Sep 20, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterbackAaron Rodgers
(12) scrambles away from Seattle Seahawks defensive endDemarcus Dobbs
(95) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Every week that Green Bay wins, the first area we can look to is the play of Aaron Rodgers.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times (and I’ll keep saying it until it stops being true): Rodgers is the best quarterback the league has to offer.
I could talk all day about his statistics (25/33, 249 yards, 2 TDs, 89.2 QBR*), but that just doesn’t encapsulate his greatness.
Instead this week, I want to put a spotlight on a certain aspect of how well he played: his mobility.
If you’ll remember, the last time these two teams faced each other Aaron Rodgers was still suffering from a calf strain. He was still able to perform admirably despite that, but his ability to move around is what separates him from the others who could stake a claim at his spot as the best quarterback in the game.
Rodgers has all of the arm strength and accuracy that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, etc. display, but they have nowhere near the capability to move around and extend plays through such simple-yet-effective maneuverability and constantly threaten a defense with the threat of him taking off. Really, the only ones in his class in that area would be Ben Roethlisberger and maybe Russell Wilson; then again, they rank a bit lower than some of the aforementioned names in terms of the simple effectiveness and accuracy.
Back in that Championship Game, Rodgers couldn’t move around like usual so he didn’t have the ability to extend plays and get away from the tightest spaces of oncoming rushers. That helped lead to at least a few opportunities that would normally be there to not have a chance at coming to fruition, and assuredly played a part in the somewhat conservative play-calling that occurred during the collapse.
This time, mobility wasn’t an issue in the slightest.
On at least a handful of different plays, Rodgers was squeaking through miniscule holes to extend the action, hitting receivers all around the field. He was able to use his legs as a tangible threat, running when there was nothing open downfield on a few occasions.
Part of this may have been based on the defensive gameplan set against him; there were few if any blitzes enacted by Seattle, leaving four or less rushers just about every time Rodgers got the snap. By doing that they were able to keep a high number of players in coverage — something that usually works well with the talented rushers they employ.
It also left at least one blocker unhindered and one gap uninhabited; doing that leaves more spaces for Rodgers to slip through to make those plays. So if their rushers were to not get there, Rodgers would likely have decent time to find openings down the field. On plenty occasions, this is exactly what Rodgers was able to do.
Having his mobility fully available to him allowed him the be at his best.
That’s exactly what Green Bay needed in this game.
*Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) is a statistical measure that incorporates the contexts and details of those throws and what they mean for wins. It’s built from the team level down to the quarterback, where we understand first what each play means to the team, then give credit to the quarterback for what happened on that play based on what he contributed. The rating goes from 0-100 (higher is better); 50 is average, 60 is above average, 70 is Pro-Bowl level, 80 is MVP-level.
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