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Inbox: It was almost surreal

If this is the path, then this is the path

Fans cheer during the Packers vs. Rams NFC Divisional playoffs at Lambeau Field on Jan. 16, 2021.

Jon from Onalaska, WI

No question. Just wanted to say...HERE WE GO!

It's only Monday, man.

Eric from Pewaukee, WI

Wouldn't be an NFC Championship if the Packers weren't playing a team that destroyed them in the regular season, would it?

If this is the path, then this is the path. If 38-3 in Week 9 didn't mean anything to the Bucs, then 38-10 in Week 6 shouldn't mean anything to the Packers, either.

Eric from Mequon, WI

What's more of a headache? The Bucs' offense or defense?

Their offense has won in the postseason in the trenches. That offensive line has protected Brady impressively against two standout defensive fronts in Washington and New Orleans. Interior pressure is the key against Brady, has been for a long time. On the other side, the Packers have to protect the ball. The Saints didn't and it ended their season. The Packers didn't back in October and the game went sideways.

Jim from Arkdale, WI

Hi II. What a difference turnovers make. Who would have thought?

There's no overstating their impact. The Saints' first three set up all three of the Bucs' TDs. The Cook fumble changed the game. New Orleans was headed for a two-score lead and instead got outscored 17-0 the rest of the game. It completely flipped things, and Cook's postseason legacy took a pretty big hit, too.

Bill from Brooklyn Park, MN

Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship – We've certainly come a long way in this rivalry since the "Bay of Pigs" games in the NFC Central!

Maybe Larry McCarren should be the Packers' honorary captain.

Drew from Orange City, IA

This has to be the most epic QB matchup in the past __ years of NFC Championship games. What number would you fill in the blank with?

11. You have to go back to 2009 (Jan. 2010) for Brees vs. Favre. For Aaron Rodgers to get back to the Super Bowl, he has to beat the guy with the most Super Bowls. It's fitting.

Laura from Riverside, CA

I've heard a few commentators say the Packers match up with Tampa Bay is "poor." Can you explain what they mean? Yes, the regular-season matchup was incredibly disappointing, but I don't see anything that makes this team seem like it's something the Packers can't handle (especially if we don't turn over the ball four times).

The difficult matchup is against Tampa Bay's dynamic inside linebackers, Devin White and Lavonte David, the best duo in the league (by a longshot). I don't know how LaFleur will plan to challenge them, but I'm glad he and this offensive staff know full well what they're up against.

Andrew from Pella, IA

What a game. What a team. What a win. I asked my brother who we should be cheering for at a 13-13 halftime score of Saints and Bucs. He replied with "Bucs. We need revenge." Who were you rooting for at halftime?

My only thought was Brees' arm would potentially be more affected by the weather, but that was about it. I also thought Goff would have trouble with his thumb in the cold, and he was 21-of-27, so what do I know? If that was indeed the last we'll see of Brees, kudos on a tremendous career. Amazing individual in so many ways.

Jack from New York, NY

I'm not an NFL coordinator, but my gut tells me Bruce Arians will try to run the ball down our throats all game to run the clock and keep our offense off the field. I think it simply comes down to...we stop the run, we will win this game.

I'd never concede it's that simple against a QB like Brady. He made a couple of absolutely dynamite throws to Gronk in tight windows in the first meeting. Brady has plenty of cold-weather experience, but those throws will be tougher to make this time.

Jerad from Verona, WI

Protect the football, play in the Super Bowl.

Sounds like a plan.

Andy from Clive, IA

Happy Monday, Mike. Does Lambeau have a decibel meter? If so, I'd curious to know how loud it got Saturday. Our brethren sounded enthusiastic on TV. Hopefully they had the chance to break out the wave!

A socially distanced wave would be quite the feat. Props to the 8,000-plus and all the noise they made. We were talking when the sign-banging on the metal bleachers was in full force, it sounded like a massive downpour going on. It was almost surreal.

Tom from Palatine, IL

Elgton Jenkins continues to impress me each and every game. He has always been impressive in his flexibility and ability to play all the positions on the offensive line. This week he showed another facet of his personality when he kept his composure in the face of Aaron Donald losing his mind and taking a very bad 15-yard penalty to extend a drive. He continues to show incredible maturity in his second year in the league. Where do you think his ultimate value lies for the Packers?

It's almost immeasurable right now. I don't mean to diminish the contributions of the other guys up front, but what Jenkins and Billy Turner have provided the Packers this year, and are providing at the moment, is just huge.

Judy from Channing, MI

Watching other teams makes me realize just how easy Aaron Rodgers makes his game look. Effortless! He's so good at what he does, I forget that it's not actually easy.

