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Aaron Rodgers is on pace for more than 5,000 yards and some other personal records

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Back-to-back 400-yard games have the Packers’ QB on track for a top-five season all-time in passing yardage.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been anything but perfect in 2018. First there’s his left knee injury, which has limited his ability to step into his throws. It has also limited his practice time, cutting back on his opportunities to build chemistry with the team’s three rookie wide receivers — an important factor given that they are seeing significant playing time with veterans Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb injured.

There is also the fact that Rodgers has seemed to pass up open receivers with regularity this season. Whether because he does not trust Mike McCarthy’s offensive scheme, his receivers, or his own eyes, there have been numerous instances of him choosing not to pull the trigger to an open man and extending plays.

Still, Rodgers is on pace to set a few personal single-season records, and perhaps the most notable is in passing yards, thanks in large part to a pair of 400-yard games in the past two weeks. Rodgers now sits at 1,997 passing yards on the season, which exceeds his total from last year (effectively in six games as well) by more than 300 yards. This total puts him at an average of 332.8 yards per game, and if he keeps that pace he would eclipse not only his career-high yardage in a season, but he would cross the 5,000-yard threshold for the first time.

His current pace would give him 5,325 yards through 16 games, which would give him the third-highest total in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning’s 2013 (5,477 yards) and Drew Brees’ 2011 seasons (5,476) yield higher totals. Rodgers’ previous career-high came in his 2011 MVP season, when he threw for 4,643 yards in 15 games (he sat out in week 17).

Still, Rodgers isn’t leading the NFL in passing yards at this point. That honor goes to Ben Roethlisberger, whose 2,033 yards put him on pace for 5,421 yards.

Rodgers is also on pace to break records for pass attempts and completions. His current line of 156-for-254 does not invoke greatness given that 61.4% completion rate, but it projects out to personal records of 416 completions and 677 attempts. His previous highs in those categories came in 2016, when he was 401-for-610.

One other career-best mark for Rodgers is his interception rate. He has thrown one pick on 254 attempts, for a rate of 0.39%. That projects out to around three picks by the end of the year, which would be a career-low since he took over as a starter, even when considering his injury-shortened seasons.

While Rodgers’ yards per attempt number is not quite matching the 8+ numbers that he consistently put up from 2009 to 2014, he is very close, averaging 7.9. He has significantly increased that number, as well as his yards per completion value (currently 12.8), over his marks in the past few years — one reason appears to be the fact that his receivers have been able to break some big plays for seemingly the first time since 2014. That year, he averaged 8.4 yards per attempt and 12.8 per completion, but those numbers dipped to around 7 and 11 each of the past three seasons.

Where Rodgers does lag behind previous seasons is in touchdown passes, and his 12 through six games project out to 32 for the year. While that wouldn’t be a career-low over a full season (he threw 28 in 2008 and 2010, 30 in 2009, and 31 in 2015), it would be a low mark for touchdown rate per attempt, at just 4.7%. Surely his limited mobility is affecting this, however, as extending plays in the red zone was one of the reasons Rodgers has been so deadly near the goal line over the course of his career. (Also, he probably should have one more TD pass on his record, but his throw to Ty Montgomery last week was ruled a lateral, and thus a rushing attempt rather than a pass.)

In summary, Rodgers is throwing the ball more than ever this year through the Packers’ first six games, something that is likely dictated in large part by the defense putting the team in an early hole. However, he has more big plays, thanks in no small part to his receivers picking up yards after the catch, which have him on pace to have an all-time great mark in passing yardage.

Surely Mike McCarthy and Packers fans would like to see Rodgers throw the ball less often, as that would indicate that the team is in better control of its football games. If the team can improve its red zone efficiency, Rodgers’ touchdown numbers should improve to put him back near his mid-career averages. For now, though, fantasy players should be enjoying the video game numbers, and Packers fans have seen those stats come as the result of exciting, furious comebacks. Is it sustainable? Probably not. But it’s still fun.