The Green Bay Packers will host the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2007 after eliminating the Los Angeles Rams with a 32-18 win on Saturday at Lambeau Field.
Offense: The offensive line
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers called his offensive line the stars of the game and it’s impossible to disagree. Going up against one of the best defensive fronts in football, the Packers owned the line of scrimmage.
The Rams came into the playoffs having not allowed any team to run for more than 136 yards in a game this year. The Packers put up 188 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. No offense had gained more than 390 yards against LA this season but Green Bay put up 484 yards. Then there is the fact that one of the saltiest defenses in getting after the quarterback, ranking second in sacks this year, hit Rodgers just once and he wasn’t sacked.
While it must be acknowledged that All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not 100%, that shouldn’t take anything away from Green Bay’s dominance in the trenches.
Defense: Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark
It was somewhat of a hit or miss game for the defense as the Rams alternated punting or scoring on their first six possessions. But when the Packers needed a stop defensively, they got it.
Up by seven in the fourth quarter, Clark came through with a huge sack that eventually forced a punt. And then, after Green Bay made it a two-score game, Gary came up with the game-clinching sack on fourth down.
The duo combined for three sacks, two tackles for loss and five quarterback hits.
As a defense, the Packers held the Rams to just 2-for-8 on third down and 244 total yards.
“My boy Davante Adams said I’m him. These boys different. It’s different when you coming into that frozen tundra man. Number 1 offense in the league for a reason.”⁰ – Anthony Davis’ reaction to Packers beating the Rams pic.twitter.com/M41jpowbEV
— Linebacker Krys Barnes suffered a hand injury in the first half. He returned but had to wear a big cast on his left hand. The rookie ended up leading the Packers with 10 tackles.
— Kicker Mason Crosby suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the second quarter while running with the ball after a botched snap on an extra point. Crosby was late coming out of the locker room after halftime but he was able to stay in the game.
— Running back AJ Dillon left the game in the second quarter with what was being called a quad injury. He did not return.
— Marquez Valdes-Scantling stat line won’t blow you away but he had one of the biggest plays of the game. It came on third-and-3 and the Packers leading 25-18 in the fourth quarter. Rodgers threw a little behind him on a wide receiver screen. He made one guy miss and dove ahead for a first down. Two plays later the Packers hit on a long touchdown pass for what proved to be the knockout punch.
— That punch came courtesy of Rodgers to Allen Lazard on a 58-yard score. Lazard had a chance for a big play in the third quarter but just couldn’t hold on. However, Rodgers’ trust in all of his skill players this year has been a strength of the offense and he was more than willing to give Lazard another chance, which he paid him back for. Lazard finished with 96 yards on four catches.
— For the first time this year the Packers sold tickets to the general public. The announced attendance was 8,456, but many of the players said it felt like there were a lot more in Lambeau Field than that. Several also mentioned the possibility of having more during next week’s NFC title game.
Inside the Numbers
5 — That’s how many NFC title games the Packers will have played in over the last 11 seasons when they take the field next week. It will be the first at home since Rodgers took over as the starting quarterback in 2008.
66 — That’s how many yards receiving Davante Adams had. It moved him past Antonio Freeman for the most postseason receiving yards in team history.
296 — That’s how many yards Rodgers had throwing in the game. It moved him past Brett Favre for the most postseason passing yards in team history.
Jaire Alexander played 31 coverage snaps and was the nearest defender on 3 targets per Next Gen Stats. The Rams had -3 yards on 1 reception when Alexander was nearest defender in the game.