Aaron Rodgers-Bears, Tom Brady-Bills: Nine players who 'own' a rival team
Aaron Rodgers’ Sunday taunt — “I own you … I still own you” — is surely continuing to ring in Bears fans’ ears after yet another Rodgers-led Packers win over Chicago. It probably doesn’t help that his dominant play against Chicago over the years more than backs up his claim.
Rodgers’ declaration got me thinking about other players who have come to “own” a specific opponent over the course of their careers. So I turned to NFL Research to help identify players who have dominated an opponent in the same way Rodgers has dominated the Bears.
Naturally, every one of the nine player-team relationships listed below stems from a divisional rivalry. This makes sense — but it doesn’t diminish what these players have accomplished. It takes more than the extra reps provided by the twice-yearly matchups between divisional rivals to produce at the level you’ll see below:
- Ten buyers and sellers ahead of 2021 NFL trade deadline
- NFL QB Index, Week 7: Dak Prescott hits No. 1 spot
- NFL Week 7 underdogs: Making the case for six teams to beat the odds
- Offensive Player Rankings, Week 7: Dak Prescott among three QBs reaching new highs
- The First Read, Week 7: Raiders refuse to be rattled; Ja'Marr Chase proving Bengals right
- NFL Power Rankings, Week 7: Cardinals reclaim No. 1 spot; Browns stumble out of top 10
Numbers against the Bears: 27 games, 6,452 passing yards, 57 passing TDs, 12 INTs, 105.9 passer rating.
When Rodgers trash-talked Bears fans in Soldier Field on Sunday, he might have just been having a little fun — but he was also speaking the truth. Rodgers’ fifth straight win over Chicago gave him a whopping 22 career victories over the Bears, who have beaten him just five times in turn. Only one other passer in NFL history has had more success against Chicago than Rodgers: the Packers’ last all-time talent at quarterback, Brett Favre (23 wins, 8,606 passing yards, 60 passing TDs). Rodgers has been an especially devastating force over that five-game winning streak, posting a 12:0 TD-to-INT ratio and a passer rating of 117.
Next meeting: Week 14 in Green Bay.
Numbers against the Bills: 35 games, 8,669 passing yards, 70 passing TDs, 25 INTs, 97.9 passer rating.
The Bills have clearly filled the power vacuum left by Brady’s departure from New England for Tampa in 2020, sweeping the Patriots en route to winning their first division title since 1995. They look well positioned to win it again this season. But there’s one dragon this Josh Allen-led juggernaut has yet to slay, one test they have yet to pass: defeating Brady himself. And when the Bills and Bucs meet in December, Buffalo will be fighting against an extensive history of futility. Brady has beaten the Bills a whopping 32 times in his NFL career. That’s more wins than any quarterback has managed against any single opponent in NFL history. In fact, if you erased the records of all of Brady’s non-Buffalo games, he’d still rank No. 154 on the all-time QB wins list — tied with Allen, who has 32 total heading into Week 7.
Next meeting: Week 14 in Tampa.
Numbers against the Browns: 28 games, 7,008 passing yards, 45 passing TDs, 26 INTs, 93.4 passer rating.
The Browns’ most recent game against Roethlisberger — a blowout win in the 2020 playoffs — was an extreme anomaly. Roethlisberger’s 39 and not exactly playing up to his usual standards, but forgive nervous Clevelanders if they aren’t quite ready to let their guard down against the quarterback with a better record in their home stadium (11-2-1) than anyone besides Baker Mayfield. In two weeks, Roethlisberger will have a chance to score some serious revenge for last season’s playoff drubbing; a loss to Pittsburgh would put the Browns in a tough spot heading into a Week 9 meeting with the resurgent Bengals.
Next meetings: Week 8 in Cleveland, Week 17 in Pittsburgh.
Numbers against Jaguars: 11 games, 1,143 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs.
Looking at Henry’s jaw-dropping totals against Jacksonville, it’s almost hard to believe he’s only faced this team 11 times. Since 2010, no one has scored more rushing touchdowns against a single opponent than Henry has against the Jags. And remarkably, half of those TDs came in two games: a four-score outing in December of 2018 and a three-TD day in Week 5 of this season. And the Jags aren’t the only AFC South opponent Henry enjoys running against; he’s also put up three games of 200-plus rushing yards against Houston, the most by a player against an opponent in NFL history.
Next meeting: Week 14 in Tennessee (Henry ran for 130 yards and three scores against the Jags in Week 5).
Numbers against the Texans: 19 games, 1,798 receiving yards, 11 receiving TDs.
It’s fitting that Hilton’s only game of the season thus far came against Houston. The veteran’s numbers have dipped going back to 2019 — except when he’s playing against the Texans. When facing non-Texans opponents in that span, he’s averaging a humble 47.1 yards per game. Against Houston, however, he’s averaged 70.6 yards per game, consistent with his beefy career average against them of 94.6. Since he entered the NFL in 2012, no player has put up more receiving yards and touchdowns against an opponent than Hilton has against Houston.
Next meeting: Week 13 in Houston (Hilton caught four passes for 80 yards against the Texans in Week 6).
Numbers against the Seahawks: 15 games, 14 sacks, 40 QB hits, 22 tackles for loss.
Every team but the Rams has felt the wrath of Donald at one point or another — but he’s made life exceptionally miserable for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has more sacks against Seattle than any other active player besides Robert Quinn (who, incredibly, has matched him with 14 thus far). But Donald’s dominance in the Pacific Northwest goes beyond sacks. He’s also outpaced all active players in tackles for loss and QB hits against Seattle in that span since those stats were first tracked (1999 and 2006, respectively).
Next meeting: Week 15 in Los Angeles (Donald recorded a sack, seven tackles, two tackles for loss and three QB hits in Week 5).
Numbers against the Falcons: 20 games, 21 sacks, 67 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 37 QB hits.
Jordan’s been one of the more prolific sack artists in the NFL since entering the league in 2011, ranking sixth among all players in that span with 94.5. He’s been extra productive when facing the Falcons, as nearly a quarter of those sacks (22.2%) came against Atlanta. And remarkably, half of those sacks (11) happened since 2018, highlighted by a four-sack game in 2019 and a three-sack effort in 2020.
Next meetings: Week 9 in New Orleans, Week 18 in Atlanta.
Numbers against the Jets: Seven games, four interceptions, six passes defensed.
The sample size is much smaller for Jackson and the Jets than for the other players listed above, but the fourth-year pro has still definitely made his mark in this matchup. Since 2020, Jackson has been an interception machine against New York, collecting four total in three games, including two in the Patriots’ Week 2 win this season — that’s tied for the most by any player against a single opponent in that span. It’s safe to say he’s looking forward to seeing rookie QB Zach Wilson and the Jets again in Foxborough on Sunday.
Next meeting: Week 7 in New England (Jackson recorded two picks in Week 2 in New York).
Numbers against the Eagles: Three games, four interceptions, eight passes defensed.
The wider world may now know Diggs, who has great hands and a knack for finding the ball, as one of this season’s preeminent ballhawks, but the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry last season provided a sneak peek of what was to come this year. All three of Diggs’ picks as a rookie came against Philly, two off of Carson Wentz in Week 8 and one off of Jalen Hurts in Week 16. So if you look at it a certain way, Diggs’ pick-six off of Hurts in Week 3 this year was kind of like business as usual. With four total interceptions against the Eagles since 2020, Diggs is tied with Jackson for the most by a single player against a single opponent in that span. At this point, it feels like the only way Diggs — who, incidentally, reminds me of former Cowboys great Everson Walls — won’t log an interception in the Week 18 rematch is if he’s resting for the playoffs.
Next meeting: Week 18 in Philadelphia.
Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter.
Source: Read Full Article