Rodgers Becomes Hard Act To Follow

Because Aaron Rodgers has "mastered" the Packers' offense and is playing with uncanny consistency, several passing records are set to fall and he's on pace to be named the league's MVP.

At this point, it's practically expected of Aaron Rodgers every time he takes the field: Throw three or four touchdown passes, only a handful of incompletions and no interceptions.

Given Rodgers' accuracy and the skill of the Green Bay Packers' receivers, it's becoming something of an oddity when one of his passes hits the ground.

Those expectations of excellence are a sign that Rodgers is accomplishing his main offseason goal: To become more consistent, narrowing the gap between his best and worst performances.

''I think through nine games, I am shrinking that distance between a real good game and a game where I didn't play as well,'' Rodgers said. ''It's about consistency for me, and making sure that I'm in the right frame of mind when I'm breaking the huddle and when I'm stepping on the field.''

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers' remarkable consistency this season is a function of having more experience to pair with the natural ability he already had.

''I just think Aaron has hit the point in his career that he's figured it out,'' McCarthy said. ''When a quarterback plays in a system of offense, you get to the point where you make the system work for yourself. I think it'd be similar to NASCAR. You finally get to sit in the seat and make it go, everybody drives it a little differently.''

With his play in 2011, Rodgers is on track to challenge several significant single-season passing records:

— Completion rate: Rodgers is completing 72.9 percent of his passes through nine games. The NFL record for highest completion percentage in a season is Drew Brees, who completed 70.6 percent for New Orleans in 2009.

— Touchdown passes in a season: Rodgers has 28 through nine games. Tom Brady threw 50 for New England in 2007.

— Passer rating: Rodgers' rating through nine games is 130.7. The single-season record is 121.1, set by Peyton Manning for Indianapolis in 2004.

''It's amazing,'' veteran receiver Donald Driver said. ''He gets better and better. Every week he seems to be breaking another record. And sooner or later, he can't do anything but break his own. You have to take your hat off to him. If he's not the guy that's going to win MVP this year, then something's wrong.''

And those potential record-setting performances don't reflect what is perhaps Rodgers' most impressive feat so far, throwing only three interceptions in 295 attempts.

''I've played with two quarterbacks,'' Driver said. ''One just went out there and did what he did, and he wasn't patient at all. But Aaron takes what the defense gives him, and that's the type of guy you want.''

Including the playoffs and dating to last season, the Packers have won a franchise-record 15 straight games.

Look for a rough game by Rodgers during that streak and the closest thing you'll find is his performance at Chicago in the NFC title game, where he was 17-of-30 for 244 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions — still a winning performance.

Rodgers' last truly ''off'' game was the Packers' Dec. 12, 2010, game at Detroit. Rodgers was 7-of-11 for 46 yards with no touchdowns and an interception before leaving the game with a concussion. Rodgers sat out the following week, and has been tough to stop ever since.

''Aaron has mastered the offense,'' McCarthy said. ''He's always looking for how to do something better.''

From a consistency standpoint this season, Rodgers hasn't had a game with a completion rate under 62.1 percent, has thrown two touchdowns or more in all nine games and hasn't thrown more than one interception in any of them.

His lowest quarterback rating all season is 111.4, at Chicago in Week 3.

''When you're playing like that, I think you're probably seeing a lot of different looks, your experience level's gone up,'' Rodgers said. ''And I'm fortunate enough to have played in this offense for a number of games, and feel very comfortable with my role in it, what I've got to do each week and the kind of guys I get to throw to.''


Follow Associated Press writer Chris Jenkins on Twitter at twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins.


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