EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—It didn’t even take him a full two minutes, only 58 seconds.
Do you feel you answered the criticism that you hadn’t led a two-minute drive to win a game, Aaron Rodgers was asked?
“Sure,” Rodgers said, dismissively.
It’s real simple. He can do it all, which is something he proved more dramatically in a 38-35 win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, than he had in any of the Packers’ other 11 wins this season. This time, Rodgers had to rally the Packers, and it only took him 58 seconds to do it.
“I can’t think of another team that played us this well on both sides of the ball,” Rodgers said of the Giants, who put up a much better fight than the 449 yards they allowed would make it appear. They really did play well. It’s just that the guy they were playing against has plowed through every defense the league has thrown at him since Week 16 of the 2010 regular season.
Rodgers has now led the Packers to 18 consecutive wins. One of those wins, of course, was in the Super Bowl. Until Sunday, however, none of those wins were of the comeback variety. Searching for something, anything in his game that might be worthy of criticism, at least one member of the media made mention of Rodgers’ penchant for winning easily, as though it was a flaw.
“These are the fun ones. We’ve had a number of games we’ve won by a couple of scores,” Rodgers said in his postgame press conference on Sunday.
In Giants Coach Tom Coughlin’s press conference, he was no doubt being asked why he left so much time on the clock for Rodgers to rally the Packers, after the Giants had tied the game with 58 seconds left in regulation. Why didn’t the Giants score slower?
It has come to this: In a league of incredibly large, powerful and gifted athletes, none of them are a match for Rodgers. He’s cutting through the NFL as only Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have, and the possibility exists that Rodgers will even top Brady’s and Manning’s best seasons.
Twelve games into the season, Rodgers has thrown 37 touchdown passes, which puts him right on the pace set by Brady in 2007, when the Patriots quarterback set the all-time, single-season touchdown-passes record, 50. Hey, Aaron, pick it up a little bit, huh?
When the story of this season is written, Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium will be one of the lead chapters. This one was a classic. Wait until the TV ratings come out, folks.
It began with a comment made by Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell earlier in the week, vowing that his pass-rushers would get after Rodgers and hit his you know what. On Sunday, the Giants did just that with a ferocious pass-rush that was led by second-year dynamo Jason Pierre-Paul.
The Giants chased Rodgers from the pocket, sacked him a couple of times and hurried him at least six times. Fewell didn’t fib; it’s just that Rodgers was too much for them.
He’s playing with a running game that managed only 89 yards, which he led with 32 of those yards, and a defense that is allowing yards and points in alarming volume.
“Gave up yards, gave up points,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy conceded.
Rodgers remains the Packers’ one constant. When all else fails, they have always been able to rely on him, which is exactly what they did on Sunday when the game was tied, 35-35, and 80,634 fans were howling their approval.
You want crunch time? That was crunch time and Rodgers proved beyond a shadow of doubt, with four consecutive pass completions, three of which went for 24, 27 and 18 easy yards, that he can rally a team as well as he blows teams out.
“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve done the drill,” McCarthy said of practicing the two-minute offense. “You’re going to have to complete two-minute drives to win championships.”
Well, not exactly, coach, but it sure doesn’t hurt to know you can, if necessary. Yeah, he can do it.
“I’m sure it’ll be something you guys talk about,” Rodgers said to the media, “but I don’t mind being ahead by two scores.”
Additional coverage - Dec. 4