Stats & Info: Jordy Nelson

Rodgers connecting with Nelson downfield

October, 20, 2012
10/20/12
2:28
PM ET

Brett Davis/US PresswireAfter last week, Aaron Rodgers (left) and Jordy Nelson appear to be back on the same page.
Not many people saw Aaron Rodgers' six-touchdown performance coming in Week 6 against a Houston Texans defense that had the lowest Total QBR allowed (11.6) in the NFL. Rodgers finished with only the fifth game in NFL history with at least 330 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Three of Rodgers’ six touchdowns went to Jordy Nelson, who has 19 TD receptions since the start of last season. (Only Rob Gronkowski has more, 20.)

Rodgers opened up the scoring by connecting with Nelson on a 32-yard touchdown down the right sideline. Nelson beat cornerback Johnathan Joseph on the play, and Rodgers took advantage of single-safety coverage as safety Danieal Manning was not able to give help over the top in time. (Single-safety defense is defined as one safety deep in pass coverage, usually down the middle of the field.)

On Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, how much will Rodgers try and target Nelson deep down the sidelines? Although the two had success against the Texans, Rodgers numbers are down considerably from last season on throws to Nelson outside the numbers that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.

On such throws in 2011, Rodgers completed 20-of-27 attempts to Nelson, the third-best completion percentage among any QB-WR duo in the league (minimum 10 targets). This season, Rodgers is just 5-of-13 on such throws to Nelson.

Against the Texans, Rodgers took advantage of single-safety defense to find Nelson down the sidelines with no help over the top. That’s something Rodgers struggled to do in the first five weeks of the season. Against Houston, Rodgers completed 10-of-14 attempts for 159 yards and three touchdowns against such coverage on throws outside the painted numbers, including five completions to Nelson.

In the first five weeks on throws outside the numbers against single-safety coverage, Rodgers was 19-for-39 (48.7 percent) on throws and averaged less than four yards per attempt.

Rodgers and Green Bay will face an improved Rams secondary. St. Louis has held opponents to a completion percentage of 33.3 down the sidelines on throws more than 10 yards downfield -- that’s the fourth lowest completion percentage in the league. In fact, the Rams have allowed only one pass play of at least 30 yards outside the numbers.

Also, the Rams have sent at least five pass rushers on 40.9 percent of opposing QB dropbacks over the last two weeks. That indicates Rodgers could see more single-safety defense and opportunities to attack the sidelines.

Rodgers will have to stay upright, however, as the Rams have a league-high eight sacks with such pressure in the last two weeks.

Rodgers ignores pressure, throws 6 TD

October, 15, 2012
10/15/12
2:10
AM ET
Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers
Entering Sunday, Aaron Rodgers had just 10 touchdown passes through five games this season. He had a coming out party against the Houston Texans, tossing six touchdowns on Sunday night alone.

That tied the Green Bay Packers franchise record for most in a single game -- set last season by Matt Flynn.

Five of Rodgers’ six touchdowns came against five or more pass rushers, marking the first time this season that a quarterback has thrown at least four touchdowns against extra pressure in a single game.

Rodgers is the only quarterback to throw five touchdown passes without an interception against five-or-more pass rushers since the start of the 2008 season.

Rodgers also racked up 338 yards as he recorded the fifth game in NFL history with 330 pass yards, six pass touchdowns and zero interceptions (Tom Brady twice, Mark Rypien and Y.A. Tittle).

Those eye popping numbers led him to a 95.8 Total QBR. That is Rodgers’ best in 2012 and 18th game with a Total QBR of 90 or more over the last five seasons (T-most in the NFL).

Rodgers completed half of his pass attempts and had four touchdowns on throws that traveled at least 15 yards downfield.

That was a huge improvement because entering Week 6, Rodgers had the third-lowest completion percentage on throws of that distance among qualified quarterbacks.

James Jones and Jordy Nelson were the two biggest recipients of Rodgers’ performance.

Jones notched his third straight game with multiple touchdown catches, tying Don Hutson's franchise record set in 1943.

Nelson caught three touchdowns for the second time in his career. He’s needs one more game with three receiving touchdowns to match Sterling Sharpe for the most in franchise history since 1960.

Next week the Packers play the 3-3 St. Louis Rams on the road. Meanwhile the Texans, who allowed six passing touchdowns for the first time in franchise history, will host the Baltimore Ravens.

'07 Brady vs '11 Rodgers

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
11:21
PM ET
Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers
Tom Brady
Brady
The 2007 New England Patriots finished the regular season 16-0, a feat the Green Bay Packers may be trying to accomplish in 2011. Both Tom Brady in 2007 and Aaron Rodgers in 2011 got out to fast starts, completing over 71.0 percent of their passes, throwing for over 3,400 yards and over 30 touchdowns.

