GREEN BAY –Aaron Rodgers has beaten 29 of the other 31 NFL teams as the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback.
Monday night’s opponent at Lambeau Field, the Kansas City Chiefs, is one of the other two.
Rodgers has gotten just one shot at the Chiefs until now, and ironically it was the only regular-season game the Packers lost in going 15-1 in 2011.
If he doesn’t beat them Monday, he’ll have to wait four more years – when the AFC West rotates onto Green Bay’s schedule again, in 2019 – to get another chance, barring an encounter in the Super Bowl before then.
For whatever reason, Kansas City was a nemesis of Brett Favre’s and became the last team Favre needed to beat to have conquered the entire league as Green Bay’s QB. He lost to the Chiefs three times before finally knocking them off in 2007, his last year with the Packers, with Rodgers on the sideline watching.
The most any team has beaten Rodgers before he finally got the best of them is twice. The third time was the charm against Atlanta in the 2010 playoffs and against Tampa Bay in 2011.
Rodgers is still waiting to beat Cincinnati after two failed attempts. That’s the only team other than Kansas City he hasn’t defeated. Two years ago, he just missed in (ahem) Week 3 when a late Packers fumble was returned by the Bengals for an improbable game-winning touchdown.
That loss will force Rodgers to wait until at least 2017 to scratch off the Bengals, barring, again, a Super Bowl meeting in the meantime.
The Super Bowl clarifications are meaningful in Rodgers’ case (if anything in this rather silly exercise can be labeled meaningful) because if it weren’t for Super Bowl XLV, he still wouldn’t have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers lost in Pittsburgh on a last-play TD pass in 2009, and Rodgers was injured when the two teams met again in 2013.
Also in the realm of the curious are Rodgers’ statistics through two games this season.
His 438 passing yards are the fewest he’s had through two games of any season since becoming the starting QB, five fewer than his previous low of 443 in 2010.
On the other hand, his 76.8 completion percentage (43 of 56) and his 128.4 passer rating are his highest marks ever through two games. Those numbers beat his prior best starts in 2011 (70.8 percent, 126.4 rating) and 2013 (69.6 percent, 127.2 rating).
The fewest passing yards could be a reflection of Jordy Nelson’s absence, but combined with the top early rating it’s a sign that Rodgers is operating the most balanced offense he’s had as efficiently as ever. Green Bay’s 260 rushing yards through two games are the offense’s most since Rodgers’ first year as a starter in 2008 (262), a season that predictably went through several ups and downs.
One final thing: Should Rodgers not throw an interception on Monday night against the Chiefs – and he hasn’t thrown one at home since Week 13 of 2012 – he’ll have a chance next week in San Francisco to begin a season with four straight interception-free games for the first time. He started with three straight INT-less games in 2008 and 2009, but not since, and never four in a row to open.
Timeline of Rodgers’ first victories over opponents
2008: (5) Minnesota, Detroit, Seattle, Indianapolis, Chicago
2009: (6) St. Louis, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, Baltimore, Arizona
2010: (6) Philadelphia, Buffalo, N.Y. Jets, N.Y. Giants, Atlanta*, Pittsburgh* (*postseason)
2011: (6) New Orleans, Carolina, Denver, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Oakland
2012: (3) Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee
2013: (1) Washington
2014: (2) Miami, New England
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