Against Defenses Good and Bad, Rodgers Rules

Aaron Rodgers carved apart defenses that ranked highly in the all-important defensive passer rating statistic. We examine his final 11 games and look ahead to the challenge that awaits this season.

The Green Bay Packers led the NFL in defensive passer rating — passer rating compiled by opposing quarterbacks — last season. They won the Super Bowl.

They also led the league in 1996. They won the Super Bowl.

Ditto for 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Champion, champion, champion and champion. And what about their 1961 championship? The Packers ranked second.

It's a metric hyped by And it clearly holds true for the Packers historically, in general, and the Packers and Steelers last year, in particular. Green Bay topped the charts with a defensive passer rating of 67.2, with Pittsburgh second at 73.1.

So what does this have to do with Aaron Rodgers, whose name is in the headline and whose photo is associated with the story?

Great quarterbacks are great, regardless of who they're playing. Rodgers certainly was that, especially after getting comfortable in an offense that had to change on the fly after Jermichael Finley's season-ending injury in Week 5.

As the list below shows, over his final 11 games — seven regular season and four playoffs — Rodgers played four games against defenses that finished in the top 10 in opponent passer rating and four games against teams that ranked below the league-average rating of 82.2. Moreover, during the Packers' season-ending six-game winning streak, every defense that Rodgers faced ranked in the top 14 in opponent passer rating.


Philadelphia: 80.8 (11th). Rodgers: 73.1.

Buffalo: 92.6 (28th). Rodgers: 116.3.

Chicago: 74.4 (third). Rodgers: 92.5.

Detroit: 89.2 (23rd). Rodgers: 105.3.

Washington: 89.6 (24th). Rodgers: 75.7.

Miami: 85.0 (18th). Rodgers: 84.5.

Minnesota: 86.4 (21st). Rodgers: 84.8.

N.Y. Jets: 77.1 (sixth). Rodgers: 59.7.

Dallas: 92.8 (29th). Rodgers: 131.5.

Minnesota: 86.4 (21st). Rodgers: 141.3.

Atlanta: 82.2 (14th). Rodgers: 114.5.

San Francisco: 90.0 (26th). Rodgers: 135.1.

Detroit: 89.2 (23rd). Rodgers: 34.7.

New England: 81.2 (13th). Rodgers: DNP.

N.Y. Giants: 80.5 (10th). Rodgers: 139.9.

Chicago: 74.4 (third). Rodgers: 89.7.


Philadelphia: 80.8 (11th). Rodgers: 122.5.

Atlanta: 82.2 (14th). Rodgers: 136.8.

Chicago: 74.4 (third). Rodgers: 55.4.

Pittsburgh: 67.2 (second). Rodgers: 111.5.

Rodgers was superb, regardless of the level of competition.

Against defenses that ranked in the top 10 in opponent passer rating (Giants, Bears twice, Steelers), Rodgers' rating was 102.2, on 63.4 percent accuracy, 1,181 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. Even with his receivers dropping six passes, he destroyed Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl with a rating of 111.5 on the strength of three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Against defenses ranked 11th through 22nd (Vikings, Falcons, Eagles, Falcons), Rodgers was incredible. His passer rating was 131.6, on 75.2 percent accuracy, 1,191 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. His demolition of the Falcons in a divisional playoff game — a rating of 136.8 with three touchdowns and no interceptions — was all-time good.

Against defenses that ranked in the bottom 10 in opponent passer rating (Cowboys, 49ers, Lions), Rodgers' rating was 119.5, on 73.3 percent accuracy, 633 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Remember, in the Detroit game, Rodgers was knocked out in the first half with a concussion. That's the game in which Greg Jennings bobbled a potential touchdown pass into an interception. Had that ball just fallen incomplete, Rodgers' rating would have been 125.0 against the bottom-10 defenses.

Looking ahead, Rodgers faces a big challenge in 2011. He has seven games against defenses that finished in the top 10 in opponent passer rating: Chicago twice (third), San Diego (fourth), Tampa Bay (seventh), Kansas City (eighth), St. Louis (ninth) and New York Giants (10th). Only three games will be played against teams ranked in the bottom 10 in opponent passer rating: Detroit twice (23rd) and Denver (30th).

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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