Target Practice For Rodgers, Favre

Through the first two months of the season, few quarterbacks are playing better than Sunday's duo of Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. They talk about their hot starts to the season, and we have a by-the-numbers breakdown.

Sideshow aside, there's a good reason why Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers are the headliners for Sunday's Packers-Vikings showdown at Lambeau Field.

The 25-year-old Rodgers is on pace for one of the better seasons in NFL history. The 40-year-old Favre trails Rodgers in practically every statistical category, but with Adrian Peterson lining up in the backfield, that stands to reason.

It's no wonder that Rodgers was named the NFC's offensive player of the month on Wednesday. In three games, Rodgers averaged a sizzling 10.5 yards per attempt on 74.5 percent accuracy, with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. As those numbers would indicate, Rodgers has been lethal with his deep passes and is consistently giving the receivers the ball with a chance to make a play.

"It's funny; it reminds me a little bit of the way my father raised me," coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "You never really knew where you stood. Aaron Rodgers, he just won the NFC offensive player of the month and we haven't even given him a game ball yet, so I think we need to take a closer look at how we're judging him. He's a young man, he's talented, he works hard, and he deserves everything that he accomplishes. He's just doing a really good job of running the offense and I can't say enough about that. I guess based on him not getting a game ball I guess he's not playing good enough yet. We'll see what happens."

Throw in the Sept. 27 win at St. Louis, and Rodgers has a passer rating of at least 110.0 in four consecutive starts. That's a feat that only the legendary Bart Starr accomplished with the Packers. About the only knock is the 25 sacks he's taken in six games.

"I'm always looking for ways to improve and being very critical of the way I've been playing," Rodgers said. "So I think as a quarterback, you've got to strive for that perfect game, and it's never really attainable, because there's always a couple things you're going to lie in bed at night and think about. But last week was one of the better games I've played. Now, you ask Tom Clements, my quarterbacks coach, he'd say it's for one reason. That's because I've been disciplined the last couple weeks and playing within the offense and making good decisions, and he's exactly right."


Favre and Rodgers embrace after their game at the Metrodome.
Morry Gash/AP Images
Favre has been superb when he's had to be. In huge home wins over Green Bay and Baltimore, Favre completed 75.0 percent of his passes for 579 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 136.0. He's been sacked 18 times this year, but he barely had a finger laid on him during the first meeting with Green Bay.

"Yes, going back to Lambeau where it all started, I'm well aware of that," Favre said. "That's part of my thinking as far as how I feel about it from an emotional standpoint about this week in general. It's kind of out of the way. The way they're playing, the way we're playing, both teams are vying obviously for the No. 1 spot (in the division). That's the only thing that's important, to be quite honest with you. There's always a chance you lose, just as much as you win. No different that last week and the week before. I'm not going to ever put all my eggs in one basket, although the only game that's important to us is this one.

"I'm well aware of the stuff that goes along with it, but I can't let that affect me or creep into our team. We have to focus on the job at hand. That's truly what my focus is. What's been done there in the past from an individual standpoint and from the team once again speaks for itself. I don't have anything to prove to anyone, except helping this football team get to where we want to be. That's it. And hopefully I can do that. It's one of 16 and we need to win it and go into the bye week and kind of regroup and get healthy."

Rodgers and Favre, by the numbers

1.1: Despite facing more heat than perhaps any quarterback in the league and throwing deep more than most quarterbacks, Rodgers' interception percentage is just 1.1. That's good for third in the NFL. Rodgers has two interceptions in 184 attempts; Kyle Orton has one in 194 passes and Donovan McNabb has one in 110 throws. Last year, Rodgers was intercepted on 2.4 percent of his passes. Brett Favre, with three interceptions in 228 passes, has an interception percentage of 1.3.


Rodgers has been great going deep.
Morry Gash/AP Images
8: Rodgers has eight completions of at least 40 yards, which is tied with Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo and Matt Schaub for most in the league. Last year, he tied Drew Brees for league honors with 16. Favre is tied for ninth with four completions of 40-plus yards.

9.25: Rodgers is averaging a league-high 9.25 yards per attempt. Only eight quarterbacks in the league are averaging even 8.0 per attempt, and the target for the duration of a season is exactly what Rodgers hit last year (7.5). Favre is tied for 11th with 7.4 yards per attempt.

12: In 22 career starts, Rodgers has topped a 100.0 passer rating 12 times. He is 9-3 in those starts, including 3-1 this year. Over that same span, Favre has nine games with a rating of at least 100.0. His teams are 9-0, including 4-0 this year.

24: Rodgers has completed 24 passes of 20-plus yards, tied for fifth-most among quarterbacks. Only the Saints' Brees (25) has more among quarterbacks who have played in only six games. Rodgers had 48 last season, good for fifth place. Favre ranks 12th with 19 20-yard-plus completions.

65.8: Rodgers' completion percentage of 65.8 ranks eighth in the league, but only three of the seven quarterbacks ahead of him are averaging at least 7.5 yards per attempt. Last year, he hit on 63.6 percent of his passes. Favre ranks third in the league with 68.9 percent accuracy. His career best is 66.5 percent in 2007.

100: Rodgers, who set a career high and team record with his near-perfect 155.4 passer rating against Cleveland, is shooting for his fifth consecutive game with a 100-plus rating. Rodgers' efficient day against Cleveland edged Brett Favre out of the record book. Favre's best day was the 154.9 compiled in his stunning and emotional performance at Oakland in 2003.

110: Actually, Rodgers' last four games have all ended with a passer rating of at least 110.0. Only Bart Starr, early in the 1966 season, has accomplished that feat in franchise history. Favre's best streak of 110-plus games is three, though he had five consecutive games of at least 100 in 2007 — including four out of five with at least 115.

110.8: Rodgers' season rating of 110.8 trails only the Colts' Peyton Manning (114.5). Rodgers, however, leads the NFL on third downs (142.6) and ranks third in the fourth quarter (118.4). Last year, he ranked sixth in the league with an overall rating of 93.8. Favre's rating of 102.2 ranks sixth.

283.7: With 1,702 passing yards in six games, Rodgers is averaging 283.7 per game. That's good for sixth in the NFL. Manning leads the way with 313.3. Favre ranks 14th with 240.1 yards per game.

1,702: With those 1,702 yards, Rodgers is on pace to finish with 4,538 passing yards. That would beat Lynn Dickey's record of 4,458, set in 1983. Favre's best season came in 1995, when his league-high 4,413 yards won him his first MVP.

4,000: Rodgers last year became the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in his first season as a starter. No quarterback has topped 4,000 in his first two seasons. Favre has five 4,000-yard seasons and is on pace for 3,842 yards this year.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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