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Air and Space: JayRod I is a laugher

9/17/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the runaway winner of JayRod I, and it wasn’t just because Chicago’s Jay Cutler threw four interceptions as part of his Lambeau Field meltdown. Rodgers bested Cutler in two important measures of clutch play: Fourth-quarter performance and passer rating on third and fourth downs.

Rodgers threw the game-winning 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s 21-15 Packers victory. Here is the breakdown of each player’s performance, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

Cutler struggled throughout the game on third and fourth downs, completing only three of 11 passes. Rodgers completed eight of 13. Again, the full breakdown:

Volumes have already been written on Cutler’s performance and comportment both on the field and in his postgame news conference, in which he apparently offended some reporters and former NFL coaches with his nonchalant answers. As David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wrote, Cutler’s personal interaction with reporters is largely irrelevant.

Here is what I consider important: Did Cutler’s emotional frenzy catch up to him during the game? There’s nothing wrong with being competitive, but stomping around the field and engaging opponents physically and verbally -- as he did with Packers linebacker Clay Matthews -- aren’t exactly attributes of a mature leader.

That anxiety could have heightened his stress level in clutch situations. Most of his big plays, as you can see below, occurred on first and second down:

JayRod II is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Soldier Field. I’ll try to make it this time.