The 2018 NFL season was a season to forget for the Green Bay Packers, as they stumbled their way to a 6-9-1 record and third place in the NFC North by season’s end. Their 6-9-1 record is more shocking considering the fact that the Packers had two time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers suit up for all 16 regular season games. Rodgers was heavily scrutinized throughout the year for his apparent poor play, but how poorly, if even that, did Rodgers actually play? Here’s an in-depth evaluation of Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season.
Looking at the Play of Aaron Rodgers in 2018
To begin, Rodgers certainly did not perform at the MVP-caliber level we remember him performing at the last time he suited up for all 16 games back in 2016. His completion percentage dipped to 62.3% compared to his career average that hovers near 65%. His touchdown percentage took a nosedive to 4.2%, down sharply from his career 6.2% number. He led the league in throwaways, and seemed to be off-target all season long on many of his throws. Questions were frequently raised about his attitude and his relationship with former head coach Mike McCarthy.
All in all, coupled with the week-to-week drama and poor record, it was likely the most forgettable year of Rodgers’ career, even more so than the 2008 campaign that saw the Packers finish with a worse record at 6-10 in Rodgers’ first full year as a starter in Green Bay.
Rodgers Better In 2018 Than Given Credit For
In many regards, however, Rodgers was far better statistically in 2018 than people give him credit for despite finishing with below average numbers by his own standards. He posted the highest yards per game numbers we’ve seen him put up since 2013 at 277.6 yards per game. He posted the lowest interception percentage of his career at 0.3%, throwing just two interceptions (both coming off of tipped passes) to 25 touchdown passes. His yards per attempt number was at it’s highest since his MVP season of 2014 at 7.4 yards per attempt. Even his passer rating of 97.6, while lower than his career average of 103.1, was still higher than it was in 2017 before he suffered his collarbone injury.
On top of his statistical improvements, Rodgers also led impressive comeback victories vs. the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, the former of which was one of Rodgers’ greatest moments as a pro. After suffering a knee injury in the first half, Rodgers would return to the game and lead a ferocious comeback down 20-0, eventually leading the Packers to victory on a last-minute 75-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb to give the Packers a 24-23 victory. Rodgers also threw for 400 yards on three separate occasions, something he had only done five times in total throughout his career before this season, and set an NFL record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception.
Poor Games Down the Stretch Doomed Packers
Despite these impressive individual achievements from Rodgers in 2018, he played some of his worst games of the season down the stretch when the Packers were fighting for their postseason lives. Poor performances against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and the Bears in Week 15 sealed Green Bay’s fate, as Rodgers posted just an 80.9 passer rating while completing just 60.7% of his passes in those three games, hardly numbers you’d expect from the highest paid player in the league.
In particular, his performance against the Bears included multiple off-target throws to open receivers that would wind up costing Green Bay crucial points in a tight game. While his comebacks were certainly impressive and added to his legacy of being one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in comeback situations, his poor play in crucial games down the stretch should not be overlooked.
It’s fair to say that Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season wasn’t up to par with what you’d expect out of a player of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber. There were many highs, such as the epic comeback in Week One vs. the Bears, but also many lows, such as the poor home performance against Arizona that all but eliminated the Packers from postseason contention. That being said, despite the roller-coaster season for Rodgers and the Packers, Rodgers still played well enough that the Packers should’ve been able to finish with a better record than 6-9-1, and numerous internal issues along with bad-luck losses all contributed to a disappointing and forgettable 2018 season for Green Bay.
Overall Grade: C+
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