Despite Identical 2010 Seasons, Aaron Rodgers's Playoff and Career Averages Dominate Big Ben's [Visualization]
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Super Bowl XLV opponents Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers are tough, aggressive and creative quarterbacks with nearly identical statistics across major categories during the 2010 regular season. But a comparison of the two's playoff and career numbers paints Rodgers as the clearly dominant quarterback.
The following is a visual comparison of Roethlisberger's numbers versus Rodgers's, sliced by category and timeframe. Although their averages are quite even during the 2010 regular season, you will notice Rodgers significantly outperforms Roethlisberger when comparing their playoff and career averages.
Anyone with sense respects Rodgers's game. But with relative inexperience and a lack of championships, he can't yet be definitively ranked alongside Ben. So, despite comparable 2010 seasons, are Rodgers's surging playoff numbers a sign of things to come on Sunday and beyond?
Decide for yourself below. As you analyze the numbers, keep in mind that Roethlisberger played in only 12 games in 2010 due to his 4-week suspension while Rodgers played 15 games, missing one game in Week 15 due to a head injury.
During the regular season, the two's passing numbers were almost exactly the same. Roethlisberger averaged 20 completions for 267 over the course of 12 games, while Rodgers averaged 21 completions for 261 yards of the course of 15. Their passer ratings were also nearly identical: Roethlisberger posted a 97 while Rodgers posted a 101. Rodgers was a substantially more effective scorer, however, totaling 27 pass touchdowns for the season (1.9 average) versus Roethlisberger's 18 (1.4 average).
Both gifted rushing quarterbacks, they also posted similar regular season numbers on the ground. Roethlisberger averaged three attempts for 14 yards per game (5.2 yards/attempt) while Rodgers averaged four attempts for 23 yards per game (5.6 yards per attempt). Rodgers edged out Roethlisberger in rushing touchdowns as well - running in five (0.3/game) versus his opponent's two (0.2/game).
Over the course of their playoff careers, however, Rodgers comes out far ahead of Roethlisberger. Over four career playoff games, Rodgers has averaged 24 completions for 303 yards, 2.5 touchdowns per game and a passer rating of 113. Over twelve career playoff games, Roethlisberger has performed much worse. Roethlisberger has averaged seven fewer completions (17/game), 86 fewer yards (217/game), 1.1 fewer touchdowns (1.4/game) and nearly 30 fewer passer rating points (86).
So is Rodgers the superior quarterback? Not yet. Despite his stats, Ben is vying for his third championship while Rodgers is still anticipating his first Super Bowl appearance. We only have four games to look at for Rodgers versus Roethlisberger's 12. Ben always been a characteristically unpredictable and unconventional quarterback that manages to pull out wins no matter how ugly. And maybe these stats aren't the best comparators. The relative age and statistical trajectory of the two, however, certainly show the winds shifting in the younger Packer's favor.
Will Rodgers lead the Packers to victory and cement himself as the new Green Bay legend? Or will the veteran Roethlisberger grind out a third ring for Pittsburgh with characteristically reckless abandon?
Either way, it is precisely the matchup of these two that will make this a Super Bowl to remember.
In 2010, Tom Brady broke his own 2007 record for highest TD / INT ratio in a season, while three other quarterbacks also posted top 25 all-time numbers.
Brady threw a total of 36 touchdowns and four interceptions for a TD/INT ratio of 9 - the highest single-season ratio posted by any passer in NFL history (minimum 300 attempts).
During his storied 2007 campaign, he threw for 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a TD/INT ratio of 6.25. Brady is the only player to achieve a ratio above six.
In addition to Brady's new record, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and Michael Vick posted TD/INT ratios of 3.5 or higher, ranking their seasons among the top 25 in history. Freeman's ratio of 4.2 (25 TD, 6 INT) was 10th highest all time, while Cassell's 3.9 (27 TD, 7 INT) was 13th highest and Vick's 3.5 (26 TD, 6 INT) was 21st.
This is only the second time in history that four players have simultaneously had TD/INT ratios of 3.5 or more in a single season. The first time it happened was 2004, when Peyton Manning (4.9, 49/10), Donovan McNabb (3.9, 31/8), Drew Brees (3.9, 27/7) and Daunte Culpepper (3.5, 39/11) all hit their marks.
