Final

Packers 21

(10-6, 3-5 away)

Eagles 16

(10-6, 4-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:30 PM ET, January 9, 2011

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
GB 7 7 7 021
PHI 0 3 7 616

Top Performers

Passing: M. Vick (PHI) - 292 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Starks (GB) - 23 CAR, 123 YDS

Receiving: J. Avant (PHI) - 7 REC, 93 YDS, 1 TD

Aaron Rodgers, James Starks lead Packers past Eagles, into divisional round

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Rodgers simply threw his hands in the air and pumped his fist. No, he doesn't celebrate like Brett Favre.

Rodgers doesn't have to worry about the ghost of Favre anymore. He's made his own name with the Green Bay Packers, even moreso with his first playoff victory.

Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, seldom-used rookie James Starks ran for 123 yards and the Packers beat Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 in an NFC wild-card game Sunday.

"I never felt like there was a monkey on my back," Rodgers said. "I'm just so proud of these guys."

Rodgers had to watch from the sideline while Vick nearly led the Eagles back. But Tramon Williams intercepted Vick's pass for Riley Cooper in the end zone with 33 seconds left to seal the win.

Favre may have run on the field and carried Williams off on his shoulder after that play. Rodgers is a little more subdued than No. 4. He grabbed his helmet and went out to kneel down for the final play.

"We fought hard today," Rodgers said. "Big interception by Tramon who's had a great season for us."

The sixth-seeded Packers (11-6) are heading to Atlanta (13-3) for a divisional playoff game next Saturday night.

Rodgers patiently waited three years to become Green Bay's starter and took over after Favre's messy departure before the 2008 season. He long ago made Packers fans forget about Favre, and now has punctuated his impressive resume with his first playoff win in two tries.

"Defense played great. They've been carrying us a lot this season," Rodgers said. "We had three touchdowns tonight, it was enough to win."

It wasn't Rodgers' fault Green Bay lost 51-45 in overtime to Arizona last January. These aren't the same Packers. This patchwork squad has 10 different starters, and a much stronger defense.

Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Co. contained Vick for the most part. Vick threw for 292 yards and ran for 33 in his first playoff start since losing the 2005 NFC championship game on the same field as a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

"I feel like I got greedy and took a shot at the end zone," Vick said about his last pass. "I didn't throw the ball I wanted and got picked. It's not the way I wanted to go out, but I went down swinging. I have to learn from it."

Vick has come a long way since he was one of the game's biggest stars during his days in Atlanta. He missed two seasons while serving 18 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting operation, played sparingly in a backup role last year and only got his chance after Matthews knocked Kevin Kolb out in Green Bay's 27-20 win in Philadelphia in Week 1.

Vick made the most of the opportunity. He had the best season of his career and was selected to start the Pro Bowl for the NFC.

Vick can go to Hawaii now because the Eagles (10-7) are going home.

This was Green Bay's third straight win in an elimination game. The Packers routed the Giants on Dec. 26 to stay alive in the playoff race, and beat Chicago last week to secure a playoff berth.

The Eagles were the talk of the NFL after a sensational comeback win at the New York Giants on Dec. 19. But a stunning loss to lowly Minnesota on Dec. 28 cost the NFC East champions a chance at a first-round bye, and it seemed their Super Bowl hopes went down with that defeat.

Then again, the Eagles might have advanced if Pro Bowl kicker David Akers hadn't missed field goals of 41 and 34 yards.

"We can all count, and those points would have helped," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.

The supposedly one-dimensional Packers found a running game by giving the ball to Starks. The sixth-round pick who played in just three games had 101 yards rushing all year. The Packers had trouble running all year after Ryan Grant went down for the season in Week 1. But they exposed weaknesses in Philadelphia's defense.

The Eagles got within 21-16 when Vick sneaked in from the 1 with 4:02 left. The 2-point conversion failed, but the defense held and Philadelphia got the ball back at the Packers 34 with 1:45 left.

Vick completed passes of 28 yards to DeSean Jackson and 11 yards to Cooper before he threw the pick from the 27.

Jackson and Cooper both thought Vick should've spiked the ball and called a huddle. But he had other ideas.

"I just feel we rushed that last play and we didn't have to rush it," Jackson said. "That's what I was trying to say. 'Just down the ball, just spike the ball, just kind of get back to the huddle and regroup.' But he called 'All go.' We just ran what was called so that's neither here nor there. It's just unfortunate."

Vick had 175 yards passing and 103 rushing in the season opener against Green Bay, nearly rallying the Eagles back from a 17-point deficit. He said afterward that he wished he played the whole game because he thought the outcome would've been different.

He had his chance, and fell short.

Down 14-3, the Eagles got back in it when their struggling defense forced a turnover on the first possession of the second half. Darryl Tapp knocked the ball out of Rodgers' hands and Juqua Parker recovered at the Packers 24.

Vick then made a perfect 24-yard TD pass over the middle to Jason Avant, who was surrounded by four defenders, to cut it to 14-10.

But Green Bay responded. Rodgers threw a 16-yard TD pass to Brandon Jackson to extend the lead to 21-10.

The Eagles failed to convert on third-and-1 from the Packers 16 early in the fourth and Akers was wide right from 34 yards out.

The Packers went ahead 7-0 late in first quarter on Rodgers' 7-yard TD pass to Tom Crabtree. Rodgers kept the drive going by scrambling away from trouble and tossing a 9-yard pass to John Kuhn on third-and-7. He found a wide-open Crabtree on the next play. It was the first career TD for Crabtree, who had just four catches the entire season.

On Green Bay's next drive, Rodgers ran for 8 yards on third-and-5. Then his 9-yard TD pass to James Jones made it 14-0.

The Packers should've led 21-3 at halftime except Jones dropped a perfectly thrown deep pass in the final minute that would've been a 63-yard TD. Jones beat Asante Samuel on a fly pattern, but the ball bounced out of his hands.

Jones had issues with drops during the season. A disappointed Rodgers fell to his knees and put his hands on his helmet when he saw the ball hit the ground.

The Packers were preseason favorites to reach the Super Bowl, but a slew of injuries took a toll. Fifteen players went on injured reserve, with Grant and tight end Jermichael Finley among the six starters.

Game notes


The Packers are 1-2 in three road playoff games against Philadelphia. ... The Eagles beat Green Bay in the 1960 NFL championship game, giving Vince Lombardi his only playoff defeat. In January 2004, Philadelphia beat the Packers in overtime in the divisional round after converting on fourth-and-26 with 1:12 left in regulation. ... Starks had the most yards rushing in the postseason by a rookie in franchise history. ... Jackson missed a couple series in the first half with a left knee injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
GB
PHI
1st Downs2018
Passing 1st downs
1312
Rushing 1st downs
66
1st downs from Penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
8-135-13
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Plays6160
Total Yards309352
Yards per play5.15.9
Total Drives109
Passing171271
Comp - Att
18-2720-36
Yards per pass
6.37.5
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-93-21
Rushing13881
Rushing Attempts
3221
Yards per rush
4.33.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-31-3
Penalties2-157-50
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession32:0028:00

Passing Leaders

GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers18/271806.7302-9
PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Vick20/362928.1113-21

Rushing Leaders

GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Starks231235.3027
Jackson3103.305
PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
McCoy12463.809
Vick8324.0114

Receiving Leaders

GBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Driver55611.20207
Kuhn33311.00163
PHIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Avant79313.31249
Maclin37324.30447

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERGBPHI
gbTD00:08Tom Crabtree 7 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 70
SECOND QUARTERGBPHI
gbTD05:21James Jones 9 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 140
phiFG01:11David Akers 29 Yd 143
THIRD QUARTERGBPHI
phiTD13:50Jason Avant 24 Yd Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick) 1410
gbTD07:33Brandon Jackson 16 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 2110
FOURTH QUARTERGBPHI
phiTD04:02Michael Vick 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 2116

Research Notes

From Elias: Including playoffs, the Packers won twice this season in Philadelphia. The only other team that has won two games - including playoffs - in Philadelphia in the same season is the 1981 Giants. They beat the Eagles in Week 12 (20-10) then beat the Eagles in the Wild Card Round (27-21).
The Packers defense played 120 snaps against the Eagles this season, and on only three of those snaps did the Packers have fewer than five defensive backs on the field. All three plays came in the Wild Card round game in short yardage situations.
Michael Vick didn't get much help from his receivers on Sunday, as he saw five of his pass attempts dropped. Philadelphia receivers had combined to drop only five passes since the start of Week 14 and hadn't dropped as many as five passes since Week 2.
NEXT-LEVEL: The Packers rushed five or more players 18 times on Sunday against Michael Vick and on nine of those dropbacks, Clay Matthews did not rush the passer. When Matthews wasn't one of the five or more pass rusher, Vick was 6-of-9 passing for 116 yards. When Matthews was a member of the five or more man rush, Vick was 1-for-5 for 28 yards and was sacked twice (once by Matthews).

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