To score on five straight possessions against the No. 1 defense in the league is astounding. It would have been four TDs, instead of three, if he doesn't overshoot an open MVS in the end zone on the first drive. And it likely would have been six possessions in a row if Allen Lazard doesn't drop the seam route.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

Happy Monday Hod and Spoff! Great win over a good Rams team. Looked like an all-around solid game from all phases. But what a huge game from the O-line! What were you guys thinking when Rodgers had those two picks in the end zone dropped at the end of the first half?

I didn't understand the greed at that particular time.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Wonderful game and so much to be excited about. I watched Rodgers talk to Pam Oliver after the game and two things really stood out to me. One was his very first comment saying he "missed on some throws." I really respected that. The other was how pristinely clean his jersey was. It looked like he'd just put it on!

No one is more self-aware than Rodgers. In a year full of great commentary from him, he delivered one of my favorite lines after the game when he was asked to describe the play of the O-line in one word. “Stellar is a good word. Because it's rooted in star, and they were the stars of the game tonight.” Perfect.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

In my lifetime, I think the 2003 and 2014 Packers O-lines were the best they've had. I think the 2020 version needs to be added to the conversation, but for a different reason...depth and versatility. Would you agree?

It's hard to frame the discussion, but I hear what you're getting at, absolutely.

Michael from Goldvein, VA


Aaron Jones' or the offense's? When the Packers can run the ball like that, they're almost impossible to stop. Jones' spins and footwork, as well as Jamaal Williams' raw power, were fully on display.

Graeme from Tucson, AZ

During the game I was, of course, nervous that it was a really tight game that could go either way. Looking back a few hours later it seemed as though we were always in control. So many great plays throughout the game, but what do you think the best one was? To me it was when Rodgers sidestepped pressure in the end zone to find Lazard for a long first down. The calmness of that play was something to behold.

Indeed. Until the Lazard TD, that was the one play that made me jump out of my suite seat. Incredible poise and delivery in a tough spot.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

How big was Rodgers' recovery of AJ Dillon's fumble and even advancing it? If the Rams recover it, they have the ball deep in our territory. If they score could have been tense moments.

My throat tightened for an instant. The Packers needed a lucky bounce there and got it. Just goes to show how quickly things can change. A different bounce and the Rams have the ball 30 yards from the tying TD with nine minutes left. Three plays later, Lazard is in the end zone and the Packers are up 14.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

I guess if a bad snap on a PAT is the worst thing that happens you've had a pretty good day, huh?

I'm tired of holding my breath on special teams, though.

Charlie from Brookings, OR

Hello, would you comment on the TD pass to Davante Adams? Much was made of Adams "beating" Ramsey but even as the play unfolded live, it appeared to me he was clearly moving toward the line of scrimmage as the ball was snapped. I must be misinterpreting the rule, but I thought when the ball is snapped, a motion player has to be moving parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage. Big Packers fan, but I felt it was a penalty.

It was awfully close. Had a flag been thrown, it would have been hard to argue.

Al from Spearfish, SD

The defense played pretty well overall. However, the Rams moved the ball without much trouble on their scoring drives. It's not a week-to-week game, it's a possession-to-possession game.

Three three-and-outs allowed the Packers to get, and keep, command of the game. The defense only gave up touchdowns when the Packers were ahead by two of them, and in the fourth quarter the Rams never threatened. I'll take that anytime.

Larissa from Minnetonka, MN

What in the world are people complaining about with the fumble-through-the-end-zone-for-a-touchback rule? Like 99% of rules favor the offense. If you want to take a risk and hold the ball loosely out there to try and take advantage of the offense-friendly breaking-the-plane rule, you deserve to be punished when it blows up in your face. The issue was the uncalled helmet-to-helmet hit. I have no problem with rules requiring good execution in the red zone.

We've had this debate before and I'm not interested in relitigating it. I'm not crazy about the rule, but I understand its place in the game. The real shame, as my face keeps turning bluer, is the NFL won't seriously discuss making the safety rules reviewable. As noted, that was an illegal hit that knocked the ball out of Higgins' hands. I don't blame the official standing right there. He's watching for whether the receiver steps out of bounds, whether his knee goes down, whether the ball comes out before or after it breaks the plane. It's not realistic, or even humanly possible, to watch for the defender's helmet, too. The safety rules should be officiated from upstairs, period. The Chiefs defender is going to get fined for that hit later this week, but that doesn't help the Browns in the offseason.

Lambeau Field hosted an NFC Divisional playoff matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021.