Green Bay Packers: 8 Quick Observations from Divisional Round Win

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 16: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to Davante Adams #17 in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 16, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 16: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to Davante Adams #17 in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 16, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

I’d say that the Green Bay Packers’ performance in the NFC Divisional Round pretty much summed up their season.

We saw the offense dominate for the most part, although they went through a lull. The defense was frustrating at times, but in the end, they got the job done. And lastly, the special teams unit was problematic.

But most importantly, they came away with the win and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, which will be played at Lambeau Field, in case you had forgotten.

Now that the dust has settled, I’ve now had the opportunity to go back and rewatch the game, and as always, I’ve come away with my quick observations from Green Bay’s performance.

Run. Run. Run.

The Rams base defense plays with a light box and relies heavily on their defensive front to stop the run or create pressure, which they’ve been very good at all season. However, the Packers saw this as something they could take advantage of.

From the start of the game to the end, it was clear that Green Bay wanted to run the ball between the tackles, and they were very successful in doing so. The trio of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and AJ Dillon ran for 191 yards on 32 carries at over five yards per rush and with a touchdown.

What do we make of the Packers’ defense?

When you’re watching the game live, it feels like there are so many frustrating moments. Mike Pettine’s patented soft zone coverage allowed many easy completions for Jared Goff, especially over the middle, and Cam Akers averaged five yards per carry.

But as has been the case, when things are all said and done, the final defensive numbers show a fairly dominant performance. Los Angeles finished the game with only 18 points and 244 total yards on only 4.9 yards per play. The Packers also had four sacks, and when the Rams didn’t score, their drives were quite short.

In the heat of the moment, there are times you want to pull your hair out in frustration, but more times than not, over the last two months of football, the defense has contained their opponent.

Third downs were the difference

Success on third downs can often be the difference between a win and a loss, and they were, without a doubt, a major contributor in this game. On the one hand, you had the Green Bay Packers, who were an impressive 8/12 on third-down conversion attempts. For some context, Green Bay led the NFL in third-down conversion rate at 50.5 percent, their rate against the Rams was 66.7 percent.

The Rams, however, struggled mightily. They converted only 2/9 third-down conversion attempts and were 0/1 on fourth downs as well. It’s not rocket science if you can extend your own drives while forcing the other team to punt, you’re going to win football games. And that’s exactly what the Green Bay Packers did.

Special Teams–yikes

I mean, what else is there to say at this point? This unit cannot get out of its own way. Tavon Austin misplayed a punt, Malik Taylor made some questionable kick return attempts, and then there was the botched extra point snap that led to Mason Crosby injuring his shoulder. On top of that, JK Scott is really struggling as well. I guess it just is what it is, and the Green Bay Packers’ offense and defense will have to overcome.

Spreading the ball around

Through pre-snap motion, moving Davante Adams around, and of course, Adams just being that good, he was still able to haul in nine receptions for 66 yards with a touchdown. However, this wasn’t the typical dominant Adams’ performance, so others needed to step up in the passing game. And as has been the case all year for this offense, it wasn’t just one player but rather a collective effort.

Allen Lazard had four receptions for 96 yards, including the touchdown that put this game away. Robert Tonyan had four catches for 60 yards, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling had four for 33. Equanimeous St. Brown and Aaron Jones also added receptions of 27 and 14 yards, respectively.

For a team that has been criticized non-stop for their “lack of depth” at receiver, it’s poetic that in the playoffs, they were able to get contributions from six different pass catchers and total nearly 300 yards against the NFL’s top-scoring defense.

The best OL in the league

After the game, Aaron Rodgers summed it up best by saying that the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line were “the stars of the game tonight.” What an absolutely dominant performance.

As I already mentioned, the Packers totaled nearly 200 rushing yards, and in the passing game, Rodgers had plenty of time and was barely touched. In fact, the Rams registered only one quarterback hit the entire game, according to ESPN.

The interior offensive line, particularly Elgton Jenkins, did an excellent job on Aaron Donald, whose name we hardly heard during the game. Billy Turner was once again rock solid at left tackle, and we need to give plenty of love to Rick Wagner as well, who was oftentimes matched up against Leonard Floyd. Floyd did record 10.5 sacks this season, but Wagner shut him down.

We are running out of words to describe just how good this unit has been this season, especially with all of the movement and injuries that have taken place. Losing a player like David Bakhtiari is always going to hurt, but this unit is still more than capable of winning a Super Bowl.

No one can stop this offense

This matchup between the Green Bay Packers’ top-scoring offense and the Rams’ top-scoring defense was discussed at length all week. However, it wasn’t a particularly close matchup as the Packers dominated for much of the game.

When it was all said and done, Green Bay totaled nearly 500 yards of offense and 32 points against a unit that allowed on average less than 19 points per game. Green Bay controlled the clock, holding the ball for over 36 minutes, they averaged 6.7 yards per play, and as I already discussed, they were incredibly efficient on third downs.

Those are just a few of the numbers that show what a dominant performance it was, and if there was any doubt about how good this Packers’ offense is, well, that should be laid to rest. After the game, Davante Adams was asked, who can stop this offense? To which Adams replied, “nobody.”

And he’s right.

Next. Instant Takeaways from Divisional Round Win. dark

Pass rush came up big when it mattered

This wasn’t a game where the Green Bay Packers’ pass rush took over, but they came up with some big plays when it mattered most. Green Bay tallied four sacks, with two of them coming on second downs that led to third and longs and eventually two punts. Goff was also sacked on a third-down conversion attempt as well as a fourth-down conversion attempt. Both times, in fact, by Rashan Gary.