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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Rodgers: Close games can be decided early

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took questions on a number of topics during a Wednesday conference call, including whether he would like to one day rekindle his iced-over relationship with predecessor Brett Favre.

(Rodgers' response: "I enjoyed the three years that we spent together, and now, he's out there and I'm out here.")

We all know Rodgers and Favre won't be breaking bread this year or anytime in the near future. But it's also worth noting that Rodgers has come under particular scrutiny this week for his team's failure in an area Favre often excelled in.

Although it's not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison, here are the two key statistics. Favre has led 42 game-saving/winning regular-season drives in his career. Rodgers, on the other hand, is 1-11 in games decided by four points or less, most recently a pair of overtime losses this month.

Just as we're not blaming the Chicago Bears' offensive line for all of the team's 23 sacks, we won't throw all of these close losses on Rodgers' shoulders. But as we noted in Tuesday's SportsNation chat, the quarterback has more opportunity to affect the outcome of a game -- close or otherwise -- than any other player on the field.

Rodgers said Wednesday that he didn't see any common threads through those 11 losses and noted that close games aren't always decided in the final minutes.

"These games come down to really a handful of plays," Rodgers said, "a small handful of plays that don't always happen at the end of games. Sometimes they happen in the first quarter, the second quarter, the first possession of the second half. ...

"If I had done my job better on a play maybe in the red zone in the first quarter and gotten seven [points] instead of three, it's a different game."

Rodgers noted one such instance, a second-quarter sequence in a 16-13 loss earlier this month to the Washington Redskins. The Packers had a second-and-goal from the 1 but couldn't convert. Rodgers' fourth-down pass to tight end Andrew Quarless fell incomplete.

"Those four-point swings, those seven-point swings." Rodgers said, "... those are the times that when you lose by three, you remember your inability to cash in on those opportunities."

We'll keep an eye on it Sunday night at Lambeau Field.