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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Packers vs. Falcons recap

Ryan Ellerbusch

While I don’t buy Troy Aikman’s comment that head coach Mike McCarthy is an “underrated playcaller,” the Packers’ offense was clicking both on the ground and through the air. Many fans are saying “Super Bowl or Bust” heading into the NFC Championship game behind an impressive defensive performance as well as the offensive fireworks.

Rookie sensation James Starks may be for real and despite rushing the ball 25 times for 66 yards, he had big runs at crucial times in the ballgame. This opened up the passing attack as the Packers gained 26 first downs, including 8 for 12 on third-down conversions. Rodgers was nearly unstoppable in and outside of the pocket avoiding sacks and completing 31 of 36 passes. Wide-receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones both were targeted by Rodgers numerous times and had surprisingly big games with a touchdown apiece.

Sunday’s game in my opinion solidified Clay Matthews as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year with 2 sacks and a fumble recovery along with the play of Tramon Williams and Aaron Rodgers. Williams’ two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and Rodgers’ 4 total touchdowns hopefully will prove to the NFL Pro Bowl committee that they deserve to be recognized by being named to the roster and not just as alternates.

Regarding special teams, the 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was unacceptable and devastating to watch. However, credit the Packers offense once again, Tim Masthay was not given a chance to punt all day and Mason Crosby nailed two of three field goals. To advance to the Super Bowl, winning the turnover margin will be the key for the Packers to punch their ticket to Dallas, Texas for Super Bowl XLV.

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