NFC Divisional Round Recap: Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packersby MJ Hurley January 17, 2021 0 comments
The road to Super Bowl 55 runs through Lambeau Field and the red-hot Green Bay Packers. After hearing about the Los Angeles Rams’ number one ranked defense all week, Aaron Rodgers responded by leading the Packers’ offense to 484 yards in their 32-18 win over the Rams. The first 8,456 fans in attendance for a Packers game this season were treated to quite the show.
The Rams kept Green Bay close in the first quarter and Los Angeles was tied 3-3 after the opening quarter. After that, it was all Green Bay. Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur utilized his deadly trio of running backs to the tune of 188 rushing yards. Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and AJ Dillon all contributed in different phases of the game. Jones outpaced opposing running back Cam Akers with 99 yards rushing on 14 carries and a touchdown. Akers produced 90 yards and one touchdown himself.
Green Bay Neutralizes Donald and Ramsey
Asked to give one word to describe the play of the Packers offensive line tonight, Aaron Rodgers said “stellar” and there is no better description. Without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins got under Aaron Donald’s skin early and the line was superb all night.
With incredible attention given to the elite defense of the Rams all week long, Donald and Jalen Ramsey did little to hinder the Packers’ offensive attack. Davante Adams burned Ramsey on a second-quarter goal-line play for Green Bay’s first touchdown.
“The hardest part (about that play) is just turning and catching that ball. Just a great play design, and a great throw by Aaron as well,” said Adams.
Aaron Donald, who was playing through a rib injury, produced only one run block win and zero passing block wins. Donald was on the sideline for more plays than usual, and the Packers took advantage in the run game early and often.
“You all know Donald is a game-changer. One of the best football players in the league and tonight he was not a factor. That says a lot about who they are, my hat is off to them,” said Adams.
With the injury clearly affecting Donald, Aaron Jones also knew what LaFleur would do.
“Once the game started it was like oh yeah, we are going to be able to run,” said Jones.
The Packers dominated in almost every measurable category. With 36:12 time of possession, 28 first downs, 66% efficiency on 3rd down attempts, and 60 percent touchdown ratio in the “Gold Zone”, LaFleur outcoached his friend, Sean McVay in every offensive scheme.
With the Packers still being aware of Ramsey’s big-play capability, Green Bay’s other receivers stepped up big time. Allen Lazard (4 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD), Robert Tonyan (4 catches, 60 yards), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4 catches, 33 yards) all added onto the 9 catches, 66 yards, and a touchdown that Adams produced.
With Ramsey receiving the All-Pro selection, Packers corner Jaire Alexander produced the playoff performance of a lifetime. In 31 coverage snaps, Alexander allowed one catch for -3 yards. With Cooper Kupp out and Jared Goff struggling due to a thumb injury, Mike Pettine put Alexander on the Robert Woods island and dared Jared Goff to beat Green Bay somewhere else.
“You saw a guy that stepped in and did what he could. He made some plays. He did a good job today,” said Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. Goff was 21 for 27, but only 174 yards and one touchdown was not enough to beat the Packers’ dominant offensive performance.
.@tae15adams doing what he does best.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 16, 2021
Adams lost Ramsey on the motion for an easy goal-line score.
.@AaronRodgers12 got him in the air & ran it in!
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 16, 2021
The future NFL MVP showing off his scrambling skills for another goal-line TD.
5️⃣8️⃣ yards to @AllenLazard!
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 17, 2021
The running game paid off for the play-action bomb to Lazard.
The Rams end an exciting season where they were not expected to make a Divisional Round run. Hampered by injuries tonight, Los Angeles still has a bright future with Cam Akers and an elite defensive unit still in place. McVay said after the game that Goff is still their quarterback “right now” which will likely cause Rams fans to ask questions about their team’s future. Either way, an effective game plan and elite defense will keep the Rams in contention in 2021.
Even with Mason Crosby suffering a shoulder injury on a botched extra point and Krys Barnes playing the majority of the game with a club on his left hand, the Packers still dominated in every phase of the game. Health will be important next week with either Tom Brady or Drew Brees coming to town. Aaron Rodgers does not like talking about QB vs. QB matchups, but whoever arrives in Green Bay next Sunday will make it the NFC Championship Game of a lifetime.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images