Jrlombardi reviews & grades Packers win over Eagles.
Summary: In a hard fought close win, Packers QB Rodgers got his first postseason victory beating the Eagles 21-16. Rodgers threw three touchdowns using a conservative dink-and-dunk game plan and solid rushing game with rookie RB Starks getting 123 yards.
Game balls: QB Rodgers; RB Starks; CB Williams.
Report Card–Good, Bad, & Ugly: PC vs SE:
Pass Offense—C+ vs B-. While the Packers offense sputtered in the fourth quarter, and missed several big play chances, they were efficient grounding out big scores with timely big runs and third down conversions. While not flawless, Rodgers completed 18-of-27 passes for 180 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, one fumble, and 122.5 passer rating. Rodgers stuck with the conservative dink-and-dunk game plan completing nearly half his passes to the running backs. The Packers had three trips into the Eagles red zone scoring three touchdowns. The three touchdown drives averaged 11 plays, 68 yards and 6:18 minutes. Rodgers handled the Eagles rush well limiting it to two sacks, one knockdown and one hurry.
The wide receivers had one of their worst games collectively with some big drops. Yet, WR Driver made some big catches converting third downs with 7 catches for 56 yards. WR Jones had 2 catches for 9 yards, one big touchdown, and one big drop. WR Jennings had only 1 catch for 8 yards. The running backs collectively were the more efficient passing threat with FB Kuhn had 3 catches for 33 yards and RB Jackson had 2 catches for 27 yards and 1 touchdown.
Rush Offense—A vs A. The Packers rushed for 138 total yards. The entire offensive line had a pretty good game, even rookie RT Bulaga. Since the Eagles employ an undersized defensive line, lousy linebackers and played seven in the box, rookie RB Starks exploited them with his power and quickness. He shredded the Eagles for 123 yards on 23 carries averaging 5.3 yards. Yet, in the final quarter, they relied too much on the run down the stretch helping the Eagles get back into the game. On each offensive series, they would go two short running plays forcing third and long. Then, the Eagles would send a heavy blitz against QB Rodgers forcing an incompletion and stopping the Packers. Thus, in a vanishing 4th quarter, McCarthy’s atrocious game calling led to an imploding Packers offense.
Pass Defense—A- vs B. Eagles QB Vick finished 20 for 36 passing for 292 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Vicks rushed for 33 yards. Matthews, Woodson, Bishop, Walden, and company generally contained Vick for the most of the game getting three sacks. The Packers held the Eagles to 5-of-13 conversions on third downs. While the defense allowed 352 total yards, they made the big plays to win the game.
Rush defense—A vs A. With a stout front seven, the rush defense held the Eagles to 82 yards with 3.9 yards average. While not spectacular, they played fine. RB McCoy had 12 carries for only 46 yards. QB Vicks had only 33 rushing yards on eight scrambling runs. The return of DE Jenkins was noneventful.
Special teams—C+ vs B-. Although he averaged a woeful 36.5 gross yards and 32.8 net yards, Tim Masthay continued to be a late-season difference-maker. He greatly hung and angled a 41-yard punt after the 2-minute warning in the fourth quarter that enabled his coverage unit to corral the dangerous Jackson and draw a holding penalty in the process to start the Eagles at their 34-yard line for their final drive. It was the only return of the game for Jackson. The Packers also didn’t have anything to brag about with their return guys. Williams averaged nine yards in two punt returns. The combination of Starks, Woodson and Shields averaged an anemic 14.7 yards in three kickoff runbacks. CB Underwood committed a costly gaffe on an Eagles punt after their three-and-out to start the game as the rolling football hit his left foot as Underwood was engaged in a block for a turnover. The Packers benefited from two missed field goals by Pro Bowl kicker Akers.
Coaching—B- vs B. Until late in the game, McCarthy’s overall game plan was brilliant executing a balanced solid rushing and adequate passing attacks. The Packers lined up in their tank personnel and played physical football taking pressure away from QB Rodgers. Thus, they successfully used their play action schemes putting together long scoring drives and wearing down the Eagles defense. The Packers had four fumbles losing two to the Eagles with one leading to a touchdown. DC Capers also deserves top marks for his brilliant game plan. Capers outwitted his counterparts at every turn by unleashing blitzes early on Vick and then backing off as the game progressed while still disrupting what the Eagles could do in trying to move the football. The occasional spy tactics did their trick in preventing Vick from breaking outside the tackles and running wild.
Overall Game—A- vs. A (CBS Sportsline). They won on the road in front of a hostile crowd against a good team. And they went out of character to do it as rookie RB James Starks rushed for 123 yards. QB Aaron Rodgers wasn’t great, but he was good enough. The defense accomplished its two main goals containing QB Vick and WR Jackson.