Aaron Rodgers' hidden weakness

Recurring fourth-quarter failures prevent him from being NFL's top QB

Updated: September 23, 2013, 12:58 PM ET
By Scott Kacsmar | Football Outsiders

Aaron RodgersAP Photo/Tom UhlmanAaron Rodgers and the Packers were unable to produce a victory against a tough Bengals defense.

Trailing 34-30 with 3:47 remaining on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers had a chance to lead a game-winning touchdown drive to help the Green Bay Packers escape with a victory in Cincinnati. With the stage set for a classic finish after a wild game, this should have been a legacy-growing moment for the player many believe is the best quarterback in the NFL, right?

Not so fast. The Packers are just 5-24 (.172) in games when Rodgers had the ball in the fourth quarter, trailing by 1-8 points. Five comebacks in 29 tries? Tony Romo, considered by some to be a choker, led five comeback wins in the 2012 season alone. Among active starters, only Cam Newton (2-16) has a worse record than Rodgers.

He has numerous passing records, both a regular-season and Super Bowl MVP, but this is the one area on the résumé that continues to be a sore spot for Rodgers. Sunday was one of his worst finishes yet.

This time, while the drive was long in plays (13), it ended at the Cincinnati 20 after Rodgers' pass was tipped on fourth-and-5. That was the third tipped ball of the drive, as the Packers' offense ended the game with two interceptions, a fumble returned for the go-ahead score, and this turnover on downs.

These close-game failures have been the hush-hush hallmark of coach Mike McCarthy's otherwise successful tenure as Packers head coach. While the blame should be distributed everywhere, why are we not looking at the quarterback more?

Scott Kacsmar

Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar is an Assistant Editor at Football Outsiders.