Deep ball illustrates Rodgers' greatness

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
1:06
PM ET
ESPN Stats & InformationRoll over each route to go in-depth. NFL ranks among qualified QBs are in parentheses.
The Green Bay Packers' Week 13 game in East Rutherford against the New York Giants represents arguably the Packers’ toughest regular season test left. The Packers currently sit at 11-0 with the Giants and Chiefs left on the road schedule, while they’ll welcome the Raiders, Bears, and Lions to Lambeau Field. With Green Bay’s road divisional matchups and wins over New Orleans and Atlanta in their rearview mirror, Packers fans could be excused for thinking “undefeated season”- particularly when their quarterback is Aaron Rodgers.

How good is Rodgers, really? Other than the Super Bowl MVP and Lombardi-trophy resume? Looking past the likely MVP award and potential undefeated record this season?

Rodgers has thrown for 33 touchdowns this season, most in the NFL. But Rodgers’s +29 TD-Int differential is higher than any quarterback’s touchdown total alone. Breaking it down by distance, it’s clear that Rodgers has been successful on his short, high-efficiency throws. His +13 TD-Int ratio trails only Tom Brady (+15) between 1-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and his Total QBR (93.5) and completion percentage (78.1) are both league-highs.

However, it’s the deep ball that best illustrates exactly how good Aaron Rodgers is. On throws at least 21 yards downfield, Rodgers officially has a 99.99 Total QBR. That’s best in the league because, frankly, it’s difficult to beat when the QBR scale stops at an unreachable 100. Just as impressively, Rodgers has completed 23 of his 34 attempts at least 21 yards downfield for an incredible 67.6 completion percentage. That percentage (on only deep throws) would rank Rodgers second in overall completion percentage this season.

This Sunday, Rodgers and the Packers offense will face the Giants. New York’s secondary, despite injury problems in the preseason, has defended or intercepted 40 passes this season, third-best in the NFL. However, Drew Brees picked New York’s defense apart on Monday night, and things won’t be any easier for Big Blue when Green Bay comes to town.

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