GREEN BAY — For the fourth time since 2010, the Green Bay Packers will play in the NFC Championship Game. That’s after running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Davante Adams scored twice and the defense held off quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks for a 28-23 win in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs at Lambeau Field.
Offense: Davante Adams
The Packers targeted Adams early and often Sunday night and he delivered. The veteran, long thought of as one of the best route runners in the NFL, showed that on his first touchdown of the night. He took cornerback Tre Flowers inside on what was a fake rub route before breaking back out and Aaron Rodgers found him for an easy 20-yard score. Then, in the third quarter, the two hooked up again for a 40-yard touchdown on another beautiful route from Adams. And then, with Green Bay facing a third-and-8 with 2:19 left and clinging to a 5-point lead, Rodgers dropped a dime on Adams for a 32-yard gain.
Adams ended up with a Packers’ playoff record 160 yards on eight catches and two scores. He also got all the praise in the world from Rodgers afterwards.
“He was on one tonight,” Rodgers said. “He was really crisp with his route running. Just one of those special nights.
Defense: The Smiths
The two free agent additions once again played a big role in helping the Packers get a win. Za’Darius Smith had a pair of sacks and spent much of the first half in the Seahawks backfield. Then, in the second half, it was Preston Smith’s turn. He came up with two sacks, including a huge one on the final Seattle possession that forced a Seattle punt.
The duo combined for the four sacks, eight quarterback hits and two tackles for loss.
Lance Easley says that was caught for a touchdown.
Jared Veldheer said he found out about Bryan Bulaga’s illness the same way we all did with the Packers email update. He said he drove straight to Lambeau to get confirmation and learned he would start right after warmups. #Packers
“Tonight reminds me of the connection Jordy Nelson and I had for so many years where there were some unspoken things we could do without even communicating anything about it. Davante made three or four plays like that tonight. It was pretty fun.”
Rodgers on the two replay reviews
“We kind of got hosed on that first quarter one, so I was hoping we didn’t get hosed again.”
Preston Smith on Russell Wilson: “It was like chasing a chicken in a field with no fence.”
— It appeared the Packers had recovered a fumble at the Seahawks 36-yard line on their first drive of the game, but the officials determined there was no clear recovery by Green Bay. The league sent out a tweet explaining the decision.
— That was not the only controversial call in the game. The other came on third-and-9 late in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks needing a stop for one more chance to win the game. Instead, Rodgers found Jimmy Graham for what was called a 9-yard gain and the game-clinching first down. The play went to review and officials upheld the call.
— Wide receiver Allen Lazard suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return.
— Cornerback Chandon Sullivan (back), cornerback Kevin King (head/neck), defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster (arm/shoulder) and outside linebacker Preston Smith suffered injuries but did return.
— Six players were listed as questionable coming into the game due to an illness going around the team. Three of them were inactive — Danny Vitale, Dexter Williams and Josh Jackson. One was active and played — Tyler Lancaster. Two others were active and did not play — Bryan Bulaga and Alex Light.
— Jared Veldheer started in place of Bulaga at right tackle. It was his first start of the season and it came after he unretired midway through the season. Aaron Rodgers joked with Veldheer during the game about him being retired and now starting a playoff game. Veldheer informed him he was actually in the stands for the Packers opener against the Bears in Chicago.
Inside the Numbers
Aaron Rodgers was 6-6 for 145 yards and 2 TD on throws more than 10 yards downfield. That is his 2nd-most such attempts without an incompletion in his career (7-7 at Vikings in 2013).
That includes 4-4 for 107 yards and 2 TD targeting Davante Adams more than 10 yards downfield.