Aaron Rodgers stepped up when his Green Bay Packers needed him and made a number of crucial throws to help his team top the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night. While the 36-year-old gunslinger may not be the the player he was five years ago, he played like an MVP in the clutch against Seattle. The Packers secured a spot in the NFC Championship Game as a result of their leader's fantastic late-game performance.
Rodgers finished Sunday night's matchup against the Seahawks completing 16 of 27 passes for 243 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. In his prime, that would have been a pedestrian night, but on Sunday it was exactly what the Packers needed to secure a 28-23 win.
As the Seahawks began charging back late, Green Bay needed to kill the clock while gaining a few first downs. Rodgers engineered a vintage final drive to bleed time and finish the game.
With the Packers trying to ice the game late, Rodgers made a few great throws to sew it up. The best came on third and eight from the Green Bay 22-yard line with 2:19 remaining. Despite tight coverage, Rodgers dropped back and lofted a gorgeous pass into the arms of Davante Adams for a 32-yard gain. It was an absolutely perfect toss:
Here's a look from behind the quarterback:
That is as beautiful a throw as a quarterback can make and it was the best one Rodgers had all night.
He followed that up a few plays later with another completion to ice the game. The Packers had third and nine on Seattle's 45-yard line at the two minute warning. Rodgers dropped back and found tight end Jimmy Graham crossing the field, Graham dove forward and got the first down...not without a little controversy. That completion iced the game as Seattle had no timeouts left and the Packers entered victory formation.
Those throws were cluch, and Rodgers also had another beautiful strike to Davante Adams on the game's opening drive:
Very few quarterbacks can spot a throw like that while leaning back. It was perfectly-placed and a vintage Rodgers pass.
Statistically, Rodgers wasn't his usual dominant self this season. His QBR of 50.4 ranked 21st in the NFL and his passer rating of 95.4 was one of the worst of his storied career. But he didn't make mistakes -- he only had four interceptions -- didn't hurt his team and rose to the occasion more often than not.
No, Rodgers isn't the same guy who won two MVPs. At 36, that time has passed. But when he needs to, the old vet can still get it done. On Sunday night the Packers needed him in crunch time. He delivered, just like he has so many times before. They're one step away from the Super Bowl because of his performance.