The Packer Fan Minute

Packers Shoot Down Falcons in Divisional Playoff. Advance to NFC Championship Game on Sunday

The waiting was and is always the hard part when it comes to watching my beloved Packers play. Sitting around all day made me think way to much into this big game. But it was an a amazing game and as Aaron Rodgers trotted off the field, savoring another playoff win, we serenaded him with chants of "Go, Pack, Go!" This wasn't Lambeau Field, but it sure sounded like it. "This probably was my best performance -- the stage we were on, the importance of this game," Rodgers said. "It was a good night." Also the Packers could've left punter Tim Masthay at home. He was never needed.

Behind a hero inspiring type performance from quarterbackAaron Rodgers and a pair of momentous interceptions byTramon Williams, the Packers chalked up another road playoff victory on Saturday night. This one was less dramatic than last week but undoubtedly more impressive, a 48-21 NFC Divisional-round beating of the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons in front of 69,210 fans in what became an awfully quiet Georgia Dome by evening’s end. With the win, the No. 6-seeded Packers advance to next Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against Chicago, start time is 2pm and on FOX, and one win away from a trip to the Super Bowl and two wins away from the league title. To these Packers, the playoff journey is only half over.

The Packers were downright dominant against the Falcons, who under quarterback Matt Ryan had been 20-2 on their home turf over the past three years. But the Packers became just the second No. 6 seed to knock off the No. 1 in the NFC since the league went to this playoff format in 1990 (Philadelphia beating the New York Giants in the 2008 playoffs was the other).

The Packers overcame a couple of early blunders but did so swiftly and efficiently. A fumble by receiver Greg Jennings at the end of a 30-yard gain set up Atlanta’s first score, a 12-yard run by Michael Turner. Then after the Packers answered with Jordy Nelson's 7-yard touchdown to cap an 81-yard drive, Atlanta’s Eric Weems returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for another score and it was 14-7 Falcons early in the second quarter. Weems return was the longest return in post-season history. But the Packers took over from there, stunning and quieting the Georgia Dome crowd with an almost unfathomable 35 unanswered points over the next two quarters. As the offense put together four consecutive touchdown drives of 92, 80, 80 and 50 yards.

One of the most impressive drives was a 92-yard march capped byJohn Kuhn’s 1-yard plunge behind “new” fullback B.J. Raji – sent a message the Packers weren’t going to be rattled on this night, and they went on to thoroughly shake their opponent instead. Rodgers compiled – 31-of-36 for 366 yards with three TDs and no interceptions for a 136.8 rating – but the way he did it. He repeatedly shook free from pressure or spun away from blitzers, buying time and then firing a strike.

As Tramon Williams was streaking down the sideline on his game-changing 70-yard interception return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half on Saturday night, defensive mate B.J. Raji had one thought going through his head. “I was just like, ‘How is this guy not in the Pro Bowl?’” Raji said. Well, Williams still has a good chance to make it to the Pro Bowl as a first alternate this year, but he’s made it impossible to get overlooked again. After preserving the Wild Card win at Philadelphia with an interception in the end zone in the final minute last week, Williams was an even bigger star in the 48-21 NFC Divisional playoff victory at Atlanta.He picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan twice on back-to-back possessions late in the first half, turning the tide of the entire game. The first time he took away a potential go-ahead touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins in the end zone, and then on the second one he not only prevented Roddy White from catching a short pass to set up a field goal, he scored a touchdown going the other way to put the Packers in firm control, up 28-14 at intermission. The 70-yard touchdown return was the second-longest interception return in Green Bay postseason history, behind only the 101-yarder by George Teague in the 1993 Wild Card game at Detroit. With three interceptions in the postseason, Williams already is just one off the Green Bay career postseason record of four, held by Herb Adderley, Craig Newsome and Eugene Robinson.

Heros: Aaron, Tramon, Jordy, Kuhn and James Jones for redeeming himself with a nice TD........they all so stepped up their game.

Boos: One....our Special Teams and a record setting kickoff return against us......Can't let Hester do that to us on Sunday or we are DONE!

Notes: Green Bay rookie RB James Starks followed up his 123-yard performance against Philadelphia with another solid effort: 25 carries for 66 yards. ... The Falcons managed only 45 yards rushing. ... Ryan was sacked five times. ... The Packers were 8 of 12 on third-down conversions, while Atlanta was just 3 of 10.

Let's Go Bear Hunting on Sunday.......The Super Bowl is within our reach, let's GO! PACK GO!

CLICK ON THE BUY NOW LINKS BELOW!

The Packer Fan Archive