Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense let the defense down in a playoff game.
You read that right.
After a scintillating opening touchdown drive, the Packers offense put up a stinker for the rest of the game while the defense played an absolute lights out effort that should have been more than enough but wasn’t as Green Bay’s season ended with a 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
It was almost enough to win until the Green Bay special teams arrived and the doomsday scenario we all feared happened: a miscue that would fatally wound the Packers in the playoffs
A blocked punt returned for a touchdown by San Francisco tied the game at 10-10. Then the offense crapped the bed with a three-and-out with a chance to win the game.
The valiant defense couldn’t get off the field one last time and Robbie Gould remained perfect to send San Francisco to the NFC title game and Green Bay into what could be an offseason of titanic change.
So in the post-mortem, what happened to the Green Bay offense?
After AJ Dillon’s touchdown run put the Packers on the board, the defense got a quick stop that featured a sack from newly activated Za’Darius Smith that whipped the crowd into a frenzy and showed this game had all the makings of a potential route.
When the offense started moving down the field on the next drive, it looked like the blowout was on but when Marcedes Lewis lost the football, apparently the Packers offense lost all their mojo as well. The rest of the first half resulted in all punts except for one drive that stalled in the red zone and the field goal attempt was blocked.
Thankfully the Green Bay defense played out of its mind, let by a breakout performance by Rashan Gary who finished the game with an insane stat line of two sacks, four tackles (THREE of which went for a loss including a critical fourth-down stop that gave Green Bay a chance to ice the game that of course was coughed up like a hairball by Rodgers and the offense.
Speaking of Rodgers, if this was indeed his final game at Lambeau Field as a Packer it was a game to forget as he was off all night and while 20/29 for 225 yards might look good, it really wasn’t. Outside of the opening drive, the offense had no momentum after the Lewis fumble and it was the most embarrassing postseason performance of Rodgers’ career.
The offensive line also didn’t do any favors against San Francisco’s defensive line allowing five sacks as Dennis Kelly in particular struggled all night with Billy Turner at left tackle since David Bakhtiari was inactive.
People are going to blame special teams for the loss, but it should fall more on the shoulders of Rodgers and Matt LaFleur. If the offense is even competent, that blocked punt doesn’t have an impact nearly as much as it did. A stale game plan further exacerbated by receivers who couldn’t get open (no one not named Adams was even targeted until late in the third quarter!) buried this team. The blocked punt just put flowers on the gravesite of this Packers’ season.
Fans who woke up today with Super Bowl dreams will now head to bed with nightmares of what this offseason could bring. There will be time to discuss that later but for now, the season ends with a horror show of a performance.
Depending on how the offseason plays out, this scary picture could just be the opening act of some rough days ahead in Green Bay.