Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a one as the top-seeded Green Bay Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. He will play a conference championship game at home for the first time since 2008.
The Packers and Rams played in front of 8,456 fans at Lambeau Field, it was the first time this season playing in front of fans amid snow flurries.
“I’m definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we’ve been through,” said Rodgers. “It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.”
Green Bay (14-3) reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in seven seasons as they try to grasp their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first NFC title contest at Lambeau Field since hosting the game in the 2007 season.
The Packers won the Super Bowl for the 2010 season as the NFC’s No. 6 seed, and has lost at Seattle, Atlanta, and San Francisco in its last three conference championship game appearances.
Green Bay scored on each of their first five series and led 25-10 early in the third quarter.
After Los Angeles (11-7) finally forced a punt halfway through the third quarter, they capitalized with Cam Akers’ 7-touchdown run on a direct snap. They trimmed it to 25-18 with a cute gadget 2-point conversion: Van Jefferson caught a pass from Goff and lateraled to Akers, who walked into the end zone.
“Definitely not happy,” Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. “A lot of the guys feel like it’s on them. ‘I messed up, or I failed you.’ Everybody had their hand in it. We just weren’t clicking on all cylinders.”
Green Bay, who rushed for 188 yards and accumulated 484 total yards, advance to the NFC championship game next weekend at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field against the winner of Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. It will be Rodgers’s fifth NFC title game appearance but his first at home.
Packers running back Aaron Jones had 99 rushing yards on 14 carries, including a backbreaking 60-yard dash on the Packers’ first play of the second half. When Jones ended Green Bay got possession with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Packers had taken a 19-10 first-half lead on two Mason Crosby field goals, nifty scrambling for a 1-yard touchdown run by Rodgers and a 1-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers, who completed 23 of 36 passes for 296 yards, to wide receiver Davante Adams, who caught nine passes for 66 yards.
Rodgers helped Green Bay’s potent offense overpower the Rams’ shooting down the defense for much of the day. The Packers didn’t allow any sacks despite playing without left tackle David Bakhtiari, while the Packers sacked Jared Goff four times.
Rams quarterback Goff, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown was out of sync in the first half of the game. Perhaps it was because he was without one of his top receivers, Cooper Kupp, who missed the game with a knee injury. But at the start of the second half, Goff completed six consecutive passes for 51 yards.
“I really thought that was going to be our chance to get back and potentially go drive and score and tie the football game up, and you never know what happens from there,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
In the fourth quarter, the Packers hammered the middle of the Rams defensive line with running plays for much of one possession, Rodgers audibled at the line of scrimmage on second down to call a deep pass to wide receiver Allen Lazard. Rodgers began the play with a backfield play-action fake and then he hit Lazard, who split two defenders and caught a dart in the open field for a 58-yard touchdown.
The score put the Packers ahead, 32-18, with under seven minutes remaining in the contest. Los Angeles did not get past the Green Bay 47-yard line in the game’s closing minutes.
That crowd chanted “M! V! P!” during the closing minutes to salute Rodgers.
“It’s hard to really put into words how special that feeling is, but you can feel it,” Rodgers said. “It’s so palpable. You can feel the energy in the stadium. It’s just different. It’s different playing in front of a crowd. It’s a little more special and obviously more sweet.”
– The Packers dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 191 total yards and not allowing a sack.
– The offense was terrific converting eight third downs and scoring touchdowns on three of their first four trips inside the 20-yard line.
– The Packers started fast and never trailed. The offense scored on its first five possessions, and the defense got a three-and-out to start the game and delivered two important late stops.
– The Rams failed to produce a spark or game-changing play on defense. The Packers didn’t have a turnover.
– Big plays were huge. Equanimeous St. Brown caught a 27-yard pass to set up a touchdown, Robert Tonyan caught a 33-yard pass to set up a field goal, Aaron Jones had a 60-yard run to set up a touchdown, and Allen Lazard clinched the game with a 58-yard touchdown.
– The Packers’ pass-rush made plays. Twice, Jared Goff was sacked on third down or fourth down. Two other times, Goff took second-down sacks and the Rams eventually punted.
Packers offensive line: The team’s three running backs rushed for 191 total yards, and Aaron Rodgers wasn’t sacked. Aaron Donald and the Rams’ front line hardly impacted the game.
– The Packers scored 32 points and produced 484 total yards against the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense in points and yards allowed.
– The Rams were 2-for-9 on third down and fourth down. The Packers were 8-for-12 on third down.
– The Packers improved to 11-0 without a turnover in 2020.
– The Packers ran 72 plays (compared to 50 for the Rams) and held the ball for over 36 minutes.
– Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan, two key complementary weapons, combined for eight catches, 156 yards, and a touchdown.
– Aaron Jones produced 113 total yards on just 15 touches.
– Aaron Donald finished with one tackle. No sacks, no quarterback hits.
The Rams’ season is over.
The Packers host either the New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 24.