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Green Bay Packers oust Atlanta Falcons, NFC's top seed, 48-21

ATLANTA — Aaron Rodgers has turned these NFL playoffs into his own showcase.

Carving up the NFC's top seed, Rodgers threw three touchdowns, ran for another and led the Packers to their second straight postseason road victory with a stunning 48-21 rout of the Falcons on Saturday night.

The Packers (12-6) will have to win one more on the road to complete their improbable run from sixth seed to the Super Bowl, but nothing looks out of the question the way Rodgers is playing. He'll lead Green Bay into the NFC Championship Game at either Chicago or Seattle next weekend.

"That's what you dream about," Rodgers said. "This just feels so good right now. To be able to put up an offensive performance like that, it's just incredible."

Rodgers went 31-of-36 for 366 yards, more than Brett Favre — the guy he replaced in Green Bay — ever threw for in a playoff game. After knocking off the Eagles in Philadelphia, then owning the Falcons in Atlanta, Rodgers is creating his own legacy in Titletown USA.

It was the most points the Packers ever scored in the playoffs. They could've left Tim Masthay at home. He never punted.

Green Bay scored 35 consecutive points, including cornerback Tramon Williams' 70-yard interception return on the final play of the first half that left the Falcons (13-4) and a crowd of more than 69,000 in a state of shock heading to the locker room.

"It was one of those nights," Rodgers said. "I felt like I was in the zone."

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who beat Rodgers for a spot in the Pro Bowl, had a miserable night. He was picked off in the end zone (by Williams again) and lost a fumble on a sneak. In two playoff games, Ryan is 0-2 with six turnovers and a safety.

The Falcons went into the playoffs as the NFC's top seed for only the second time. The result was the same: one and done.

At least the fans didn't have to deal with the heartache of blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, as the 1980 Falcons did in their 30-27 loss to Dallas. This game was pretty much over when Rodgers guided the Packers on an 80-yard drive to open the second half, running the last 7 yards for a score to make it 35-14.

In the locker room afterward, Falcons coach Mike Smith tried to make sense of it for his players.

"I know they're disappointed. I'm disappointed. We're all disappointed," he said. "But we will learn from it. That's the important thing. We will learn from what took place this evening."

The Falcons couldn't stop Rodgers, who put together four drives of at least 80 yards.

Time after time, he ducked or pulled off a spin move to get away from a rusher. Rodgers put that extra time to good use, inevitably finding the open man in what became an increasingly tortured night for the Falcons.

Early on, Rodgers spent plenty of time picking on Falcons nickel back Christopher Owens, who was filling in for injured Brian Williams. Owens was twice called for penalties in a desperate bid to slow Rodgers and his deep receiving corps.

The Falcons' last gasp, as it turned out, was former Bethune-Cookman standout Eric Weems' 102-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, the longest return in playoff history, giving Atlanta a 14-7 lead.

Packers 48

Falcons 21

Green Bay Packers oust Atlanta Falcons, NFC's top seed, 48-21 01/15/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 12:30am]
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