The Green Bay Packers stormed through the first half of their matchup with the Atlanta Falcons at full speed on Jan. 15, and by the top of the fourth quarter, could rest with their feet up and chairs leaned back.

The last NFC team to qualify for the playoffs this season shot down the conference’s top-seeded Atlanta Falcons, 48-21, in front of a lively Falcons crowd at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Green Bay nevertheless felt right at home, exploding to a 28-14 halftime lead and never looking back.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his brilliant play in the postseason, throwing for 366 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another score. His four touchdowns against Atlanta helped set a postseason record for most touchdown passes by a quarterback (10) in his first three playoff games.

With Rodgers at the helm, the Packers were never out of it, even after Atlanta scored the game’s first touchdown on a bruising run from Michael Turner, who bowled over a few defenders for a 12-yard score with five minutes left in the first half.

After Green Bay tied it at 7-7, Falcons return man Eric Weems set a postseason record of his own, returning the ensuing kickoff 102 yards to give Atlanta their last lead of the game.

From there, it was all Green Bay and Rodgers. The Packers scored 35 straight points to open up their biggest lead of the game at 42-14 at the end of the third quarter. Atlanta scored again at the start of the fourth quarter, but the damage was already done and Green Bay was already moving on to the NFC championship game

Snubbed from a Pro Bowl spot in favor of Philadelphia’s Michael Vick and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Rodgers has defeated both of them this postseason. Green Bay will travel to play either Chicago or Seattle on Jan. 23.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO