Now that I'm back in town, I can't remember how many times I said "WOW" under my breath in the Georgia Dome press box Saturday night. The Packers 48-21 dismantling of the NFC's number one seeded Atlanta Falcons was impressive on so many levels. With the stakes higher than ever, Green Bay dealt with the same kind of adversity they climbed above all season, an early turnover by Greg Jennings, a Michael Turner bull rushing 12 yard touchdown, a horrible special teams breakdown on Eric Weems' playoff record 102 yard kickoff return that made it 14-7, but from that point on, the Packers put on a clinic of epic proportions. 35 unanswered points that literally emptied the Georgia Dome by the start of the 4th Quarter. There were heroes aplenty, but two stood out. Aaron Rodgers was amazing, 31 of 36, and 85 % clip, for 366 yards, 3 touchdowns, no picks and a passer rating of 136.8. He nimbly danced away from pass rushers, bought time with his feet and even ran 7 yards for a score. Several third down conversions defied belief. Jordy Nelson, James Jones (big rebound for him) and John Kuhn caught the scoring passes, Jennings went over 100 yards and Donald Driver moved the chains. James Starks fell way short of his Philadelphia output, with 66 yards, but carried it 25 times that helped control the clock for over 38 minutes. Green Bay's scoring drives covered 80, 80, 81 and 92 yards. More wows. On defense, Turner's longest run was his touchdown run, he finished with 39 yards, Matt Ryan, known as Matty Ice, melted down under extreme pressure with two picks and five sacks, finishing with a passer rating of 69.0. Clay Matthews had a pair, Charles Woodson got one as did CJ Wilson and Ryan's former Boston College teammate BJ Raji had one. The team recovered a pair of fumbles but it was Tramon Williams who stole the show. Just ahead of the two minute warning, he denied the Falcons a go ahead touchdown with a pick in the end zone. Green Bay coverted with the 20 yard scoring catch by Jones and with :08 left in the half, Williams read an out route, stepped in front of Roddy White and sped 70 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-14 at intermission and for all intents and purposes, a done deal. The Packers march to the Super Bowl has taken them through Philadelphia, now Atlanta with the next stop, Chicago. The Bears defeated Seattle 35-24 setting up a black and blue NFC Championship game for the George Halas trophy at Solider Field. Wow!
Here's the locker room quotes from the Georiga Dome: