GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers are hosting the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC divisional playoff game on Saturday at Lambeau Field. Follow along here all day for updates.
Packers 32, Rams 18
Packers 32, Rams 18 (6:52 remaining)
The Packers are less than 7 minutes from hosting the NFC Championship Game. Aaron Rodgers faked the handoff to Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard got behind safety Jordan Fuller for a 58 yard touchdown. Lazard made a fingertips catch at the 25 and outran the Rams for what might be the clinching score.
Packers 25, Rams 18 (8:53 remaining)
Aaron Rodgers, the presumptive MVP, made his biggest play of the season. Linebacker Troy Reeder popped AJ Dillon and forced a fumble. Rodgers picked up the loose ball, not only preventing a turnover but turning the play into positive yardage. Dillon walked slowly off the field and went inside the blue medical tent.
Packers 25, Rams 18 (9:46 remaining)
The Rams had the ball with a chance to drive to the tying score but Kenny Clark’s second-down sack put an end to that. Green Bay forced a punt and will start at its 27.
By the way, there are 7,439 paying customers and 8,456 fans here in total.
Packers 25, Rams 18 (1:41 remaining)
Will the Packers missed the blown opportunities on the previous drive? Suddenly, the Rams have pulled within a touchdown on a clutch and too-easy 79-yard scoring march. The Rams faced only one third down on the drive – a third-and-1 that Jared Goff converted with a 16-yard completion to Van Jefferson. On the touchdown, Cam Akers lined up as wildcat quarterback and plowed through one-handed linebacker Krys Barnes. On the two-point play, the Rams got tricky, with Goff throwing in the flat to Robert Woods and Woods lateraling to Akers for the two.
Packers 25, Rams 10 (7:26 remaining)
The Packers will have to finish this game rather than spending the final 22 minutes celebrating. On second-and-17 from the 8, Aaron Rodgers missed a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling for what should have been a 92-yard touchdown. Moments later, Allen Lazard dropped what might have been a 60-yard touchdown.
Packers 25, Rams 10 (12:10 remaining)
Aaron Jones did most of the work on the touchdown drive. On the first play, he burst through a hole up the middle for a gain of 60. All-Pro center Corey Linsley blocked safety John Johnson, and Jones was off to the races. Linebacker Troy Reeder had a chance to stop Jones just past midfield but couldn’t do so, and Rodgers finally went out of bounds at the 15. On second-and-goal from the 1, he broke Reeder’s tackle attempt and backed his way into the end zone. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t find anyone open on the two-point play before throwing incomplete to Jones vs. tight coverage.
Packers 19, Rams 10 (0:00 remaining)
The Packers drove 54 yards in five plays in just 29 seconds to make it a two-score game at halftime. Starting at their 25, Davante Adams used a double move vs. Darious Williams for a gain of 21. On the next play, Aaron Rodgers scrambled around long enough for tight end Robert Tonyan to get open deep for a gain of 33. The Packers were fortunate to score. Rodgers threw two bad passes. Troy Hill dropped an end-zone interception on the first and Marquez Valdes-Scantling did well to prevent an interception by John Johnson on the second.
Still, it’s a nine-point lead and the Packers will get the ball to start the second half. Rodgers is 14-of-20 for 169 yards with one touchdown and a 112.3 rating. Green Bay has a 38-22 edge in plays.
Injury update: With the second half about to start, punter JK Scott is warming up as the kicker. Mason Crosby was injured on the failed extra point in the second quarter. Just before the Rams kicked off to start the second half, Crosby arrived on the sideline.
Packers 16, Rams 10 (29 seconds remaining)
Jared Goff threw a 4-yard touchdown to rookie Van Jefferson to get the Rams within one score just before halftime. Four consecutive runs by Cam Akers and a 21-yard completion to Josh Reynolds got the Rams to the Packers’ 21. Goff is 9-of-10 for 91 yards and the touchdown, good for a 137.9 passer rating.
Packers 16, Rams 3 (3:29 remaining)
Aaron Rodgers, at age 37, showed he can run when he wants. On third-and-goal from outside the 1, he faked the handoff to Aaron Jones and tried to boot to the right. Linebacker Leonard Floyd had Rodgers sealed. So, Rodgers froze Floyd with a pump fake, then sprinted to the corner of the end zone, just beating safety John Johnson for the score. With “MVP” chants filling the stadium, Hunter Bradley’s bad snap doomed the point after.
