Aaron Rodgers' Dominance vs. Eagles Puts Him on Par with 2011 MVP Season

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst INovember 17, 2014

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 16:  Quarterback  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers points while playing against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter of the game at Lambeau Field on November 16, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Internal disappointment would have been a natural response to the 53-20 drubbing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers laid on the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.

Instead, the humbled Eagles were more interested in admitting defeat and tipping their caps to Rodgers, who is enjoying an historic season that rivals his MVP campaign of 2011. 

"Aaron Rodgers is on fire right now," Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis told reporters. "We gave him our best shot and it wasn't even close to good enough today."

The Packers scored on six of their first seven offensive possessions. By halftime, Rodgers had already led Green Bay on four scoring drives of at least 75 yards. 

"He was as advertised," head coach Chip Kelly told reporters, confessing his defense "tried everything."

When the Eagles blitzed, Rodgers hit his hot receiver. When the Eagles played coverage, Rodgers bought time and allowed his receivers to find openings. In between, the Packers aggressively connected on a number of big plays down the field.

The final result was 341 yards, three touchdowns and another early exit of a rout at Lambeau Field for the Packers' virtuoso quarterback.  

"Right now he's playing as good as anybody in the league," Kelly said. "He's as good as they get."

Through 10 games, Rodgers has completed 66.8 percent of his passes, averaged 8.9 yards per attempt and thrown 28 touchdowns against just three interceptions. His 120.1 passer rating leads the NFL by almost 13 full points.

At his current pace, Rodgers will throw 45 touchdowns against just five interceptions.

Arguably no quarterback in history has played a season as deadly efficient as Rodgers in 2011, when he threw 45 touchdowns and six interceptions, averaged 9.2 yards per attempt and had an NFL-record passer rating of 122.5. He played in just 15 games.

Aaron Rodgers: Through 10 Games, 2011 vs. 2014
Cmp/AttYardsTD/INTPasser Rating
2011238/3293,16831/4128.8
2014209/3132,74828/3120.1
Source: pro-football-reference.com

This version of Rodgers is threatening to equal or better the one from 2011. 

Sunday against the Eagles—which brought a respectable defense to Green Bay—was a showcase of Rodgers' many advanced talents. 

On the Packers' third play from scrimmage, Rodgers looked off the single-high safety and hit receiver Jordy Nelson in stride for 64 yards. The ball traveled roughly 40 yards in the air, but it was nothing more than a long handoff. With execution and the throw each lacking error, all that was required from Nelson was the catch. 

The Packers would have finished the opening drive with a touchdown had Nelson gotten two feet down on a clever third-down throw from Rodgers to the back of the end zone. Rodgers bought time and threw a back-shoulder attempt that Nelson only momentarily bobbled. 

A series later, Rodgers converted 3rd-and-9 with a 22-yard completion to Randall Cobb, 3rd-and-18 with a 24-yard strike to Andrew Quarless and 3rd-and-10 with a 19-yard hookup to Richard Rodgers. The Packers scored two plays later when Rodgers found rookie receiver Davante Adams on a slant route for the six-yard touchdown. 

The Packers' third possession was Rodgers at his most ruthless. 

Rodgers found Cobb for three completions of 14, 22 and 11 yards. He then finished off the drive with another indefensible throw, which Nelson caught along the sideline for a 27-yard touchdown. 

Poor Bradley Fletcher. He was in decent coverage on both of Nelson's big plays in the first half, but there's no defense for a perfect throw:

NFL Game Rewind

The Eagles tried to bring pressure on Green Bay's fourth offensive series. Rodgers countered with quick-hitters to Cobb for 13 yards and 11 yards and to Nelson for 10. He also scrambled away from the rush for 16 yards, showing off the athletic ability that separates him from the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys of the quarterbacking world. 

Rodgers would have had a third touchdown pass in four possessions had Fletcher not interfered with Nelson in the end zone, grabbing the receiver's arm and eliminating the score. Running back Eddie Lacy punched in the touchdown from one yard out a play later. 

At the break, the Packers led 30-6 and Rodgers was approaching 300 passing yards. 

The second half actually featured a few missed opportunities from the Packers receivers. 

On the first play of the third quarter, Rodgers again went deep to Nelson, who beat Fletcher against a single-high safety look to the outside. The ball was well thrown (although just slightly underthrown) but Nelson couldn't hang on as Fletcher closed in. A completion would have been good for at least 45 yards. 

