Passing History


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on a masterful performance in the National Football League's Week 4 this past weekend. The signal caller, in his seventh year, passed for 408 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for a pair of TDs in the Packers' 49-23 win over the Denver Broncos. In doing so he became the first player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs in the same game.

His dominating performance also launched him to the top of the very small and elite fraternity. Since 1960 Rodgers is only the fifth quarterback to have four passing TDs and two rushing touchdowns in a game. The last player to do this was Michael Vick who basically had his own "Welcome to Philadelphia" party against the Washington Redskins on a Monday Night game last season.

I find the first quarterback on this list, Eric Hipple of the Detroit Lions, to be rather fascinating, only because the performance came during the first start of his career. Even more impressive is that Hipple started the 1981 season as the team's third-string thrower. Detroit's starter leading into that year was Gary Danielson but he dislocated his wrist in the fourth game of the season. That made way for backup Jeff Kolmo but he played so poorly that the team finally handed the ball to Hipple for the team's Oct. 19 Monday Night match-up against the Redskins.

I imagine Hipple, who was in his second year out of Utah State, was excited about his opportunity to play but he faced a daunting task. Not only were the Lions desperate for a win with a 2-4 record, but the team would be without All-Pro running back Billy Sims who injured his toe in the previous week's game.

Hipple however played magnificently as he led the Lions to 48-17 rout of the Bears. The Lions' point total was actually the highest the team had scored since 1957. Hipple completed 14 of 25 passes for 336 yards and four TDs, including a 94-yarder to Leonard Thompson. He also rushed for two also to account for all six of Detroit's touchdowns and led the club to 485 yards in total offense.

Not surprisingly, Hipple remained the Lions' starter for the rest of the season and guided Detroit to six wins in the last ten games. His 2,358 yards and 14 TDs on the season helped him earn the team Offensive MVP nod by his fellow teammates

Date Player Team Opp. Passing Rushing Result
Oct. 2, 2011 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Denver 408 yards, 4 TDs 9 for 36 yards, 2 TDs W, 49-23
Nov. 15, 2010 Michael Vick Philadelphia Washington 333 yards, 4 TDs 8 for 80 yards, 2 TDs W, 59-28
Dec. 7, 2003 Jeff Garcia San Francisco Arizona 252 yards, 4 TDs 5 for 32 yards, 2 TDs W, 50-15
Nov. 27, 1983 Bill Kenney Kansas City Seattle 311 yards, 4 TDs 3 for 7 yards, 2 TDs L, 48-51
Oct. 19, 1981 Eric Hipple Detroit Chicago 336 yards, 4 TDs 4 for 13 yards, 2 TDs W, 48-17

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