Injury update: After the ensuing kickoff, linebacker Krys Barnes returned with a cast on his left hand.
Packers 10, Rams 3 (11:37 remaining)
A 14-play, 84-yard drive resulted in the go-ahead touchdown. On third-and-goal from the 1, Davante Adams motioned left and then motioned hard to the right. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, matching Adams on the play, couldn’t cover that much ground. Rodgers threw a fastball to Adams for the touchdown. A big play was a personal foul on defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who grabbed left guard Elgton Jenkins by the facemask after the whistle. That turned what would have been a third-and-7 into a first down at the Rams’ 21.
Packers 3, Rams 3 (0:00 remaining)
Injury update: With Green Bay’s offense on the field, linebacker Krys Barnes sprinted to the locker room. He has a thumb injury and is questionable to return.
Packers 3, Rams 3 (4:36 remaining)
Matt Gay tied the game with a 37-yard field goal. The Rams hit for big plays on back-to-back snaps, with Jared Goff connecting on seam routes to Josh Reynolds for 28 yards and Robert Woods for 19. The Rams kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from the 14 – they actually needed about 2 feet – but right guard Austin Corbett was flagged for a false start.
Packers 3, Rams 0 (8:39 remaining)
After an emphatic three-and-out by Green Bay’s defense to start the game, the Packers drove to a 24-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to strike first. The big play came when Aaron Rodgers caught the Rams changing personnel before a third-and-7. Rodgers got the offense quickly to the line and hit Equanimeous St. Brown for a catch-and-run gain of 27 to the 4. However, Aaron Jones was stuffed on first down, Rodgers threw too high to Marquez Valdes-Scantling on second down and linebacker Troy Reeder broke up a pass to Allen Lazard near the goal line on third down.
Green Bay’s offense has taken flight in Year 2 for coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It led the NFL in scoring, going from 23.5 points per game to 31.8, on the strength of exceptional play in the red zone and on third down.
On third down, the Packers went from a 23rd-ranked 36.0 percent conversion rate last year to a second-ranked 49.4 percent this year. In the red zone, they went from an eighth-ranked 64.0 percent touchdowns to a top-ranked 80.0 percent touchdowns.
“I just think there’s been more consistency in terms of some of the concepts we’ve been able to practice throughout the course of the season,” LaFleur said. “Not always getting them called, but more carryover from game plan to game plan, but also our players’ understanding of what it is we’re trying to get done and their ability to go out and execute. I just think that everybody is one the same page and there’s a lot of guys that are playing at a high level. That certainly makes it easier, because it doesn’t really matter what you have drawn up if the guys can’t go out there and (win their) one-on-one battles.”
Here's the tale of the tape:
Green Bay’s offense: No. 2 third down, No. 1 red zone. Los Angeles’ defense: No. 3 third down, No. 12 red zone.
Los Angeles’ offense: No. 12 third down, No. 19 red zone. Green Bay’s defense: No. 10 third down, No. 8 red zone.
There Will Be Fans
With falling COVID rates in the area, the Packers will have ticketed fans - 6,000 of them - for the first time all season.
"The guys get excited the more people that are in the stands," LaFleur said. "I definitely think that the energy that you feel in the games where we have played in front of more people, that’s real. Hopefully, everybody that comes to the game on Saturday is nice and loud for us and get excited."
Everyone knows the big matchups (and if you somehow don’t, scroll down for links). Green Bay’s offense vs. Los Angeles’ defense in general, and Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey and the offensive line vs. Aaron Donald, in particular.
It’s the other side of the ball that will win this game. The Rams’ offense is not good. It hasn’t been for most of the season and, now, quarterback Jared Goff is dealing with a surgically repaired thumb and top receiver Cooper Kupp is inactive. Green Bay’s defense finished strong. That’s the advantage that will carry the Packers to next week’s NFC Championship Game.
Packers 24, Rams 13 (Bill’s record: 13-3).
The Packers are mostly healthy after their first-round bye. The Rams, however, will be without their top receiver and starting left guard.
The Big Matchups
– No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense: Who has advantage in playoff history?
– Can the Packers stop Donald from wrecking the game plan? “You can’t put a corner speed on a 295-pound man and say he’s normal. He can do just about anything when he wants,” Packers defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery said.
– For all the talk about the Packers’ offense vs. the Rams’ defense, the other side of the ball might tell the tale.