The NFC Divisional Game between the Packers and the Falcons was a matchup of very evenly matched teams. And then the Packers opened the floodgates, swept the leg, and otherwise smashed the Falcons into next season in a stunning 48-21 knockout punch.
Season recap after the jump.
Bears 20, Packers 17: Poor play by the Packers allows the Bears to stay in the game, and the Bears win a game the Packers would love to have back.
Packers 28, Detroit 26: Packers do just enough to win, but this game tastes bad afterwards.
Redskins 16, Packers 13: Rodgers knocked out in OT, another game the Packers would love to have back.
Dolphins 23, Packers 20: Packers can't close out Dolphins in regulation and lose heartbreaker at home.
Packers 28, Vikings 24: Packers finally close out an opponent, with no small amount of help from a certain QB 4's interceptions.
Packers 45, Cowboys 7: Wade Phillips gets axed after a horrible performance.
Packers 31, Vikings 3: Packers thwart unfounded revenge AND sweep the Vikings for the first time since 2007.
Falcons 20, Packers 17: ST can't stop big kick return, and defense can't stop Falcons from marching into FG range for the game-winner after an epic drive of their own.
Packers 34, 49ers 16: A game that was too close for comfort in the 1st half turned into a 2nd half blowout.
Lions 7, Packers 3: Poor offensive effort leads to a Detroit win, their first of 4 consecutive wins to close out the season.
Packers 45, Giants 17: Packers take control of their own destiny with blowout of the Giants.
Packers 10, Bears 3: Packers secure 6th seed in NFC playoffs.
Packers 21, Eagles 16: Tramon Williams intercepts Michael Vick in the endzone to send the Packers to Atlanta.
Packers 48, Falcons 21: Tramon Williams for Heisman
Passing: Aaron Rodgers was almost perfect. He went 31 of 36 passing for 366 yards, with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Excellent there, but Rodgers took a pair of ugly sacks for 20 yards lost.
Grade: A+. Best playoff game ever?
Rushing: James Starks had 66 yards rushing...but he achieved that on 25 carries, leaving him with an atrocious 2.6 YPC. Not the stuff of legend. Brandon Jackson's lone rushing attempt of the game got 13 yards. Rodgers and Kuhn both had rushing touchdowns.
Grade: C+. 2.6 YPC by your leading rusher is just awful, rookie or not. Starks did get some yardage, but his first carry of the game was a 4 yard loss.
Receiving: 4 receivers had 75 yards receiving. James Jones, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson...the spread offense the Packers used was alarmingly successful. James Jones, after getting shut down in the first quarter, had a great 2nd quarter
Grade: A. That AWFUL fumble by Greg Jennings to start things out probably accounts for this more than anything, but he did redeem himself by catching 7 more passes and eclipsing 100 yards receiving.
Pass Blocking: This area was a little trouble. Rodgers had to move around quite a bit and got sacked twice, losing 20 yards. But when the line had to hold, it did, allowing Rodgers the room he needed to pass.
Grade: B. Definitely an area to improve on, considering the Packers face the Bears DL next week.
Run Blocking: This was not a good area by any means. The Falcons got a LOT of penetration on run plays, which hardly allowed Starks and Kuhn any room to work with. This is definitely another area to improve on.
Grade: C. The sad thing I I don't see this getting better. The Packers play a very good Bears defense next week, and should they survive to the Super Bowl, face a deadly Steeler run defense or a dangerous Jets defense.
Grading the Offense as a Whole: A. The passing game more than made up for the shortcomings in the running game.
Pass Rushing: Excellent work here. The Packers forced Matt Ryan into misreads and sacked him 5 times. Keeping Ryan off-balance definitely worked, but Ryan completed 69% of his passes nonetheless. B.J. Raji, Charles Woodson, and C.J. Wilson each had a sack, and Clay Matthews had 2 sacks.
Grade: A. Ryan simply didn't look comfortable against the pass rush.
Run Stopping: After an early touchdown by Michael Turner, the Packers put the clamps on the Packers running game. Turner had 39 yards on 10 carries (3.9 YPC) but became less and less of a factor as the Packers put the hammer on the Falcons.
Grade: B+. After a poor start, the Packers eliminated the Falcon running game as a factor.
Pass Coverage: Some flaws here as well (Ryan completed 69% of his pass attempts), but an overall good game. Tramon Williams intercepted Ryan in the endzone, and returned another interception for a touchdown right before the half, swinging the game decisively in the Packers' favor. Charlie Peprah forced a fumble as well.
Grade: B+. While the Packers didn't entirely shut down the Falcon passing game, they did a good job making Ryan pay for his bad passes.
Grading the Defense as a Whole: A-. The run defense is definitely a questionable area; the Packers took such a large lead on the Falcons that they couldn't run the ball in the hopes of coming back, but it seems that after a poor start, the Packers shut down Michael Turner.
End of the Day: The Packers put together a solid game, and won the turnover battle 4 to 1.
Shout-outs: Tramon Williams, who broke the game open with a huge pair of interceptions, Clay Matthews, who sacked Matt Ryan twice, and Aaron Rodgers, who put together an incredible game.
Next Week: 1/22/11 @ Chicago Bears