In the Packers’ win over the Rams in Week Seven, Aaron Rodgers threw the 150th passing touchdown of his career. He reached the plateau in the second-fewest games (76) in NFL history — 14 games behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino.
The accomplishment is yet another impressive feat Rodgers has achieved. Since he became a full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has had only six games in which he didn’t throw a TD pass.
In the passing era, we could continue to see players reach 150 passing TDs quickly, but it will be awhile, and Rodgers’ torrid pace is hard to match. Lions QB Matthew Stafford is in the best current position to do so (68 TD passes in 36 games), but he has a long way to go. Rodgers has a long way to go himself — he is still 263 passing scores behind Peyton Manning.
We likely won’t see another signalcaller reach 150 career touchdown passes this season, but there are a few who could hit the mark in 2013. Here is the active list of quarterbacks who are next in line to throw 150 career TD passes.
1. Bears QB Jay Cutler / 126 touchdowns in 85 games — Cutler’s injury last season, which cut his campaign off after 10 games, hurt his pass TD total, and he is off to a somewhat slow start this season despite being reunited with WR Brandon Marshall. Cutler should join the club next season, though his last three-TD game came in 2010. He had four of them that season, along with a four-TD game. But he also had five games that year without finding the endzone.
2. Eagles QB Michael Vick / 120 touchdowns in 118 games — Vick’s passing touchdowns-to-games-played ratio is hurt by the games in his career in which he was used primarily as a gadget-type player, like in 2009 with the Eagles upon his return to the NFL. His last three seasons as a starting QB have seen him throw 20, 21 and 18 TD passes. He has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game only six times.
3. Falcons QB Matt Ryan / 112 touchdowns in 69 games — Ryan needs 38 touchdowns in his next seven games — almost six scores per contest — to match Rodgers, but he has a chance of getting into the top five on the list. Johnny Unitas threw 150 TD passes in the fifth-fewest games at 87. Ryan is having his best season to date and has arguably the best receiving tandem in the game. Ryan has thrown two TD passes or more in 35 games in his career.
4. Texans QB Matt Schaub / 108 touchdowns in 109 games — Similar to Vick — but for different reasons — Schaub’s game total is high because he was the holder in the kicking game for Atlanta. Since he became a full-time starter in 2007 with the Texans, Schaub’s touchdowns-to-games ratio is an admirable 102-to-72. Not on Rodgers’ pace, but certainly a better illustration of his talents. It also helped when Schaub tossed 29 touchdowns in 2009.
5. Ravens QB Joe Flacco / 89 touchdowns in 72 games — If Flacco and the Ravens’ offense hadn’t fallen off since the start of the season, he would have a much better pace. Flacco threw six TD passes in the first three games, and has thrown three since, along with four picks. Flacco is young, has a talented young receiver in Torrey Smith and one of the top dual-threat backs in the game in Ray Rice, so he will get there — just not as quickly as Ravens fans might have expected back in September.
6. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick / 83 touchdowns in 65 games — Consider this about Fitzpatrick: In the past three seasons, he has thrown 62 TD passes in 37 games, which is not far off from the pace that Stafford is currently keeping. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, his career did not begin in 2010. The curious trivia about Fitzpatrick this season has been his high touchdown total, which is easy to forget considering his inconsistent play. He has a long-term contract from Buffalo, but he certainly needs to improve his play going forward to stay with the Bills and get to the 150 touchdowns mark with them.