Davante Adams did not play for the Packers today. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison were both on snap restrictions against the Raiders after suffering injuries against the Lions on Monday night. Aaron Rodgers was not only without his full arsenal of receivers today against the Raiders; his team came into the game on a short week after playing on Monday. The Raiders are feisty, and one could see the contours of a possible upset in Lambeau. None of that mattered one bit because Rodgers was perfect.
Well, not literally perfect, but he racked up a perfect 158.3 passer rating with a hallucinatory stat line: 25-for-31 passing for 429 yards, five passing touchdowns, and a rushing score to boot. He is the first Packers QB in the Super Bowl era with a perfect rating, and he is the first QB to pass for five touchdowns and run for one more since 1991. That’s the fourth-highest total of his career, and he had eight passes that went for more than 20 yards, to six different receivers.
The scary thing is, Rodgers and new coach Matt LaFleur are only in their first year together, and he’s looked steadily more comfortable in the offense:
“I feel like this has been coming, I really do,” Rodgers said. “I feel like we’ve been building and I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable and Matt’s been feeling more comfortable with him calling it for me and feeling when I’m in that rhythm and when to be aggressive and when to pull back.”
His first one was perfectly placed in the end zone
Allen Lazard helped his QB with a big jump catch
Perhaps Raiders rookie Max Crosby cursed his team and brought out the legendary performance by Rodgers with an ill-advised celebration.
Watching the stagnant and overwhelmed Packers fart their way to a 6-10 stinker of a season was painful, and Rodgers was simply asked to do too much. It is no secret that the Packers have re-established themselves this season with a balanced offense and a ferocious defense, meaning Rodgers does not have to be superhuman for them to win, as has been the case in years past. Coming into today’s game, he had only broken 300 yards once this season in a shootout loss to the Eagles.
However, it would be wrong to mistake an improved (and un-McCarthy’d) offense with a decline from Rodgers. He simply has not been forced to scramble his way into otherworldly throws all that often, and even if his per-game stats aren’t what they were in his MVP season, he still gets more out a star-free receiving corps than most other QBs probably would. It’s too bad Patrick Mahomes won’t be healthy for next weekend’s Chiefs-Packers game, as that matchup could have been this year’s version of last season’s Rams-Chiefs humdinger.