'This was definitely it': Packers put together complete performance

Green Bay dominates Tennessee in 40-14 rout

Packers WR Davante Adams dives into the end zone for the first of three touchdown receptions he scored against the Tennessee Titans.

GREEN BAY – That's what the Packers were looking for.

A four-quarter performance, on both sides of the ball, against a playoff-caliber foe, that turned into a dominant victory at Lambeau Field.

The Packers (12-3) have one more regular-season game before the playoffs, and they need to win it, at Chicago, to assure the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

But in dismantling the Tennessee Titans, 40-14, in snowy Green Bay weather Sunday night they showed they're as ready for the postseason as they could possibly be.

"This was it, man," receiver Davante Adams said. "This was definitely it."

The offensive and defensive outings were as complete as the Packers have put together perhaps all season. They also didn't punt and had no penalties.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams did what they do, while running backs AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones gashed away at Tennessee's front.

Green Bay also clamped down on NFL rushing king Derrick Henry and harassed Titans QB Ryan Tannehill into a rather ugly stat line.

Most important, the Packers answered the call when the momentum shifted and quickly squelched the only serious threat.

Tennessee (10-5) nearly erased Green Bay's fast 19-0 start with TDs on either side of halftime. Tannehill fooled everyone with a read-option fake on third-and-short that turned into a 45-yard TD run to open the second half, cutting the lead to 19-14.

"We knew we had to hunker down and lock in," Adams said.

The Packers did, answering with two touchdown drives sandwiched around a three-and-out to make it 33-14, and the rest was academic.

"What I loved was how our guys responded," LaFleur said. "Nobody panicked. Everybody focused on doing their job, doing their 1/11th and we were able to close the game out."

Difficult conditions be damned, Rodgers threw just as many touchdown passes as incompletions (four, going 21-of-25 for 231 yards), with three TDs going to Adams on an 11-catch, 142-yard night. Rodgers' only blemish was one ill-advised throw back across the middle that was picked off, but he still posted a 128.1 passer rating and took another step toward his third MVP.

Dillon, the rookie second-round pick, emerged from an extended absence on the COVID list and limited work since to bust out with 124 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns on 21 carries. Taking on a larger role with Jamaal Williams sidelined, the 247-pound bruiser looked in his element in the wintry weather and proved tough to bring down once he got going.

"You could feel him," LaFleur said of Dillon. "You could feel his physicality as he was running the ball, just really trying to punish defenders."

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 16 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

He may have added an element to Green Bay's offense at just the right time, with at least two and hopefully more cold-weather games on deck.

"AJ did exactly what I've been waiting for this whole time," Adams said. "He's a monster, so I think you're going to see a lot more of that moving forward."

Jones added 94 yards on 10 rushes, including a 59-yard scamper on which he benefited from the side judge not seeing his foot hit the boundary on his initial burst around the corner (and the Titans didn't know soon enough to challenge).

Officiating breaks aside, the Packers made plenty of their own on defense by controlling the action up front.

Henry managed just 98 rushing yards and needed 23 carries to get them, with a long run of only 10. Tannehill was picked off twice, by safety Darnell Savage and linebacker Christian Kirksey.

Regularly pressured, he also took two sacks, by Kirksey and team leader Za'Darius Smith (12½) and completed less than half his throws (11-of-24, 121 yards, one TD, 40.5 rating) as Green Bay's defense racked up 10 passes defensed.

"Anytime you can hold Derrick Henry to under 100 yards, that's a win," LaFleur said. "I think that was a hell of a performance by our defense.

"I just sense a different energy. Guys are flying around, making plays, making plays on the ball."

Rodgers took it a step further.

"That was championship-style defense," he said. "I felt they played with more confidence than maybe they have at any point this season."

The timing couldn't have been better, facing a 2019 conference runner-up just like themselves that's in a hotly contested playoff race.

The Packers made this one no contest and have to follow it up in one week to make themselves, officially, the team to beat in the NFC.

"It was complementary football at its finest," LaFleur said. "That's what it's going to take for us to continue to move on and get wins and end up where we'd all like to end up.

"We'll celebrate tonight and get on to the Bears tomorrow."

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