GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Despite a regular season that did not go according to plan and season-ending statistics that were substandard for him and the Green Bay Packers offense as a whole, quarterback Aaron Rodgers still believes he and his team can conjure up some postseason magic entering Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff game at the Washington Redskins.
"I've never lost confidence in myself, and our team will be ready to play," Rodgers said in an interview after his usual Wednesday Q&A session with reporters at his locker. "I'm confident that there's a different focus this week. And as much as you wouldn't want this to be the standard, that you can 'turn it on and off,' I think our guys are turning it on this week. And we're going to play better."
After a 6-0 start, the Packers were just 4-6 in the final 10 games, including last Sunday night's loss at home to the Minnesota Vikings, who ended the Packers' four-year reign atop the NFC North. During those final 10 games, Rodgers, the NFL's all-time leader in career passer rating at 104.1, did not have a passer rating above 100 and threw six interceptions, and three of his fumbles were returned for touchdowns.
That 10-game stretch is the longest Rodgers has ever gone without having a passer rating above 100; his best was 99.5 in a Dec. 13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. His longest such streak before this season was a four-game sub-100 stretch in 2010, the year the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
Rodgers finished the season having thrown for 3,831 yards with 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions and had the lowest passer rating (92.7), completion percentage (60.7) and yards per attempt (6.68) of his eight seasons as the starter. He was also sacked 46 times, the second-most of his career and second-most in the NFL this season, behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars' Blake Bortles, who was sacked 51 times.
In the final 10 games, Rodgers completed just 57.2 percent of his passes, averaged just 5.97 yards per attempt, was sacked 35 times and had a passer rating of 81.9.
And yet, having lost Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a season-ending knee injury during exhibition play and after Packers coach Mike McCarthy relinquished play-calling duties in the offseason before reclaiming them from associate head coach Tom Clements last month, Rodgers said he is still proud of what he and the offense accomplished, even if the numbers don't bear that out.
"Most people who play my position would love to have the numbers I have this year, but because of the way I've played this season, compared to the other seasons and even last year as MVP, obviously, it was a subpar year statistically," said Rodgers, who finished 15th in the NFL in passer rating, tied for 10th in touchdown passes and 17th in passing yards.
"But personally, I think it was one of the most gratifying years, based on the things that we had happen to our team, the adversity we pushed through and the stresses that we had on us this year. And I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to play all 16 games and we kept it together and we didn't create any distractions."