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Mon, September 23, 2013

Aaron Rodgers in the 4th quarter, is his record misleading?

A lot has been made the last 24-hours about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and his "4th quarter failure" as a NFL quarterback.  I am going to be honest with you...I laugh those daggers off. 

Statistics can be as misleading as they can be telling.  You can find well researched articles like that of Scott Kacsmar of ColdHardFacts.com and Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel have dug up some numbers on the Packers signal caller that argue his lack of 4th quarter/comeback relevance.  Kacsmar even lists some of the qualifiers are in his piece.  But, different things such as "above .500 teams" and "4-points or less" and leaving out "ties" can sometimes weed out instances that go against a certain argument.

By no means am I trying to take a shot at the articles (and usually by saying that if means you are, but really I am not), but I want to dig a tad deeper and swing some other numbers out there to the defense of Rodgers.

Let's start by listing all the game in which Rodgers has started that have been decided by 7-points or less.  I add brief synopsis of the 4th quarter for the argument.

1.) 2008 Game #1:  24-19 win over Minnesota
- Packers had a lead throughout.  Held on to win after a late score by Minnesota

2.) 2008 Game #5:  27-24 loss to Atlanta
- Packers scored a TD with about 2-minutes left to cut the lead to 3.  Didn’t get the ball back.

3.) 2008 Game #8:  19-16 OT loss to Tennessee
- Packers trailed 16-13 at start of 4th quarter.  Packers tied game with 5:35 to play on a Mason Crosby Field Goal.  Packers did have ball again in that time.  Tennessee got the ball in OT and scored on first possession.

4.) 2008 Game #9: 28-27 loss to Minnesota
- Vikings took a 28-27 lead with 2:30 left in the game.  Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard FG which would have won the game.

5.) 2008 Game #12: 35-31 loss to Carolina 
- Packers took a 31-28 lead with a FG at the 2-minute warning.  Carolina scored after a 45-yard kickoff return and 54-yard TD Pass.  Rodgers threw a pick on a long pass to close the game. 

6.) 2008 Game #13: 24-21 loss to Houston
- Aaron Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson on a TD with 6-minutes left to play.  Rodgers had Packers 1st and 10 at the Houston 25.  Penalty and Sack, forced to punt from 38 with 2-minutes left.  Houston drove down and scored a FG as time expired.

7.) 2008: Game #14: 20-16 loss to Jacksonville
- Packers took a 16-14 lead with 5-minutes left.  Jacksonville scored the winning TD with 2-minutes left.  Turnover on Downs with 46-seconds left at mid-field.

8.) 2008: Game #15: 20-17 loss to Chicago
- Packers had 17-10 lead in the early 4th quarter before Chicago tied the game with 3:16 left.  Packers 38-yard FG attempt with 25-seconds left blocked.  Chicago scored on first possession of OT.

9.) 2009: Game #1:  21-15 victory over Chicago
- Rodgers found Greg Jennings for a 50-yard TD with 1:18 left in the 4th.

10.) 2009: Game #2:  31-24 loss to Cincinnati
- Packers entered the 4th quarter trailing by 7.  Trailed by 10 with 2-minutes left.  Got FG with 49 seconds left.  Recovered the onside kick and had the ball at the 10-yard line with 1-second left.  Jason Spitz false start ended the game.

11.) 2009:  Game #4: 30-23 loss to Minnesota
- Packers trailed 28-14 entering the 4th.  After a Jared Allen sack were down 30-14.  Packers got a TD and FG late and could not recover the onside kick.

12.) 2009:  Game #10:  30-24 win over San Francisco
- Packers had comfortable lead.  Ran out the final 6-minutes to close out the 6-point win.

13.) 2009:  Game #13:  21-14 win over the
- Packers trailed 14-13 entering the 4th quarter.  Scored early in the 4th and won.

14.) 2009:  Game #14:  37-36 loss to Pittsburgh
- Packers trailed 24-14 entering the 4th quarter.  Packers took 28-27 lead with 8-minutes left.  Steelers scored FG with 3-minutes left, 30-28.  Rodgers to James Jones with 2:12 left to lead 36-30.  Steelers scored 19-yard TD as time expired to win 37-36.

15.) 2010:  Game #1:  27-20 win over Philly
- Packers led 27-10.  Eagles pulled within 7 with 5-minutes left.  Packers ran out the clock.

16.) 2010:  Game #3:  20-17 loss to Chicago
- With the game tied 17-17, Packers were driving when James Jones fumbled.  Chicago scored as time expired.

17.) 2010:  Game #4:  28-26 win over Detroit
- Packers led 28-20 heading to fourth.  After a pair of Detroit FGs, Packers ran out the final 6:00 minutes.

18.) 2010:  Game #5: 16-13 OT loss to Washington
- Packers led 13-3 entering the 4th quarter.  Game was tied 13-13 with a FG with 1-minute left.  Packers missed a 53-yard game winner at end of regulation.  They did have ball in the OT.

19.) 2010:  Game #6:  23-20 OT loss to Miami
- Aaron Rodgers TD run with 16-seconds left sent the game to OT.  Packers did have the ball in OT.

