The game was won on the Packers’ final possession of the first half and opening possession of the second. After settling for a field goal to make it 10-3 with 3:25 to go until halftime, the offense got it back after the defense forced a three-and-out punt, and Rodgers went to work. First, he threw a rocket to Nelson to pick up 22 yards to start the drive. On the next play, he threw a strike to Greg Jennings for another 14. And then, after a play-action fake to fullback John Kuhn, he whipped a 23-yard laser to Nelson down the right side while on the run, setting up first-and-goal from the Minnesota 3. Kuhn then barreled in from there on a shotgun draw and it was 17-3.
“A lot of times in those 2-minute drives, they're often keyed by a good first play of the drive and we had a completion to Jordy that kind of got things going for us,” said Rodgers, who finished the night having completed 22 of 33 passes for 274 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions (104.9 rating) to win, oddly enough, his first playoff game at Lambeau Field. “And then we just moved the ball from there. The first play is often the tell-tale play of what you're going to do on the drive. We had a good conversion there and just kept rolling."
Right through halftime, as it turned out. On the opening possession of the third quarter, Rodgers converted a third-and-2 with a 9-yard strike to James Jones, then picked up a third-and-4 by connecting with Jones again on a 19-yarder. Another checkdown to Harris gained 14 and got the Packers into the red zone, and after a fourth-down too-many-men-on-the-field penalty on the Vikings set up first-and-goal at the 9, Rodgers’ nifty footwork allowed a potentially problematic screen play to Kuhn wind up as a 9-yard TD.
“I’m always going to tell you, I think he’s the best player in the league,” left guard T.J. Lang said. “Adrian Peterson probably a close second. But Aaron’s a guy that really, no matter what situation you get in, he’s always able to make a big play for you. That’s just the type of player he is. No matter what the situation is, you never lose faith, never lose hope. Any second, he can make a big play. It’s a lot of fun playing with a guy like that.”
The game was essentially over after that. Webb was overmatched – only a garbage-time 50-yard touchdown to a wide open Michael Jenkins on a busted Packers coverage allowed for a slight cosmetic improvement in the score – and that allowed the Packers to coast home. While they’ll need to do more against the 49ers, it was enough on this night. If their offense and defense both can be “on” simultaneously, look out.
“For whatever reason there, the last 25 minutes of that game, we barely got any production. We’re going to have to find a way to finish better. Thankfully, our defense played lights-out today,” Lang said.
“As a team, you’ve got to feel good. It was a big win, especially after a tough loss to these guys last week. You’ve got to feel good as a team. I know our defense is probably feeling a lot better than the offense. Offensively, we just half the game played good and half the game we didn’t play up to our standard. We’ve got to gain some confidence back in practice. But as a team, big win for us today. Got us a little momentum back that we lost last week. The team morale is good; offensively, we understand we have to play better.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.