Aaron Rodgers: The touchdown machine – 1st, 100th and 200th


Aaron Rodgers has been quarterback par exellence for the Green Bay Packers over the course of his career.

Though his first completion as a Packer, a pass to former Packers fullback Vonta Leach for zero yards, was far from excellent, Rodgers has stepped into his role as a starting NFL quarterback with such confidence and ability that it’s difficult for Packers fans to even fathom another QB ever taking over for him.

Aaron Rodgers throws his first pass completion against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 9, 2005.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

While that day will inevitably arrive, for the foreseeable future Rodgers will remain in place and on his roll.

Last Thursday night Rodgers threw his 200th career touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Davante Adams. Packers fans and coaches hope that is a connection that will continue for years to come.

Rodgers’ milestone came in his 99th game, the second fastest player to the 200 level in NFL history. Only Dan Marino, in his 89th game, reached 200 touchdowns faster.

Let that sink in a bit.

Think of all the great quarterbacks who have played the game – Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, John Elway, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, to name just a few – and you can understand the importance of Rodgers’ accomplishment.

When I attended the Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints game back in 2005 when Rodgers was a rookie, I and millions of others watch as he entered the game late in a 52-3 spanking of the Saints. Little did we know we would be sitting here 10 seasons later talking about the Packers’ signal-caller as one of the best ever.

Rodgers’ first pass to Leach was far from spectacular, but everything since then surely could be categorized as such.

When Brett Favre left Green Bay and Rodgers took over, his career took off. Given the keys to the Packers’ offense by head coach Mike McCarthy, Rodgers didn’t look back. He simply picked up where Favre left off … most notably sans the interceptions.

Rodgers’ touchdown pass journey began actually – and ironically – on Thursday Night Football, Nov. 29, 2007, at Dallas. Brett Favre was being harassed and hit by the Cowboys before he was injured in the second quarter and had to leave the game.

Enter Rodgers.

He picked up the pace and brought the Packers back from a 17-point deficit to nearly win the game. In all, he completed 18 passes that night for 201 yards and no interceptions in an eventual 37-27 loss. It was also the game in which he threw his first touchdown pass – an 11-yarder to Greg Jennings just before the end of the first half.

That was the start.

Aaron Rodgers letting loose. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Four years later, in October 2011, Rodgers threw his 100th career touchdown to another former Packer – James Jones – in a 25-14 win on the road at Atlanta.

Here is how Eric Goska, then of the Green Bay Press Gazette described that accomplishment:

"Cool and efficient, Rodgers has become well known for avoiding interceptions and generating triple-digit passer ratings. He did both again in the Georgia Dome.But it’s time to give Rodgers credit for the many scoring strikes he has thrown. Rodgers got No. 100 in just his 59th regular-season game. Only four players in NFL history did so faster."

Rodgers not only hit 100 in historic fashion and among great company, but he also did it with a splash.

Avoiding a blitz by Atlanta’s Kelvin Hayden, Rodgers lofted a deep ball down the sideline to Jones who had gotten behind the defense en route to the 70-yard touchdown.

At the time, Rodgers became just the fourth Packers quarterback to throw 100 touchdown passes – that group included Brett Favre, Bart Starr and Lynn Dickey.

This past Thursday night’s win against the Minnesota Vikings and the venue where Rodgers connected on number 200 not only reignited a Packers team that has started slowly, but also relit Packers fans’ excitement about this 2014 Packers edition.

We all thought the team was dead in the water after a humbling 1-2 start. But that changed this past week. Rodgers led Green Bay to a convincing win on the road over the Chicago Bears before he brought the team home for another huge win against that NFC North Division rival from west of the Mississippi – the Minnesota Vikings.

With Rodgers’ TD pass to Adams, he continued to pile up statistics, though he downplayed the accomplishment  a bit he even conceded the ball to his rookie receiver:

"“My 100th touchdown was in Atlanta and James [Jones] threw the ball about 80 rows up, and 200 was to Davante [Adams]. [It was] his first touchdown [and] I’m not going to take his ball, so hopefully I can get to 300 and throw it to a guy who’s caught a touchdown before so I can keep that one.”"

All kidding aside, Rodgers’ milestone is one that he will surely treasure and remember … and so will we as fans.

I, for one, am hoping I’m around for #300, which if he continues on the pace he’s on, should come around 2017 or so.

Aaron Rodgers throws his 200th career touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Davante Adams.