Here are the all-time top 25 seasons ranked by TD/INT (minimum 300 attempts):
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had a record setting day on Monday in the Eagles' 59-28 blowout of the Washington Redskins. Vick passed for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns on 28 attempts and accounted for 8 carries, 80 yards and two scores on the ground. It is only the fourth time in post-merger NFL history that a player has scored 4 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing touchdowns in a game.
According to Playerfilter, the 4 pass TD, 2 rush TD feat has not been accomplished since Jeff Garcia did it seven years ago as a San Francisco 49er, defeating the Cardinals 50-14 in Week 14 of the 2003-04 season. Until Garcia did it in 2003, it had been twenty years since Bill Kenney had achieved the same numbers as Chiefs quarterback, although Kansas City lost 48-51 to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 of the 1983-84 season.
Although Vick's rushing numbers dominate the other three games (10 Y/A), Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple actually had a statistically superior passing game when he first achieved the six TD cocktail in a 48-17 victory over the Chicago bears in 1981-82 Week 7. Hipple had 25 attempts and 336 yards (13.4 Y/A) versus Vick's 28 attempts and 333 yards (11.9 Y/A).
Vick's play set records in fantasy league scoring as well.
Michael Vick's stats in Week 10 were incredible - 28 pass attempts for 333 yards and four TDs, 8 rush attempts for 80 yards and two TDs, zero interceptions and zero fumbles. According to Yahoo! standard scoring, Vick dropped 49.3 fantasy points on his opponents this week.
So where this monumental game rank amongst the biggest fantasy performances in history?
Our calculations show that Vick's Week 10 ranks as the best fantasy performance of 2010, the best fantasy performance by a QB in history, and one of the top 10 fantasy performances of all time.
The Top Fantasy Performance of 2010
According to Playerfilter, Vick's Week 10 was the best fantasy performance of 2010 so far, overtaking Darren McFadden's record-breaking four touchdown performance in Week 7 and both Arian Foster and Jahvid Best's breakout games in Weeks 1 and 2:
Vick is also the only player to hold two spots on the list, with his 4 TD performance in Week 3 versus Jacksonville coming in at number eight.
The Top Fantasy Performance by a QB Since 1970
Vick's fantasy record-breaking goes beyond 2010 - looking back in time, Vick's game ranks as the most fantasy points scored by a quarterback since the merger, narrowly beating out Mark Rypien's incredible seven touchdown performance in 1991:
The most recent comparable performance dates back seven seasons ago to Jeff Garcia's 2003-04 game versus the Cardinals, while the most similar game is likely Randall Cunningham's 1990 performance in which he rushed for 124 yards.
The 8th Best Fantasy Performance Since 1970
Across all positions, Vick's game ranks as the eighth highest in terms of fantasy points since the merger:
He's the only quarterback to crack a list otherwise full of running backs and receivers and actually has the most TDs of anyone in the group. Clinton Portis, Shaun Alexander and Jerry Rice top the list, each with five touchdown performances.
San Diego Chargers punter Mike Scifres had his fourth punt blocked of the year during the Chargers' 29-23 victory in Week 9 over the Houston Texans, making him only the third player to have four or more punts blocked in a single season and tying him for second place for most punts blocked in a season since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970.
As sportswriter Susan Shan pointed out to us, Scifres should probably have five, as he also had a punt deflected in the game but the ball made forward progress and thus was counted for the defense but not against him.
According to Playerfilter, Harry Newsome ('85-'93) has had the most punts blocked in a season with six in his 1988 season with the Steelers. With seven games left in the season, if San Diego's special teams struggles continue, Scifres is right on pace to take the lead.
Scifres joins only one punter to have four punts blocked in a single season - Bryan Wagner in 1990 with the Cleveland Browns:
The consensus is that Scifres is not to blame - breakdowns in the San Diego special teams are. Scifres has been the San Diego punter since 2004 and in 96 games before the 2010 season only had one punt blocked.
For what it's worth, San Diego coach Norv Turner is is guaranteeing no more punts blocked for the entire season. Interesting. You can watch this week's block here, which left Scifres injured, and check out the full list of NFL punters sorted by most punts blocked in a season on our punting leaders page.