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Shutdown Corner

Aaron Rodgers has a near perfect night, throws career-best six TD passes

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

Aaron Rodgers did the "Discount Double Check" when he shouldn't have. He ran up the middle for a touchdown, spiked the ball and mimicked putting on the championship belt -- his celebration for rushing touchdowns -- not knowing there was a holding penalty behind him to negate the play.

Hey, critics need to find something wrong with Rodgers' night, right? There wasn't anything else to nitpick because he was just about perfect against Houston. Even during his incomparable MVP season last year, or the Super Bowl-winning season before that, he never threw as many touchdowns in one game as he did Sunday night.

Rodgers threw six touchdowns to tie a team record, which was held by Matt Flynn (yes, that factoid is incredibly odd). The level of competition made the performance that much more impressive. Rodgers threw all those touchdowns against a Houston defense that was third in the NFL in yards allowed and had allowed just six passing touchdowns in its first five games.

[More NFL: Tim Tebow looks like an unwanted man]

Green Bay's 2-3 start before the Houston game wasn't what the team wanted, although one of those losses came during the replacement ref debacle in Seattle. Sunday night's 42-24 win seemed to be about Rodgers emphatically reminding people that he is the reigning MVP, and the Packers are still a championship contender as long as he's under center.

Rodgers admitted that Sunday was a little personal for him.

"We're all just tired of answering questions about what happened to the Packers, what happened to me," Rodgers told NBC in a postgame interview. "Just getting back to the way we're capable of playing. We haven't gone anywhere."

Later he was asked by Michele Tafoya what he would say to the critics.

"Shhhhhh," he said, before he walked off.

Some of the criticism surrounding the Packers was legitimate. They did blow a 21-3 halftime lead at Indianapolis last week, after all. Rodgers, as the leader of the Packers, carried the Packers out of whatever slump they were in.

Rodgers has some tremendous athletic gifts that make him a special quarterback, but one of his strongest talents is his ability to make remarkably accurate deep throws. Only two of his touchdowns against Houston were from within the 10-yard line. He had scoring throws of 41, 21, 48 and 18 yards.

[Also: Pete Carroll passes test from former employer]

The 48-yard touchdown to tight end Tom Crabtree wasn't the typical Rodgers big play where he makes a perfect bucket throw. But it was as impressive as any play he made on his big night. Rodgers was rolling right on third-and-1 and leaped just before he got nailed by a Texans defender with a clear shot on him. Rodgers still got enough zip on the pass to deliver a strike that traveled about 25 yards in the air right to Crabtree, who was wide open and walked into the end zone.

Rodgers finished the night completing 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He looked like the NFL's reigning MVP.

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