Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Maybe Green Bay should fear the opposing quarterback, too


So, Aaron Rodgers is on the way. Everyone panic. Rush out and strip the grocery shelves bare of bread and milk. Top off the gas tank. Hoard the ammo. A great tempest this way comes.

Here comes the man who surely puts his football britches on two legs at a time. Who has transformed the Hail Mary from miracle to ritual. The Cheese Whiz if ever a wiz there was.

He’s the world’s most intimidating insurance pitchman.

The Nostradomus of the NFL, who in November suggested that his 4-6 Green Bay Packers just might run the table and then went all Minnesota (or Wisconsin) Fats on the league and sunk everything in sight, eight in a row at last count.

A roadblock of such epic proportions that by Sunday every overhead interstate sign within the Perimeter will read, “All Lanes Blocked, Seek Alternate Route.”

He’s Airin’ Rodgers, certainly, having thrown for 1.35 miles since making his bold late-season statement. But not Erring Rodgers – his single interception Sunday against Dallas was his first in 63 days.

Why, this guy is so good, he may be playing ever so incrementally better than even Matt Ryan. Maybe. It’s a lot closer than you may think.

For all the fuss made about the magnificent Mr. Rodgers, Ryan has been right with him, step for step (and better over the full course of the season). He has just been a little quieter about it, issuing not one memorable quote or proclamation along the way. Ryan’s more a take-em-one-game-at-a-time than a run-the-table type.

The teams have both reflected the performance of their highest-paid players. Green Bay’s record post-Nov. 27: 8-0. The Falcons over that same time frame: 6-1.

Consider that over that span, in one less game, Ryan has the better completion percentage (.724-.689).  Ryan, who hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five games, has 17 touchdowns to two interceptions in the run-the-table era. Not really so far removed from the flabbergasting Rodgers ratio of 21/1.

Passing yards per game: Rodgers 298, Ryan 291. Quibble if you must.

List the game-by-game quarterback ratings for both over this period in which Rodgers has supposedly been so singularly brilliant. Of the top six, he has three and Ryan has three.

The point being, of course, that, to quote another famous Rodgers aphorism, “R-E-L-A-X.”

It is fine to be on notice that separating the Falcons from the Super Bowl is a quarterback so hot you need oven mitts to shake his hand. Just remember the other guy is pretty good, too.


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About the Author

Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.