Sunday, January 17, 2021

Four Productive Quarters Send Pack to NFC Championship Game

 By Eric Goska

Fans tailgated near Lambeau Field
ahead of the Rams-Packers divisional playoff game. 

The Packers’ offense took no quarter…off.

Green Bay spread the wealth from start to finish as it dismantled Los Angeles and its top-ranked defense 32-18 Saturday at Lambeau Field. In doing so, the Packers established a first in franchise playoff history.

This divisional playoff matchup was billed as irresistible force (GB’s offense) meets an immovable object (LA's defense). That led to the question: Which would prevail with a ticket to the NFC championship game on the line?

No team allowed fewer yards per game (281.9), fewer passing yards per game (190.7), or fewer points (296) during the regular season than did the Rams. No club boasted a higher-rated passing attack (121.5) or scored more points (509) than did the Packers.

Something had to give.

Green Bay commandeered 484 yards and 28 first downs in prevailing by 14 points. It controlled the ball for 36 minutes and 12 seconds while going 8-for-12 on third down.

But those totals don’t speak to the consistency with which the team operated. By quarter, the Green and Gold amassed 108, 135, 129 and 112 yards.

Never in 58 previous playoff games had the team hit or surpassed 100 yards in all four quarters.

How steady was the Pack? They held the upper hand in time of possessions in each 15-minute period. They produced 7, 9, 6, and 6 first downs.

Green Bay ripped off one play of more than 25 yards in each quarter. Those gains – Equanimeous St. Brown (27-yard reception); Robert Tonyan (33-yard grab); Aaron Jones (60-yard run); Allen Lazard (58-yard catch) – all occurred on scoring drives.

Aaron Rodgers and his mates put up points on each of the team’s first five drives, the best start to any postseason game in team history. Then, following consecutive punts, the offense clicked for a touchdown and closed out the game by holding the ball for the final 4:59.

Only five other playoff teams this century registered a four-pack of 100s. The Patriots, with 613 yards of offense in their Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, were the last.

In being so unerringly relentless, Green Bay prevented the Rams from doing the same. Los Angeles failed to gain more than 75 yards in any quarter.

Thus, the Packers became the first playoff team this century to have four 100s while holding their opponent without one.

Even during the regular season, this idea of have and have not has been exceedingly rare. Green Bay has turned the trick just twice since 1944.

The Packers (122, 115, 112, 106) thrashed San Francisco (5, minus-5, 88, 75) by a score of 41-14 on Oct. 23, 1960. Twenty-five years later, the Green and Gold (105, 131, 120, 156) shut out Tampa Bay (21, 22, 9, 13) in the Snow Bowl.

And that’s it. Just twice in the last 77 years have the Pack held four of a kind while their opponent went bust.

Knowing that, don’t expect a repeat performance as Green Bay hosts the NFC championship game. Asking lightning to strike twice in consecutive weeks is asking too much.

The 400 Club

Playoff games in which the Packers gained 400 or more yards.

   Yards     By Quarter                   Date               Opponent      Result
     493       (13-123-184-166-7)     Jan. 10, 2010       Cardinals         GB lost, 45-51 (OT)
     484       (108-135-129-112)       Jan. 16, 2021       Rams                GB won, 32-18
     479       (92-179-151-57)           Jan. 12, 1997        Panthers          GB won, 30-13
     466       (-5-108-216-147)         Jan. 16, 1983        Cowboys          GB lost, 26-37
     442       (80-188-130-44)          Jan. 15, 2011        Falcons            GB won, 48-21
     425       (64-80-156-125)          Jan. 11, 2015        Cowboys          GB won, 26-21
     414       (151-81-98-84)             Jan. 15, 2017        Cowboys          GB won, 34-31
     408       (142-88-126-52)          Jan. 12, 2008       Seahawks        GB won, 42-20
     406       (7-140-125-134)           Jan. 8, 2017         Giants              GB won, 38-13
     403       (107-108-87-101)        Jan. 3, 1999         49ers                GB lost, 27-30
     401       (81-100-101-119)        Dec. 26, 1960       Eagles              GB lost, 13-17


  1. Love the article, especially the 400 club. Wondering what the numbers are for the Pack in the 60's, besides 1960.

  2. Hope you do a follow up article on the disastrous Packer loss from the NFC Championship game Eric. Despite a third quarter comeback and gift interceptions from Brady, the Packers failed to get it done with a FG attempt, rather than trying to get the TD, in the final minutes.