Sunday, January 9, 2011
Aaron Rodgers sends Eagles Pack-ing
Seven touchdowns in two postseason starts -- that’s a performance that even Brett Favre couldn’t match.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been pretty good in his brief postseason career. Sunday, he was a difference-maker, outplaying Michael Vick in a 21-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rodgers was as good in the second meeting with the Eagles this season as he was in the first. When the Eagles sent four pass rushers his way, Rodgers went 13-for-16 for 132 yards and threw all three of his touchdown passes.
That was a near match for his Week 1 effort, in which he was 11-for-15 for 129 yards and one touchdown.
The seven touchdowns in two starts is the most by any quarterback in his first two postseason starts in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also has 603 passing yards in his two playoff starts. That’s 68 yards and two touchdowns better than what Favre did in his first pair of playoff starts.
The help for Rodgers came from a surprise star, rookie James Starks, who rushed for 123 yards. He had only 101 rushing yards in the regular season.
According to Elias, that's the most rushing yards in a game for someone who had that few in the regular season since 1995, when Zack Crockett (zero regular-season rushing yards) rushed for 147 yards for the Indianapolis Colts in a win over the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card round. No one had done that prior to Crockett, so Starks finds himself in elite company.
Starks dominated out of the three-back set, rushing eight times for 61 yards and three first downs. He averaged 4.1 yards per rush on his other 15 carries.
While Rodgers & Co. had a fine day, Vick received little help. Our video review showed the Eagles' receivers dropping five of his pass attempts. Eagles receivers had dropped only five passes TOTAL since the start of Week 14, and hadn’t had as many as five dropped passes in a game since Week 2.
Vick was one of the best passers during the regular season on play-action passes, compiling a 116.7 passer rating on such passes, fourth-best in the league (minimum 75 attempts). The Eagles twice called a play-action pass in the first quarter, but Green Bay forced Vick to scramble both times. Philadelphia’s only play-action pass attempt came in the third quarter on a failed screen pass to LeSean McCoy.
Vick may feel bad, but the player who probably feels the worst after this one is Eagles kicker David Akers. This was the first time in 19 postseason games that Akers missed a pair of field goal attempts in the same game. He had been 18-for-19 in his previous 10 postseason contests.
One final note from the Elias Sports Bureau: Including playoffs, the Packers beat the Eagles twice this season in Philadelphia. The only other team in NFL history that beat the Eagles twice -- including playoffs -- in Philadelphia in the same season is the 1981 Giants. They beat the Eagles in Week 12 (20-10), then beat them again in the Wild-Card round (27-21).