On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers earned the right to host the NFC Championship Game by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 32-18. Green Bay did so with a defense that stayed light and an offense that mixed up personnel consistently and used three running backs throughout the contest.
When the Rams had the football, they lined up almost exclusively in 11 personnel — one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers. That was a bit of a surprise given that Cooper Kupp was inactive, but the Rams used the trio of Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, and Van Jefferson nearly constantly, usually only switching out their tight ends in Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett.
In response, the Packers largely went with their nickel package, often alternating between a three-man line and a two-man front. That left few snaps for run-stuffers like Damon Harrison, but Green Bay’s pass rush had a tremendous day getting to Jared Goff.
On offense, Green Bay rotated through its running back trio the most of any point this season. With all three players healthy (at least until one suffered a late injury in the fourth quarter), the team got each of them on the field and all were productive in specific roles that put their skill sets to good use.
Here’s a look at the playing time from Saturday’s Divisional Playoff victory.
OFFENSE (75 total plays)
Aaron Rodgers 75
The Packers got a vintage performance from Rodgers on Saturday afternoon, with nearly 300 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Rodgers’ ball placement was occasionally off — his miss to an open Marquez Valdes-Scantling up the left sideline is an example — but he made good decisions throughout the game and was excellent at reading the Rams’ defense.
Rodgers’ final numbers were 23-for-36 for 296 yards and two scores, and his passer rating of 108.1 was good but not exceptional. Perhaps his best play of the game was his pump-fake touchdown run, his first rushing touchdown since the 2010 NFC Championship Game.
Aaron Jones 47, Jamaal Williams 28, AJ Dillon 9
The Packers’ running backs were exceptionally effective in this game. Jones led the way with 14 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown, and he recorded just the third carry of 20-plus yards against the Rams’ defense all year with his 60-yard burst to start the second half. Williams was consistent and effective as a runner as well, carrying 12 times for 65 yards (a 5.4-yard average). In particular, Williams was great on short-yardage situations, as he converted three times on third downs with either one or two yards to go.
Dillon’s carries largely came out of the Packers’ Bronco package, which features him and Jones on the field together. He had six carries for 27 yards, but he was injured and fumbled in the fourth quarter and his status for next week remains uncertain.
Davante Adams 62, Allen Lazard 54, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 36, Equanimeous St. Brown 32, Tavon Austin 1
The Packers got a solidly productive day from Adams, who saw a lot of the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey throughout the game. Adams caught nine of ten targets in the game for 66 yards and a score, and though his yardage numbers don’t pop off the page, he was a problem for the Rams’ defense all day.
Lazard and MVS played tremendously in complementary roles while Ramsey was focused on Adams. Each player caught four passes on eight targets, but the receptions they did have were critical. MVS made a few tremendous plays to move the chains, including converting a third-and-3 on the opening set of downs on the Packers’ final touchdown drive with some nifty yards after the catch on a bubble screen. A few plays later, Rodgers hit Lazard off play-action as the receiver lost two defensive backs on a double move and hauled in a 58-yard touchdown. Lazard’s 96 yards represented his highest mark since week three, when he dropped 146 yards on the Saints.
St. Brown had one catch for 27 yards, with that big gain coming early in the first quarter.
Robert Tonyan 48, Marcedes Lewis 38, Dominique Dafney 20
Like Lazard and MVS, Tonyan made a few nice catches to move the chains, largely being productive on short passes off play-action. However, he also had a big 33-yard grab on a deep crossing route that helped set up the Packers for a field goal at the end of the first half. Lewis and Dafney were exclusively blockers, but helped pave the way for a huge rushing day for the team overall.
Billy Turner 75, Elgton Jenkins 75, Corey Linsley 75, Lucas Patrick 75, Rick Wagner 75
Zero sacks, one quarterback hit allowed, and 188 rushing yards. Those are all the stats you need to know to understand how the Packers’ offensive line played. Jenkins handled Aaron Donald throughout the first half, even keeping his cool and drawing a personal foul penalty from the All-Pro, while the rest of the line remained stout against a tough Rams front.
DEFENSE (53 total plays)
Dean Lowry 47, Kenny Clark 46, Tyler Lancaster 20, Damon Harrison 3, Billy Price 3
The Packers’ pass rush was tremendous on Saturday, and Clark was a big reason for it. He was constantly in Jared Goff’s face, finishing the game with 1.5 sacks. The Rams’ heavy use of 11 personnel (they had three wideouts on the field on about 44 of their 53 snaps) limited playing time for Harrison, but there may be more opportunities for him to contribute next week.
Za’Darius Smith 45, Preston Smith 41, Rashan Gary 33
Joining Clark in the pass rush were Za’Darius Smith and Gary, who each recorded a whopping seven quarterback pressures in the game. Z had one sack while Gary matched Clark with 1.3 and led the team with three hits on Goff. Preston Smith was not as effective in getting to the quarterback, but he did bat down two passes at the line of scrimmage.
Krys Barnes 48, Christian Kirksey 14, Kamal Martin 4
The Packers got nearly a full game from Barnes, but the rookie linebacker broke his thumb in the first half. He missed a few snaps late in the second quarter, then returned wearing a club for the second half. If he had the use of both his hands, he probably would have picked off a Goff pass late, but the club limited his ability to haul it in. As usual, he led the Packers with ten tackles, while Kirksey finished with two stops.
Adrian Amos 53, Darnell Savage 53, Will Redmond 18
The Packers didn’t get any flashy plays from their safeties in this game, but they largely helped keep the Rams to a short passing game.
Jaire Alexander 53, Kevin King 53, Chandon Sullivan 49
With the Rams rolling with three wide receivers on nearly every play, the Packers matched with three corners throughout. Alexander outplayed his counterpart Ramsey, allowing just one reception on three targets into his coverage. That catch was on a wide receiver screen that Alexander blew up for a loss of three yards. King was picked on a bit, but largely tackled well, making eight stops. Sullivan had eight tackles as well.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Henry Black 18, Oren Burks 18, Ty Summers 18, Redmond 17, Martin 16, Dafney 14, Malik Taylor 14, Vernon Scott 14