20.) 2010:  Game #7:  28-24 win over Minnesota
- Last score was by Minnesota in the late 3rd quarter…no points scored in the 4th.

21.) 2010:  Game #11:  20-17 loss to Atlanta
- Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson with 1-minute left to tie.  Atlanta FG with 13-seconds left gave the Falcons the win.

22.) 2010:  Game #13:  7-3 loss to Detroit
- Rodgers was knocked out of the game in the 1st half with a concussion.

23.) 2010:  Game #16:  10-3 win over Chicago
- Packers trailed 3-0 at halftime.  Packers broke 3-3 tie in the 4th with a TD pass to Donald Lee with 12-minutes left.

24.) 2011:  Game #2:  30-23 win over Carolina
- Packers led throughout.  Carolina scored last TD with 41-seconds left.

25.) 2011: Game #7: 33-27 win over Minnesota
- Vikings scored 10 in the 4th quarter to make game closer.

26.) 2011:  Game #12:  38-35 win over the Giants
- Packers extended a 28-27 4th quarter lead with 3:45 left to 35-27.  Giants tied a game with 1:02 left before Crosby kicked the 31-yard game winner as time expired.

27.) 2011:  Game #14:  19-14 loss to Kansas City
- Packers trailed 9-7 heading into the 4th quarter.  Had ball a few times and couldn’t get it going.

28.) 2012:  Game #3:  14-12 loss to Seattle
- Yes, it falls into the statistic but…really?

29.) 2012:  Game #4:  28-27 win over the Saints
- Down 27-21, Aaron Rodgers tossed the game winner with 7:00 minutes left to Jordy Nelson.  Saints missed FG with 3-left, Packers ran out clock.

30.) 2012:  Game #5:  30-27 loss to Indy
- Packers took 27-22 lead with 4:30 to play on TD pass to James Jones.  Colts took lead with 39-seconds left.  Crosby missed 51-yard game tying FG with.

31.) 2012:  Game #6:  24-20 win over Detroit
- Packers trailed 17-14 entering the 4th.  Took 21-20 lead with 2-minutes left on Rodgers to Cobb.

32.) 2012:  Game #13:  27-20 win over Detroit
- Game was tied 17-17 entering the 4th quarter.  Packers scored with 10-minutes left to go up 24-17.  Pushed lead to 27-17 getting a FG on the very next possession.

33.) 2012:  Game #17:  37-34 loss to Minnesota
- Packers trailed 27-24 entering 4th.  Got an early FG.  Minny TD, then Packers TD to tie it up with 3-minutes left.  Vikings drove the final 3-minutes for the game winner as time expired.

34.) 2013:  Game #1:  34-28 loss to San Francisco
- Packers took a 28-24 4th quarter lead with 8:30 left…San Francisco recaptured the lead 3-minutes later.  Packers go on to lose having 2-possessions.

35.) 2013:  Game #3:  34-30 loss to Cincinnati
- Rodgers got the ball back with 4-minutes left, got to the 20 and turned it over on downs.

Alright, let's dive in a little more and categorize each game...

- The Packers are 14-21 in Games that are decided by 7-points or less with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback.
- 4th quarter winning drives have taken place 6-times for Rodgers (9, 13, 23, 26, 29, 31)
- Of the 14 wins, 6-times (1, 12, 15, 24, 25, 32) the Packers lead comfortably throughout and won by 7 or less.
- A pair of games listed it was close wins but were hold on wins (17, 20)
- One more should be added to the above total, but the "Fail Mary" ruined it (28)
- One of those games (22), Rodgers was knocked out with a concussion and Matt Flynn finished the game.
- There were 2 loses (2, 11) where late scores made the game closer than it was.
- Rodgers has had 4 comebacks where team was in position to win/tie with a FG and lost (4, 8,18,30)
- There were 4 games where Rodgers either tied or took the lead in the 4th that were lost when the other team scored in the final seconds (6, 14, 21, 33). 
- There were 2 games where Rodgers either tied or took the lead in the 4th that were lost when the other team scored in the final 2 minutes (5, 7). 
- Lets not forget the 2 games where other circumstances effected the outcome (10, 16).  Honestly, Sunday's could be added here but I won't.
- Two times the Packers scored in the 4th quarter and lost in overtime (3, 19) with the ball in hand at some point. 
- There were two games were the Packers had a 4th quarter lead and lost late (34, 35).
- One game where they never lead and lost (27).

If you want to add that up quick, 17-times Aaron Rodgers has had a game tying/go ahead drive in the 4th quarter that they lost the game.

Just wanted to toss information out there.  I am by no means an Aaron Rodgers apologist.  I am just a sports guy that saw through what I thought to be a hollow argument.  You can look at a good number of the losses and look at a play or two that Rodgers could have made that could have changed the outcomes.  But, to say he does nothing in the 4th quarter as some have tried to explain, I respect your opinion... but sorry, I can't buy fully buy it.

***Also, I am a radio guy.  This is a written blog.  Grammar and spelling mistakes should be expected!***

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