The star who likely will be named the NFL’s MVP for the second consecutive season and fourth time in his career was closer to mediocre on a night the Packers needed him to be excellent.
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Columnist Jim Polzin grades the Packers' performance in their 13-10 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.
The Packers' season came to an abrupt end as the 49ers pulled out a 13-10 victory in an NFC divisional-round showdown at Lambeau Field.
From a shaky defense to an awful special teams to Packers coach Matt LaFleur's less-than-stellar postseason history, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned that the No. 1 seed in the NFC will fall short of winning a championship.
The numbers jump out of the two box scores, even if it’s an oversimplification to draw a straight line between the productivity of the Packers’ running game (or lack thereof) and the team’s playoff success (or lack thereof). In their 32-18 NFC Divisional Playoff win over the Los Angeles Rams last year, the Packers' running backs (Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, A.J. Dillon) ran the ball a combined 32 times for 191 yards. Jones (above) had a 60-yard run, but all three backs averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry.
Speaking of oversimplifications, try this one on for size: In the Packers’ two playoff victories under head coach Matt LaFleur — over Seattle in 2019 and over the Rams last year — they never trailed, building leads of 21-3 and 28-10 over the Seahawks and 16-3 and 25-10 over the Rams. In their two playoff losses under LaFleur — to the 49ers in the 2019 NFC title game and to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last year’s, they never led, falling behind 27-0 in San Francisco and 28-10 to Tom Brady and the Bucs.
LaFleur and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (above) both did their best to extinguish the storyline that the longtime friends’ relationship has become strained — to put it mildly — following the 49ers’ interest in Rodgers during the offseason. There are those inside Lambeau Field who are convinced that the 49ers tampered with Rodgers, and if you want to dismiss the frosty postgame handshake between two guys who’ve worked together in three different places and known each other for going on two decades, go ahead. That’s exactly what Shanahan and LaFleur want you to do.
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