off on this one.
3Q: Allen Lazard, 31 yards
And to wrap things up this week, we’ve got a textbook, gorgeous deep ball from Rodgers to Lazard.
Simply put, it’s beautiful. Watch how quickly Rodgers snaps his eys to the right side of the field. He knows he’s got a one on one outside the numbers with safety help about three zip codes away. Rodgers picks that kind of matchup apart easily. He delivers an absolute strike here, generating plenty of power behind the throw with his signature compact motion, getting enough touch on it, too, to drop the ball right into Lazard’s bread basket. And a shout out to Lazard, too, who toasted Avonte Maddox (29) on his release, beating him downfield and opening up a big window for the pass.
Is Aaron Rodgers the NFL MVP this season? We’ll find out in less than two months’ time, but you get the feeling right now that he holds a slight lead on Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. No. 12 is playing out of his mind right now, and some of the throws this week (and throughout the whole season) were so pristine that it makes you wonder how anyone ever doubted that he still had true greatness in him.
The awards discussion will unfold with plenty of hot takes and deliberation, as it always does. All Rodgers can do is continue to torch defenses and turn back the clock. He’s playing like it’s 2011 again, although the whole franchise has its eyes set on a 2010 reprisal.