Aaron Rodgers: Packers QB Continues to Prove Critics Wrong After Early Slump

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 21, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 21:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks for a receiver as defensive end Robert Quinn #94 of the St. Louis Rams pursues the play at Edward Jones Dome on October 21, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri. The Packers defeated the Rams 30-20.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers had every right to "Shh..." his critics for the second week in a row with yet another tour-de-force performance against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Any concerns about the sluggish start to the season by the reigning NFL MVP have been laid to rest—and were ultimately wrong.

While it certainly doesn't hurt to have one of the deepest receiving groups in the league, Rodgers struggled to adjust for some time without typical No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings in the fold. That adjustment period didn't take long, as it shouldn't for a quarterback of Rodgers' caliber.

The fall in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft that Rodgers experienced has been well documented, leading him to play with a chip on his shoulder for his entire career. All the criticism he has taken has led to a historically great career crescendo over the past two-plus seasons.

In yet another stunning display in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Rodgers was 30-of-37 for 342 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. What's most impressive is not only the absence of Jennings, but also that Green Bay continues to post monster numbers through the air without even a vague semblance of a running game. Some weeks, Rodgers himself is the leading rusher.

As veteran wideout Donald Driver told the team in the locker room after its statement Sunday Night Football win in Houston: they have all talked enough. Driver broke the locker room huddle with a "1, 2, 3...Play Ball!" and the Packers' offense has certainly taken that to heart.

Especially Rodgers, who has pushed Green Bay's record back above .500 after a 30-20 win. ESPN had one particular tweet that captured the quarterback's dominance on Twitter:


 @packers QB Aaron Rodgers last 8 quarters, 680 yds, 9 TDs, 0 INTs -- #BeastMode

— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 21, 2012


Although he was impressive throughout, one play stuck out the most for the Pack's signal caller on this day.

Rodgers' final touchdown pass of the afternoon to Randall Cobb embodied everything that makes him so dangerous: awareness, mobility, arm talent, accuracy and the ability to flat out make plays.

Talk about a clutch throw, too.

This was a 3rd-and-9 situation with pressure bearing down on him in a 20-13 game. The reputedly tough Rams secondary was no match for this Rodgers laser despite having two players well within the vicinity to knock it down.

Rolling to the left and delivering the ball deep is probably among the hardest things a quarterback can be asked to do, and Rodgers absolutely whipped this ball into a tight window under extreme circumstances and duress.

It's still relatively early in the season, meaning that this hot streak Rodgers is riding could come grinding to a halt at any time. Defenses could continue to see more tape on the Packers' explosive aerial attack and find a way to stop it. . .maybe.

Wait, let me stop myself. There went another minor critique of arguably the best quarterback in the league.

Don't we know better by now?