Ultimate Packers Game Review

We have the Play of the Game, Player of Game and 20 remarkable numbers that tell the victorious tale of Green Bay's playoff triumph over Dallas. Instead of going with the obvious for the Play of Game, we break down Davante Adams' touchdown. (Andrew Weber/USA TODAY)

Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers’ 26-21 victory over Dallas in Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field.

PLAY OF THE GAME

We’ve got the Dez Bryant play covered here.

However, Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown pass to rookie receiver Davante Adams was just as vital. The Packers were trailing 21-13 and faced a third-and-15 from the Cowboys’ 46 late in the third quarter. Given the strength of Dallas’ running game and its ability to control the clock, the Packers were running low on possessions.

“To me, his touchdown was one of the biggest plays in the game because we needed that,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We were kind of transitioning from the way we played in the first half and the way we were playing in the second half, and I thought that really got us going.”

The Packers lined up with an empty backfield, with Randall Cobb the outside receiver on the left and Jarrett Boykin in a slot to the left. On the right, tight end Andrew Quarless was the inside receiver, Adams was in the middle and Jordy Nelson was on the outside.

In the shotgun, Rodgers got the ball just as the play clock hit 0 seconds. Cornerback Sterling Moore lined up right at the line of scrimmage to challenge Adams. Adams took his route upfield, then made a quick move to get inside position on Moore at about the 43. Adams continued to take the route upfield before breaking across the field right at the first-down marker. Moore tried to get in front of the pass but Rodgers fired a fastball, which Adams caught at the 31.

Adams caught the ball on the run and turned it upfield immediately to lose Moore. At about the 24, Adams made a stutter-step move to set up safety J.J. Wilcox, who was stationed at the 20. With Wilcox leaning inside, Adams took the ball outside — with Adams adding a stiff-arm for good measure. From there, it was a race to the end zone, with Adams beating safety Barry Church to the pylon.

“I knew if I made (Wilcox) think I was going where he was initially going, I could bounce it outside,” Adams said.

It was a game-turning play. Dallas’ next possession ended on back-to-back sacks and a trivial gain on a third-and-long screen. The Packers scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next possession.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Picking Rodgers is too easy. How about the play of cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams? The Packers didn’t do anything special to stop Bryant but Shields and Williams were up to the task, which allowed a safety to come into the box to help deal with running back DeMarco Murray. Bryant caught three passes for 38 yards.

“That’s great,” Williams said. “When you’re playing guys single-high all game long, not many coordinators would do that. Dom (Capers) trusted us. When you’re facing guys like that, you’ve got to feel that a guy’s going to make a play here and there but between me and Sam, we feel that if we get tried too much, you’re going to pay for it. Those are good numbers.”

GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

This has looked like the inevitable NFC Championship Game matchup for the last month-and-a-half. Seattle and Green Bay are both 13-4. The Seahawks have won seven in a row, usually in dominant fashion. The Packers have won eight of their last nine, usually in dominant fashion.

The Seahawks clobbered the Packers 36-16 in Week 1. The Packers are much better on offense than they were in that game, with a powerhouse offensive line and contributions from rookies Adams and Richard Rodgers. However, in the last six regular-season games, Seattle allowed 36 points. Total.

“To be the best, you've got to beat the best,” Rodgers said, “and they're the defending champs. It'll be a good opportunity for us.”

NUMBERS WORTH NOTING

0: Interceptions by Aaron Rodgers. He has thrown 512 passes and tossed 41 touchdown strikes since throwing his last interception at Lambeau Field back on Dec. 2, 2012, vs. Minnesota.

0: Replay challenges issued by Packers coach Mike McCarthy that were overturned during the regular season. Green Bay (0-for-3) and Atlanta (0-for-2) were the only teams to not win a challenge. So, McCarthy picked a good time for his first win.

0: Touchdown catches by Davante Adams, Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers over the final four regular-season games.

1.5: Sacks by linebacker Nick Perry. He had three sacks all season.

3: Touchdown catches by Adams, Quarless and Richard Rodgers against the Cowboys.

3: Catches by Dez Bryant. He caught 88 passes on the season and had three or fewer catches just three times. Against Green Bay in 2013, Bryant caught 11 passes.

7: Catches, for 117 yards, by Adams. Both marks are Packers playoff records by a rookie. Adams had four catches for 76 yards in his last four games, including three for 24 in the last three.

8: Catches, for 116 yards, by Randall Cobb. Edgar Bennett (vs. Dallas in the 1993 playoffs), Antonio Freeman (Super Bowl XXXII) and Jordy Nelson (Super Bowl XLV) hold the franchise record with nine.

10: Penalties, for 87 yards, against the Packers, both season highs.

10: Sacks allowed by the Packers in the last nine games.

10: Wins, in as many regular-season starts, for Tony Romo with a passer rating of at least 100.0. That streak ended with a loss despite his 143.6 rating.

12: Wins, in as many starts, for Aaron Rodgers with a passer rating of at least 100.0, including Sunday’s game, when he finished with a 125.4 rating.

13: Years since the Packers have recovered from a halftime deficit in a playoff game. The Packers trailed 14-10 vs. Dallas; they trailed 14-10 against San Francisco on Jan. 13, 2002.

38: Yards by Bryant. He had less than that in just two games, including the Arizona game in which Romo was sidelined by injury. Against Green Bay in 2013, Bryant had 153 receiving yards.

64.3: Green Bay’s third-down percentage (9-of-14). Only one team converted more than 60 percent against Dallas’ defense all season.

80: Yards after the catch by Adams, according to Packer Report’s tally.

101: Rushing yards by Eddie Lacy. In his last four games, he’s rushed for 97, 99, 100 and 101 yards.

125.4: Rodgers’ passer rating, the second-highest of his playoff career (136.8 at Atlanta in 2010).

157: Yards after the catch on Rodgers’ 24 completions.

315: Yards allowed by the Packers, their fewest since yielding 301 to Chicago in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. In four total playoff games from the 2011 through 2013 seasons, teams averaged 426.0 yards against Green Bay.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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