The Green Bay Packers are just one step away from the Super Bowl
The old adage that great defense beats great offense may no longer apply in today’s NFL.
It certainly wasn’t Lambeau Field on Saturday. And now the Green Bay Packers are just one step away from the 55th Super Bowl.
The Packers ‘top scoring offensive dominated the Los Angeles Rams’ No. 1 defense. The result was a 32-18 Green Bay win in the NFC Divisional Playoffs in front of 8,456 people who were remarkably loud throughout.
Green Bay, the conference number one, improved to 14-3 and rose to the NFC title game for the fifth time since 2010. The Packers face either second-placed New Orleans (13-4) or fifth-placed Tampa Bay (12-5) in the conference title game on January 24th in Green Bay.
“I’ve told all of my teammates we have to kick the door in here,” said Packer’s nose tackling Kenny Clark, who has played two NFC championship games but lost both. “This is my third. Guys don’t even come to one. This is my third NFC championship that I will be participating in. We just have to lock ourselves in, kick in the door, get over the hump and come in. “
The Packers certainly looked like a Super Bowl team in their win over the Rams.
Los Angeles (11: 7) finished the regular season in first place in the league in overall defense, allowed points and pass defense, second in sacks and third in express defense. On the other hand, Green Bay took first place on the scoring offensive, fifth on the overall offensive, eighth on the rushing offensive, and ninth on the pass offensive.
On Saturday, however, LaFleur’s offensive dominated Rams’ defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s unit.
Green Bay scored on his first five ball possession – three touchdowns and two field goals – raced 25:10 in the lead and kept the Rams off the track. The Packers piled 484 yards and Rodgers – the alleged MVP of the NFL – threw two touchdowns and ran for a third.
Aaron Jones led a dominant Green Bay floor game, charging for 99 yards and a touchdown. In total, the Packers ran 188 yards for 36 carries (5.2).
“We’re number 1 on the offensive,” said Allen Lazard at the Packers. “Like I just said, we don’t worry too much about who’s on the other side of the ball. We know who we have on our side of the ball.
“Of course, Coach LaFleur and the coaches do a great job of making a great game plan because (Rodgers) is in charge and everything back there. But I think who we have out there in the field, these 11 guys who are all working together and doing their best to go outside and dominate and I think we did great tonight. “
Green Bay made the most of the NFL # 1 defense, scoring a goal on all four possessions in the first half. The Packers rolled up 243 yards in the first half and held the ball for exactly 19 minutes.
Rodgers completed 14 of 20 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown in the first half.
After the teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter, Rodgers hit Davante Adams with a 1-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter. On a third and a goal from the 1, Adams waved from right to left across the field and then came back all the way to the right.
Rodgers operated with the shotgun, released the ball almost as quickly as it hit his hands, and fired a 1-yard dart at Adams, who, due to the movement, had freed himself from Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
“I think the timing was perfect,” said Adams. “I really had the easy job. It’s just about planning the timing and making sure I’m moving at full speed because this whole area is difficult to cover.
“And the hardest part is turning around and catching the ball that’s inside. That’s probably the hardest part, but even that was easy. I think it was just a great game design and Aaron put the ball out there for me to make a game and I did it. “
The Packers’ next possession, Rodgers channeled his inner Lamar Jackson onto a 1-yard TD run that gave Green Bay a 16-3 lead. Rodgers rolled right and used a pump fake to escape linebacker Leonard Floyd, then slammed John Johnson to the pylon.
The Rams responded with a 9-play, 75-yard drive topped by Jared Goff’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson, who drew Los Angeles within 16-10. But Green Bay’s Mason Crosby drilled a 39-yard field goal in the final game of the first half and the Packers paused 19-10.
Jones was instrumental in giving the Packers a 25-10 lead early in the third quarter. Jones tore off a 60-yard run in the first game of the third quarter, then crowned that drive with a 1-yard touchdown run as the Packers increased their lead to 25-10.
“We’d played a similar game a couple of times and saw how the defense fitted in,” said Jones of his long run. “And they moved the linebacker, which left the center of the field wide open and allowed Corey to climb to safety. So it stayed pretty open and blocked well at the front. “
Towards the end of the third quarter, Rams’ rookie running back Cam Akers took on the Wildcat, took a direct snapshot, and scored a goal from 7 yards. Los Angeles converted the two-point conversion, moving 1:45 from the end of the 25-18 quarter.
The Packers put things away, however, when Rodgers scored Lazard for a 58-yard touchdown 7 minutes from time, giving Green Bay a 32-18 lead. Lazard ran past cornerback Troy Hill, safety Jordan Fuller was late and Rodgers threw a nice ball which Lazard took into the house.
“When the piece came up I must have been thinking of a touchdown,” Rodgers said. “I came up with the fake, really tried to sell it, came up with the fake and saw everyone dig, so I knew both guys jumped on it. Like I said, I threw it in a little more than I wanted and he made a really nice catch, held his feet and put that thing away. That was something very special. “
The Packers are now advancing to the NFC title game for the fifth time since Rodgers became their quarterback in 2008.
Green Bay defeated Chicago 21-14 in 2010 to win the 45th Super Bowl. The Packers lost in Seattle in 2014, Atlanta in 2016, and San Francisco in 2019.
This is the first time the Packers have a home game for the NFC Championship Game during the Rodgers era. And he wants to make the most of it.
“It’s going to be exciting to enjoy and celebrate tonight and then watch the game tomorrow and know the winner is coming to us,” said Rodgers.