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Aaron Rodgers Wildcard Open Thread: Packers at Cardinals

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I want Cal fans to read these stats on Rodgers's sophomore season. No slump here; read it and weep.

"Second Half: In 2008, there was a notable difference in Rodgers' passing stats from the first to the second half. His passer rating in the first half was 100.5, but in the second half it dipped to 87.0. In 2009, his passer rating in the first half is still a respectable 103.8, but his second half rating has increased to 100.8. Pretty impressive, as the Packers struggled at times in the second half last season, but Rodgers has helped improve the Packers in that respect this season. It is particularly noticeable in the 4th quarter, especially when the score margin was less than 7 points. In these situations, Rodgers threw 4 picks in 2008, versus just 1 in 2009. Taking care of the ball in crunch time has been a big improvement in Rodgers' game this season. Why is this important? Because, on average, a 4th quarter interception will cost your team about 15-20% off your chance of winning the game (h/t Advanced NFL Stats).

Fatigue/Conditioning: Rodgers' stats after his first 30 pass attempts in 2008 games were not terribly impressive. He completed 58.9% of his passes with 3 TDs to 3 INTs. His passer rating was only 79.5. However, in 2009 he has improved to complete nearly 64% of passes in such situations and throw 6 TDs to 1 INT. His passer rating was 101.1. Is it possible Rodgers just wore down at the end of games last year; that when the team relied on him to shoulder the load, he started making bad decisions late in the games?

Third Down: You may have heard about Aaron's incredible 3rd down passing stats. I'm sure nobody wants to see the Packers consistently getting held to third downs, but nobody in the league has been a more reliable passer on third down this season than Aaron Rodgers. He actually wasn't bad in these situations in 2008 (64%, 14 TD, 5 INT, 8.24 yds/comp, 105.8 rating), but he's been almost perfect on 3rd down this season. He's completing 67.8% of his passes for an average of 11.01 yards per completion. He has not thrown a pick on third down, but has thrown 14 touchdowns! His passer rating is an unbelievable 135.1.

Come From Behind: Perhaps it's a testament to Aaron's increasing leadership, but the stats bear this out - he has been much better this season when the Packers are trailing. 10 interceptions last year in such situations killed the Packers in a lot of close games. This season? He's only thrown 1 interception in such situations. His passer rating has improved 24.1 points - from 88.9 to 112.1. In fact, his passer rating this season has been better when the Packers are trailing than when they are ahead ."

Imagine if we had those type of numbers in any one of the last five seasons. Sigh.

Today he's facing one of the best playoff quarterbacks in Kurt Warner and a defense that pulled it together and went on their Super Bowl escapade a season ago. Can they go on another run or can Rodgers work his magic? Discuss the game here.