If the Green Bay Packers get their running game working on Sunday the same way they did against the Los Angeles Rams’ defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be in a lot of trouble. The Packers rolled up 188 yards on the ground in the Divisional round, taking advantage of light boxes to attack a Rams defense that often sent multiple safeties deep in coverage.
Then, when those safeties approached the line of scrimmage, head coach Matt LaFleur dialed up play-action, which was directly responsible for the score that put the game out of reach. Allen Lazard’s skills as a blocker allow him to become a deep threat when the Packers fake the run, and he finally had his first big breakout game since his early-season injury.
This week, the Packers will face a bit of a different defense from the Buccaneers, one that relies heavily on talent at linebacker to drive its play. But the Bucs, who blitzed Aaron Rodgers into oblivion in week six, have had much less success when bringing extra rushers since then, and the Packers have been more successful countering the blitz. A good day from the run and play-action passing games would be a great way to counter the Buccaneers’ strengths, and one significant concept in the pass game could unlock space within Tampa’s zone-heavy coverages.
Let’s look at some film!
What You Might’ve Missed: The numbers game | Packers.com
Green Bay's offense found open space in the Rams' defense, thanks to LA playing with two deep safeties almost all game. That gave the Packers some numbers advantages in both the run game and the underneath passing game, which they exploited thoroughly.
Rashan Gary’s hot streak continues in playoff win over Rams | Packers Wire
Gary has really turned his light on over the past two months, and especially in the last three games or so. He totaled seven pressures on Saturday in just 22 pass-rushing snaps, and he was able to total 1.5 sacks as well.
Allen Lazard's versatility displayed in Packers Film Room – The Athletic (subscription)
While the numbers game was key to the run, LaFleur dialed up a perfect play-action shot play to get Lazard free in the fourth quarter for his long touchdown that put the game out of reach.
Anatomy of a Super Bowl Berth: How the Packers can throw Sunday | Touchdown Wire
Mark Schofield looks at how the Packers can use some of Bruce Arians' own passing concepts to beat the Bucs' zone defenses. That includes flood concepts in particular, loading up a ton of receivers on one side of the field.
Sarah Thomas to become first woman to officiate at Super Bowl | ESPN
Congratulations to Sarah Thomas on this great honor. She has been one of the best at her job all season long, and it's great to see her justly rewarded for it.
Robber tried to flee in an ambulance, but couldn’t drive it, Hellertown cops say | Lehigh Valley Live
This came as she tried to leave a gas station after stealing two packs of cigarettes and four rolls of Mentos. There's absolutely no way that Mentos are worth going on the lam like this.