by Mark Metzler
The Green Bay Packers 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday will likely go down as one of the great offensive front games in Packers history.
The Rams were the top defense in the NFL, with a line that was strong against the run and a defensive backfield that was lauded as one of the best. But the Packers line dominated. Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon put up nearly 200 yards rushing, and the line kept Rodgers from getting sacked. Plus, in a battle of bests at their positions, Davante Adams clearly outplayed Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Packers fans will remember the play of Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Corey Linsley, Lucas Patrick and Rick Wagner for years to come. Granted, all-world Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald was hurt, but Jenkins handled him most of the game one-on-one. Tight ends Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan and Dominque Daffney also did a great job opening holes. Tonyan did a nice job catching the ball, as well.
Aaron Rodgers had another good day throwing the ball, connecting on two touchdown passes, one to Adams and one to Allen Lazard, and throwing for nearly 300 yards. He also had one of the best runs of his career. Rodgers showed an outstanding pump fake to get Leonard Floyd off his feet for a 1-yard touchdown run. It was surprising. It certainly was to Floyd.
The touchdown pass to Lazard was redemption after Lazard dropped another pass that would have been a touchdown earlier. Lazard doesn’t drop many. The touchdown pass to Lazard was the key play of the game.
The Packers defense played another good game. They were able to sack Jared Goff four times and hold talented running back Cam Akers in check enough to get the win. The Rams played a good game and were in contention in the fourth quarter until Rodgers hit Lazard. The Packers defensive front played especially well. It was good to see that linebacker Krys Barnes was able to come back into the game after breaking his thumb. And the defensive backfield was more than adequate.
Other than Dillon (and Barnes’ hand), the team came through the game relatively injury free. We’ll have to see how the injury report plays out.
It was good to see more fans in the stands at Lambeau. And it is even better that they will get to see another game, an NFC Championship game. It’s fun for them, and it appears to be fun for the team. The Packers are a better team than they were last year when they lost to San Francisco, and I don’t think there are any other teams in the NFC this year that are as good as the 49ers.
The championship game will be against the ageless Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers lost to the Buccaneers earlier in the year, 38-10, in the only game the Packers really should have lost all year (they found ways to lose to the Colts and Vikings). The Packers were cruising through the first quarter and a half and then fell apart after Rodgers gave up two interceptions. Brady and the Buccaneers took advantage and never let up. Make no mistake, this will be the Packers toughest game of the year, but it will be at Lambeau, and I think the Packers are a better team than they were earlier in the year. The Buccaneers are, too.
On the AFC end of things, it comes down to the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. That should be a great game. If Patrick Mahomes plays for the Chiefs, the Chiefs will win that game.
Two more wins to go. I see them getting the next one against the Buccaneers, 28-23, and making their way to the Super Bowl to play the Chiefs.