The Patriots kept winning even though Brady’s production eventually dipped. Over his last five games Brady completed 61.3 percent of his passes while averaging 1.5 yards per attempt fewer and throwing just as many interceptions as he did in his first 11 games.

It is yet to be seen if Rodgers will be able to keep pace or even exceed Brady’s production and winning, but there are distinguishing factors at play that could give Rodgers an edge over Brady.

Maybe the biggest difference between Brady and Rodgers is mobility. During the entire 2007 campaign, Brady attempted only 16 of his 578 passes from outside the pocket, completing four of them. Rodgers has three games this season with four completions from outside the pocket.

The lack of mobility may have hurt Brady in 2007. Brady attempted a pass under duress 34 times over his last five games after attempting a pass under duress 43 times prior. On the season, Brady was able to get outside the pocket on five of his attempts under duress. Rodgers has 51 attempts under duress this season, but 30 have come outside the pocket.

Rodgers also has an edge on Brady with the deep ball. Rodgers is completing 67.6 percent of his throws at least 21 yards downfield this season, best in the NFL. Brady completed 52.6 percent of such throws in his first 11 games of 2007, but finished the season going 8 of 24 (33.3 percent), in large part due to teams honing in on Randy Moss.

Over half of Brady’s throws of 21 yards or more were to Moss and in the first 11 games, the duo connected on 11 of 20 attempts for seven scores and no picks. Over the last five games though, Brady and Moss connected on just three of 15 attempts, two of which going for touchdowns and two getting intercepted.

Rodgers has the luxury of multiple deep threats. Greg Jennings (2), Jordy Nelson (3) and James Jones (4) have brought in Rodgers’ nine touchdowns on 21-plus yard throws, and all three, as well as Jermichael Finley, have at least four receptions on such throws. Three Patriots finished 2007 with four such receptions from Brady.

The Packers are just the second defending champion to start the season 11-0, joining the 1998 Broncos. The Broncos first loss that season came on the road against the Giants in Week 15. The Packers play the Giants this week in New York.
Stats and Info’s best notes, nuggets, and anecdotes from Super Bowl XLV, with the help of our video review crew.

• With the help of Pro-Football-Reference.com, we found that only one other game in NFL history ended with a 31-25 final score. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by that score on September 28, 1952. It was also the first NFL Championship decided by exactly six points since 1958, when the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants, 23-17 in overtime.

• Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the fourth quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards, with at least three touchdowns in a Super Bowl, joining Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jake Delhomme.

Jordy Nelson
Nelson
• Jordy Nelson finished with nine catches, 140 receiving yards and a touchdown. The only other players in Super Bowl history to match or better those totals are Ricky Sanders (Redskins, XXII), Jerry Rice (49ers, XXIII and XXIX) and Deion Branch (Patriots, XXXVIII).

Nelson was targeted seven times on passes more than 10 yards downfield in the Super Bowl, a single-game high for Nelson this season. Rodgers started going 0-for-2 on such passes to Nelson on Sunday, but completed four of his next five including the first touchdown of the game.

• Ben Roethlisberger's two interceptions give him five for his career in the Super Bowl, tied for the fifth-most career interceptions in Super Bowl history. The pass that Roethlisberger had intercepted and returned for a touchdown was the second interception this postseason that came when Roethlisberger threw a pass to the left side of the field. He only had one on 146 attempts to the left side in the regular season.

• Nick Collins' 37-yard interception return for a touchdown made this the third straight Super Bowl (and the seventh in the last 11) in which an interception was returned for a score. The Packers kept alive a historic streak. Teams that return an interception for a touchdown in the Super Bowl are now 11-0.

• The last three Super Bowls have also been games in which the losing team outgained the winning team.

• The Packers had 13 rushing attempts, tied with the St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl XXXIV) for fewest by a Super Bowl winner. The Rams and Packers also rank 1-2 in fewest yards rushing by a Super Bowl winner. Green Bay's 50 yards were 21 more than those Rams had.

Greg Jennings
Jennings
• Greg Jennings is the third Packer with two receiving touchdowns in a Super Bowl, joining Max McGee (Super Bowl I) and Antonio Freeman (Super Bowl XXXII).

• Hines Ward, in a losing effort, had his 10th career postseason touchdown reception. He is the sixth player to have at least that many postseason touchdown catches, joining Jerry Rice (22), John Stallworth (12), Fred Biletnikoff (10), Antonio Freeman (10) and Randy Moss (10).

• Had Shaun Suisham made his 52-yard field goal attempt, with the Steelers trailing 21-17 in the fourth quarter, it would have been the second-longest in Super Bowl history. The odds were against Suisham from the start. Including playoffs, he is now 3-for-10 on attempts of 50 or more yards and hasn't made one since October 5, 2008 against the Eagles.

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