GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers threw the fourth pick-six of his brilliant career but the Green Bay Packers overcame the incredibly rare blunder to beat the New England Patriots 27-24 in overtime on Sunday.
The Packers led 7-3 when Rashan Gary’s strip-sack gave them one last chance with 54 seconds left in the half. However, on third-and-9, Rodgers fired an out to Allen Lazard on the right sideline. Cornerback Jack Jones saw it coming from a mile away, caught the ball at the 40 and had nothing but green grass standing between him and the end zone.
“I almost missed the throw so badly he overran it,” Rodgers said. “That would’ve been nice. If I had thrown the ball where I was supposed to, he probably picks it in stride. He kind of had to catch it behind him. But it’s frustrating for sure.”
It was the fourth pick-six of Rodgers’ career. He ranks fifth in NFL history in touchdown passes but is tied for 201st in interception-touchdowns. His other pick-sixes: at Tampa Bay in 2009, at home against Cincinnati in 2017 and at Tampa Bay in 2020.
Rodgers entered the game ranked 11th all-time with 7,212 pass attempts. He is one of 31 quarterbacks with 5,000 career pass attempts. Rodgers is at the bottom of that list with his four pick-sixes. Joe Montana, with 5,391 career attempts, is next with six pick-sixes.
Of the other 14 quarterbacks with at least 6,700 pass attempts, all of them threw at least 15 pick-sixes. Of the other 10 quarterbacks with at least 7,000 attempts, all of them threw at least 18.
Brett Favre, with his third-ranked 10,169 passing attempts, threw a league-record 31 pick-sixes.
Speaking to Patriots beat reporters this week, coach Bill Belichick talked about the importance of not giving Rodgers too much pre-snap information. “We certainly don’t want to give him anything more than he already has. He’s seen it all a million times. They don’t turn the ball over. He doesn’t make very many mistakes. He never has. He’s a very resourceful quarterback. He makes the plays that are there. Then he makes a few plays that really aren’t there. Then he rarely makes a mistake where he has a bad play. There’s very, very few of those. I think that’s one of the things that makes him a great quarterback.”
Rodgers had a first-half passer rating of just 11.2. He rebounded in the second half, going 17-of-24 for 207 yards and two touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 124.8. Added together, his final mark was 89.1.
“I felt like before the game – I even said it – I think the only people that can beat us are ourselves,” Rodgers said. “I felt that last week, even though Tampa’s a great team. So, 7-3 there, as ugly as it was, to go into halftime 7-3 is obviously better than throwing a pick-six and being down 10-7, so I had a little conversation with myself. Might’ve had an assist from David Bakhtiari in the locker room, went out there and played a little better.”