NFL Game Rewind

A series later, Rodgers faced third down at the Eagles 15-yard line. The Packers stacked two receivers to the right of the formation, in an attempt to give Cobb—who was running a wheel route—a natural pick play. Fletcher actually covered the route combination well, avoiding the rub and running with Cobb into the end zone. Rodgers still delivered a perfect throw, giving Cobb a chance to get two hands on the football. Fletcher was able to dislodge the catch at the last second, and the Packers were forced to kick a field goal. 

Rodgers finished his night with a short dump-off to Lacy, who turned the 3rd-and-10 play into a 32-yard touchdown and a 46-13 lead. He would play one more series, but by then the Packers were already well into clock-eating mode. 

His final line (which ended at 341 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.3) could have been more representative of his dominance had Nelson or Cobb held on to their missed touchdowns. Fletcher's pass-interference penalty and the fact that Rodgers hardly played in the fourth quarter also took a bite off his final numbers. But that's just nitpicking an otherwise masterful performance. 

Unlike the Chicago Bears the week prior, the Eagles didn't blow coverages or give up on the game in the first half. Rodgers simply shredded every scheme, every blitz and every coverage Davis and the Eagles threw at him. 

Aaron Rodgers: Home Games in 2014
Cmp/AttYardsTD/INTPasser RatingPoints
vs. NYJ25/423463/0109.831
vs. MIN12/171563/0138.742
vs. CAR19/222553/0154.538
vs. CHI18/273156/0145.855
vs. PHI22/363413/0120.353
Totals96/144141318/0138.1219
Packers: 5-0 at home

Now five home games into the season, Rodgers has 18 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 138.1 passer rating at Lambeau Field. The Packers are averaging an NFL-high 43.8 points per game at home and 33.0 overall.

Rodgers so often makes the most difficult job in sports look so effortless, but he insists it's anything but simple.

"This is not easy, this is a tough job," Rodgers told reporters. "A lot of preparation goes into it. It takes 11 guys doing a good job to make something like this happen."

While Rodgers also insisted he hasn't thought about winning a second MVP, it's impossible not to compare the two seasons. 

At his current pace, Rodgers will throw for 4,397 yards, 45 touchdowns and just five interceptions. In 2011, he threw for 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions. And while the 2011 numbers came in just 15 games, it's worth noting that Rodgers has already come out early of four of five home games this season. In fact, he hasn't played a full 60 minutes since his comeback win over the Dolphins in Miami in Week 6, or over a full month ago.

Aaron Rodgers: 2011 vs. 2014 Pace
Cmp/AttYardsTD/INTPasser Rating
2011343/5024,64345/6122.5
2014 (Pace)334/5014,39745/5120.1
2014: Through 10 games

Rodgers was arguably more consistently dominant in 2011. He had just two games with a passer rating under 100.0 and zero under 200 yards or with multiple interceptions. This season, Rodgers has four games under 100.0 (although one was a 99.7 finish in Miami), three under 200 passing yards and one with multiple interceptions. He didn't play well in either Seattle or Detroit, and his two second-half interceptions in New Orleans eventually sunk the Packers. 

The lows have been lower than in 2011. But the highs have also been higher. 

Rodgers already has four games with a passer rating above 135.0. He had four in all of 2011. He has seven games with three or more touchdowns and zero interceptions in 2014, compared to just five during his first MVP campaign. 

Over seven home games in 2011, Rodgers threw 24 touchdowns and four interceptions. He's on pace to throw 29 without a pick this season. 

Most superlatives don't do either year justice. 

"I need to find new ways to compliment Aaron, frankly," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "He's playing at an extremely high level."

Maybe the best compliment Rodgers could receive was the honesty from Eagles coaches, who admitted throwing the book at the Packers quarterback and still accomplishing close to nothing on defense. Disappointment was replaced by glowing outward praise for a quarterback no one can figure out at Lambeau Field. 

Rodgers won't publicly talk MVP, nor should he. But the Packers are receiving a reincarnated version of Rodgers from 2011, arguably the most deadly efficient quarterback season of all time. He now has six more games to cement his 2014 season among the greatest ever. 

Zach Kruse covers the NFC North for Bleacher Report. 

Follow @zachkruse2

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