LANDOVER, Md. – The coach and the quarterback perfectly executed a jump-and-bump celebration along the Packers sideline. All was right with the world.
A 35-18 playoff win will do that for a coach and quarterback who had become embattled. On a balmy night at FedExField, the play-calling wasn't an issue, there was no suggestion of friction between the two men who are the face of the Packers, and good times returned for Packers fans everywhere.
It's all good, folks. Let yourself feel it for at least a few days before you start worrying about that beating the Packers took in Arizona in Week 16, and the fear it might happen again. For at least the next 24 hours, be happy.
The Green Bay Packers faced off against the Washington Redskins in an NFC Wild Card playoff matchup. Photos by Jim Biever, Packers.com.
They're not happy in Minnesota. They should be. Vikings fans would be deliriously happy to have beaten the Seahawks, but they didn't beat the Seahawks because the Vikings kicker missed a chip-shot field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game. The torment must be terrible.
How would you like to be a Vikings fan?
They're not happy in Cincinnati, either. They should be. Bengals fans should be deliriously happy about a comeback victory over their hated rival, the Steelers, but it didn't happen because the Bengals fumbled at kill-the-clock time, and the Steelers rallied for the win.
How would you like to be a Bengals fans?
Packers fans should allow themselves to feel good this week because the team's offense is back. It ran the ball, it threw the ball, it sustained drives and it made big plays. Most of all, Packers fans should be happy because their quarterback is happy, again. It had been a while, right?
"It's tough to win these types of games. You have to know how to do it. We know how to win these games," a rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers said.
"That's the way you want to play offense. We're going to have to play that way moving forward," Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Aaron was playing fast and just settled in. It was a huge challenge playing against a non-common opponent."
So that's where the Packers are as they head into a game for which they will be distinct underdogs. Their defense is playing at its highest level since the Packers' 2010 run to the Super Bowl XLV title, and their offense's arrow is pointing decidedly upward for one of the few times since early October.
"There aren't too many times you have an opportunity to have a re-do. We're looking forward to the opportunity," McCarthy said of the re-match with the Cardinals.
"We kind of felt it was a possibility to go out there again," Rodgers said. "We won, we scored 35 points. The playoffs bring it out in all of us. It's a one-and-done mentality."
"We don't care about expectations. We don't care about those opinions. We care about sticking together," Rodgers said.