The Green Bay Packers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 on Saturday evening to advance to the NFC Championship next Sunday. Aaron Rodgers will host an NFC Championship for the first time in his career. The much anticipated matchup of the number one offense (Packers) vs the number one defense (Rams) and for the most part, the defense faltered.
The Packers entered half time up 19-10. They exploded in the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal. Early in the second, Rodgers found Davante Adams in the corner of the endzone when Adams beat all-pro corner Jalen Ramsey. Later on, Rodgers made pass rusher Leonard Floyd look silly on an impressive pump fake for a one-yard touchdown rush. That touchdown gave the Packers a 16-3 lead. The defense constantly shut down Jared Goff and the Rams offense throughout the first half. Goff and the offense scored their lone touchdown late in the first half, running a two minute offense. The Rams gave the Rodgers too much time though. He took the Packers offense down the field and Crosby hit a 39 yard field goal to end the half.
While the Packers played a near perfect first half, the second half started the same. The first play of the second half, Jones popped up the middle for a 60 yard run to the Rams 15. Jones later took it in to the end zone for a one yard touchdown run. The Packers grew their lead to 25-10. This game suddenly felt like a cake-walk for the Packers. They scored on their first five possessions. Give respect to the Rams and their top ranked defense. They were able to shut down Rodgers and the offense for most of the second half after their first drive, not allowing the Packers to score until later in the fourth quarter.
The Rams offense woke up in the second half, led by Goff, who finished the game 21-27 for 174 yard and a touchdown. Rookie running back Cam Akers ran out of the wildcat to rush for a 7 yard touchdown run to make it a one-score game in the third quarter. Akers finished with 90 yards rushing on 18 carries.
The Packers defense constantly pressured Goff, sacking him four times. The thumb injury did not seem to bother Goff too much as he was able to make some pin point throws throughout the game, but they were far too few in between.
Rodgers finished with an impressive stat-line. He had 296 yards passing on 23 completions, with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Aaron Jones was one yard shy of 100 on the ground, but did run one in. Jamal Williams was not to be outshone by Jones. He had 65 yards on 12 carries (5.4). Adams, Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan had their way with the Rams secondary. Lazard had 4 receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Adams also had a touchdown reception with 9 catches and 66 yards. The 3rd-year breakout tight end, Tonyan had four catches for 60 yards. The Rams top rated defense was not enough to shut down the machine of the Packers offense.
The Packers will play Sunday afternoon against either the New Orleans Saints or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints and Buccaneers play Sunday night. Whoever wins will have to travel to the frozen tundra in the middle of January. The Packers played both the Saints and Bucs in the regular season, defeating the Saints and losing to the Bucs.