Why They Won: Green Bay Wins In Oakland
By Kenn Korb
Dec 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to throw a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Packers defeated the Raiders 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Beating Standard Pressure
Aaron Rodgers has gotten plenty of flak this season for his supposedly substandard play without his favorite receiver Jordy Nelson.
While that is more and more ridiculous when you actually consult the stats and results — mostly because his “down” year stats still keep him well on-par with the great and career seasons of the other top QBs in the league right now, and his team is sitting at 10-4 despite all the issues plaguing them — there is some level of substance to the claims (though nowhere near what the perception of fans and critics alike tends to be right now).
One area where we are seeing a difference is in Rodgers’ abilities against the blitz. Most years he is by far right around the top, but this year (due in large part to the mounting issues around him) he hasn’t quite been that great when facing pressure.
Case in point: against the Raiders, Rodgers was a meager 6/18 on his pass attempts, including his interception late in the contest.
On the other side of the spectrum however, was his performance when facing standard pressure.
As bad as his play against the blitz was in this game, his numbers versus standard rush situations (4 or less rushers sent) were strong. On the afternoon, Rodgers ended up completing 16/21 passes and his lone TD toss in this particular scenario.
This is a good sign going forward; many defenses have opted to keep coverages basic while staying heavily aggressive in press coverage on their receivers (something done by some defenses even with Nelson available last year, but much more effective without an option of his ilk that can punish them deep with consistency). A big part of that set-up tends to rely on not blitzing so that the defense can have as many bodies in coverage as possible to cover potential holes around expected tight coverages.
If Rodgers and his offense can make defenses feel the need to blitz more often due to success against standard pressure situations, there can be more chances to exploit bigger holes that may appear.
And if teams decide not to blitz? Well I think the completion numbers speak for themselves.
Next: Stepping Up Late