Aaron Rodgers might be the best quarterback in the NFL, but the last time he came to visit the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, he did not have a very good time.
In the now infamous “Fail Mary” game in September 2012, Rodgers got sacked by Seattle pass rushers eight times and lost 39 yards total on those plays. Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Bruce Irvin and Jeron Johnson all got in on the action. Irvin’s sack was the first of his career:
Clemons was absolutely relentless in getting pressure on him the whole game – he finished with four of Seattle’s eight sacks:
Rodgers was so flustered that he even sacked himself at one point:
Of course today Clemons is down in Jacksonville playing for Gus Bradley’s Seaguars, but the Seahawks’ pass rush is even more lethal now than when the last time these two teams hooked up, and Rodgers’ offensive line is almost as bad as Seattle’s. Last season Football Outsiders ranked Green Bay’s offensive line 26th in pass protection. They surrendered 45 sacks, one more than the Seahawks. In 2012 they were even worse, giving up 51 and ranking 31st.
Rodgers is pretty elusive though and he is excellent at extending plays and finding his receivers downfield after scrambling out of the pocket – think Russell Wilson only with a bigger cannon for an arm. How good is he? Even after being sacked eight times and getting beat up all night the Packers were leading in the final minute of the game. Still, no matter how good you are no quarterback wants to deal with that kind of pass rush.
If the combination of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are able to put that kind of pressure on Rodgers on Thursday night it will be a major factor in deciding the outcome of the game.