Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers became the fifth player in NFL history to have 500 total touchdown passes with his second scoring pass of Sunday’s overtime triumph over the New England Patriots.
Rodgers ranks fifth in NFL history with 455 regular-season touchdown passes, and he has added 55 more in the postseason. Rookie Romeo Doubs made the historic catch.
“Yeah, it’s a fun number. That’s a lot of touchdowns,” Rodgers said. “Some of those, there’s been some interesting stories around the century marks for those. I don’t know where that ball went; I’m sure Romeo’s got it somewhere. But it means I’ve played a long time. A lot of different guys involved in that, not sure I could name all of them. I probably could name many of them. But fun to get Romeo that one, especially on a really great play by him.”
To begin the third quarter, Rodgers fired his 499th touchdown throw, following a rare pick-six. He hit tight end Robert Tonyan with a pass between two defenders on second-and-19 for a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 14-10 lead.
On the following series, New England responded by scoring their first touchdown of the game through rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, making the score 17-14.
With 6:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Packers were behind 24-17 when Rodgers scored his 500th career touchdown. Given the situation, the back-shoulder throw to Doubs to put the score at 24 was a crucial play.
“A really nice release,” Rodgers said. “I told them during the week, ‘I don’t want you guys expecting back-shoulders. I want you to try to win on top.’ And the timing he had really was excellent, because he tried to win on top on the ball. He wasn’t waiting for the back-shoulder. He’s got really strong hands. I told him after the game, ‘I’m going to keep coming to you. I’m proud of you. That was awesome the last drive, awesome on the back-shoulder, and it would have been a spectacular game finishing that one off.’ But he’s a great kid, really proud of him, happy he’s ours.”
Bill Belichick, the coach of the Patriots, was aware of the difficulty his defense would face this week. The illustrious coach noted earlier in the week when speaking about the significance of concealing coverage before the snap:
“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.
“He’s got a great arm. He’s got a great touch. He’s accurate. He helps the team win. He does the things that they need to do to win. He makes the plays that there’s not many guys that could make. But he doesn’t try to do that all the time and he makes good decisions. Certainly, he’s very protective of the ball and the operation of the offense. And he has a lot of freedom which he should. He makes a lot of good decisions.”
The only other players with 500 touchdowns are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Farve.