Aaron Rodgers and Jared Allen were both named as October Players of the Month in the NFC. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Packers, Aaron Rodgers rise to the competition


Good gosh, is it no doubt why the Packers have been the best team in the NFL during the first half of the season and Aaron Rodgers the best quarterback?

Just take a look at the NFC North Division … The Lions and the Bears are close behind the Packers, while even the Vikings have shown vast improvement the past couple of weeks.

In essence, it’s the competition that ultimately makes a championship team and the Packers play, without question, the toughest competition within its own division.

Clearly, it makes them better.

To punctuate that point, just take a look at the NFC Players of the Month for September and October. Only one player, Sean Lee of Dallas, has been named to the list from outside the NFC North.

In September, it was Aaron Rodgers, Lee, and Jason Hanson of Detroit.

In October, it is Rodgers, Jared Allen of Minnesota and Chicago’s phenom Devin Hester.

Will this trend prevail throughout the remainder of the season? Well, check back at the end of November and we’ll have a partial answer to that question. But if recent history is anybody’s guide, players from the North will again dominate the list, as will the teams from the division.

While that might make Packers fans shiver a bit, considering what they have to face in the upcoming two months, it shouldn’t.

Playing the best makes a team the best.

And after watching the Packers play the first part of the season we can only guess that their best football is still ahead.

I, for one, am really excited about the possibilities.

The official release of the announcement of the October Players of the Month is as follows:

PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS, VIKINGS DE JARED ALLEN &
BEARS PR-KR DEVIN HESTER NAMED NFC PLAYERS OF MONTH FOR OCTOBER

Quarterback AARON RODGERS of the Green Bay Packers, defensive end JARED ALLEN of the Minnesota Vikings and punt returner-kick returner DEVIN HESTER of the Chicago Bears are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Month for October, the NFL announced today.

OFFENSE: QB AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS
Rodgers led the Packers to a 4-0 record and completed 97 of 136 passes (71.3 percent) for 1,455 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions for an NFL-best 129.4 passer rating.
In all four October games, he had at least 300 yards passing, two or more touchdowns and a 110+ passer rating.
He has posted a passer rating of at least 110 in every game this year and is the first player in NFL history with a 110+ rating in each of the first seven games to start a season.

Rodgers has passed for 2,372 yards and 20 touchdowns this year and is the first quarterback in league annals with at least 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns in the first seven games of a season.

In his seventh season from California, this is Rodgers’ fourth career Player of the Month Award and third in a row (December 2010, September 2011, October 2011).

Rodgers joins Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (October, November and December, 1997) as the only players to be named Offensive Player of the Month in three consecutive months.

He and BRETT FAVRE (five) are the only Packers to be named Offensive Player of the Month multiple times.

DEFENSE: DE JARED ALLEN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Allen had an NFL-best eight sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 20 tackles in October.
He recorded at least one sack in all five games during the month, including three two-sack performances.

Allen also had a fumble recovery in three of the team’s five October contests and forced a fumble in two different games.

He has recorded at least a half-sack in 10 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history, and he has 22.5 sacks in his last 17 games.
In his eighth year from Idaho State, this is Allen’s second career Player of the Month Award (October 2007 with Kansas City).

He is the first Vikings defensive lineman to be named NFC Defensive Player of the Month since Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN RANDLE in December 1999.

SPECIAL TEAMS: PR-KR DEVIN HESTER, CHICAGO BEARS
Hester was the only player in the NFL to return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown during October.
He had nine kickoff returns for 278 yards (30.9 average) with a 98-yard TD and eight punt returns for 130 yards (16.3 avg.) with a 69-yard TD.

Hester has 11 career punt-return touchdowns and passed ERIC METCALF (10) for the most in NFL history.
Hester has an NFL-record 16 career combined kick-return touchdowns (11 PR-TD, five KR-TD) and his 17 total return touchdowns (missed FG) are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer ROD WOODSON for the second-most in NFL history (Pro Football Hall of Famer DEION SANDERS, 19).

In his sixth season from Miami, this is Hester’s third career Player of the Month Award (December 2006, September 2007).

Hester’s three Player of the Month Awards are the most in franchise history.
He has also been named Special Teams Player of the Week 11 times in his career, the most by a return specialist in league history.

2011 NFC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH
September
Offense – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defense – LB Sean Lee, Dallas
Special Teams – K Jason Hanson, Detroit

October
Offense – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defense – DE Jared Allen, Minnesota
Special Teams – PR-KR Devin Hester, Chicago

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Chicago Bears Dallas Cowboys Detroit Lions Devin Hester Green Bay Packers Jared Allen Jason Hanson Minnesota Vikings NFC NFC North Division Sean Lee